Quality judgment: Toward the "essentially human" in ethics and policy

Kenneth Wayne Johnson, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


This thesis describes a framework, a component of a larger paradigm, designed to improve the thinking, planning, and acting of individuals within society. It is based upon factors of human existence that most can agree are fundamental to pursuing matters of importance, however disparately we may see them. Assuming that human choice is a function of consciousness and compassion--it argues that insight from ethics and policy studies can be improved if founded upon an understanding of the implications of the full development and use of the essential human capacities that underlie consciousness and compassion: critical and creative thinking; communicating in symbols and concepts; and cooperating in inquiry and action. It argues that for any ethical or policy judgment to be "essentially human" it must both employ the essential human capacities of all those involved or affected and account for its impact upon those capacities, as far as is reasonably possible.