Global Virtues

Diversity in Virtue

Lesson Objectives

Understand the principles of the Slippery World of Mexican Ethics

Appreciate the difference between the Happy and the Worthwhile Life

Understand the central concept of Ubuntu: "I am, because we are."

Understand the principles of sharing that are central to Scandinavian culture

Jewish: Understand the ethical sacredness of the Face of the Other

Jewish: Appreciate the eschatological hopes of Jewish Ethics

Key Terms

Tlalticpac (Tahl-TEEK-pok)



The Face of the Other

Ḥesed | lovingkindness

A Mexican Worldview

Mexico Before Europe

• Prior to Columbus (d. 1509), the Nahau city-states were in power

     • Europeans called them "Aztec" (Greek: from Atzlan)

     • The dominant power among the Nahau were the Méxica

• European Colonization interrupted indigenous culture of Central México

     • Spanish Empire villianized Méxicans (textual criticisms survive)

     • Indigenous thought generally lacking in Western Ethics courses

     • Sifting thru their criticisms, a unique Mexican worldview emerges

The Metaphysics of Mexican Ethics

• Premodern Mexican Culture existed on 2 Levels

     • Folk Culture: illiterate, polytheistic folk gods, folk rituals

     • Priestly Culture: recognize one unified reality (Mx. Teotl)

• Nahuatl priesthood incorporates folks gods into state functions

     • eg. festivals, parades, warrior sacrifices

• Pre-Columbian Mexican Ethics was concerned with 'this life' —

     not the gods or an afterlife in which one recieves reward or punishment

The Face of a Mexican Child

• We are born 'faceless' (without character)

• Education gives us our 'face' (neixtlamachiliztli)

     • A child develops a wise face like a "well-smoked, precious turquoise"

     • In this way, social reputation is the key to living morally

• Evil is likened to "filth" (tlazolli) on the face