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The Code for Global Ethics: Ten Humanist Principles

The Code for Global Ethics: Ten Humanist Principles


Humanists have long contended that morality is a strictly human concern and should be independent of religious creeds and dogma. This principle was clearly articulated in the two Humanist Manifestos issued in the mid-twentieth century and in Humanist Manifesto 2000, which appeared at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Now distinguished economist Rodrigue Tremblay has published this code for global ethics, which further elaborates ten humanist principles designed for a world community that is growing ever closer together. In the face of the obvious challenges to international stability—from nuclear proliferation, environmental degradation, economic turmoil, and reactionary and sometimes violent religious movements—a code based on the “natural dignity and inherent worth of all human beings” is needed more than ever.

In separate chapters Tremblay delves into the issues surrounding these ten humanist principles: preserving individual dignity and equality, respecting life and property, tolerance, sharing, preventing domination of others, eliminating superstition, conserving the natural environment, resolving differences cooperatively without resort to violence or war, political and economic democracy, and providing for universal education.

This forward-looking, optimistic, and eminently reasonable discussion of humanist ideals makes an important contribution to laying the foundations for a just and peaceable global community.


Preface: Toward a new planetary humanism Paul Kurtz Kurtz, Paul 17

Introduction: The ethical infrastructure of every society 23

Chapter 1: Dignity and equality 33

Chapter 2: Respect life and property 45

Chapter 3: Tolerance : the empathy principle 65

Chapter 4: Sharing 71

Chapter 5: No domination, no exploitation 79

Chapter 6: No superstition 85

Chapter 7: Conservation 119

Chapter 8: Violence, war, and peace 135

Chapter 9: Democracy 163

Chapter 10: Education 193

Chapter 11: Morality in everyday life 199

Conclusion: For a better and more moral future 205

Annex: Comparative moral commandments 210

Notes: 213

Appendix: Main humanist and ethical organizations 249

Books cited or recommended: 253

Index: 285


“The gap in the Humanist literature concerning the explanations of how Humanists should conduct their lives is filled by The Code for Global Ethics. This book represents a valuable and indispensable guide through the complexity of modern life and moral issues facing us every day. It offers a natural and far superior alternative to traditional religious moralities.”
— Marian Hillar, MD, PhD, professor of philosophy/religious studies and director of the Center for Philosophy and Socinian Studies; author of The Case of Michael Servetus (1511-1553) and Michael Servetus: Intellectual Giant, Humanist, and Martyr

“Dr. Tremblay offers not just armchair philosophizing, but solid, historical argument and proposals for integrating humanist philosophy into both our everyday lives, and our social institutions. Policy makers, and laypersons alike should heed Tremblay’s account of humanist principles, for in them lies a path to greater peace, tolerance, and societal progress.”
— David Koepsell, JD, PhD, former executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism, and assistant professor of ethics at the Delft University of Technology

“Dr. Tremblay points out in The Code for Global Ethics that we need to abandon selective moralities and move to a higher plane in which all members of the human family are treated equally as persons. Rodrigue Tremblay eloquently defends this form of rational humanism.”
— Dr. Paul Kurtz, Founder and Chairman, Center for Inquiry

“The principles proposed by Dr. Tremblay are dignity and equality, respect for life, tolerance and openness, sharing, anti exploitation, reason, ecology, peace, democracy and education. This is a timely book to read.”
— Daniel Baril, Canadian anthropologist and author

“Tremblay’s ten principles provide us with a rational jumping-off point toward a new society no longer exploited by the power elites of church, state, and business.”
— Victor J. Stenger, author of the New York Times bestseller, God: The Failed Hypothesis