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An Italian philosopher asserts that there is a universal ethic and that its root consists in "being for others".

Carmelo Vigna indicated at the ICS of the University of Navarra that this "not only implies not harming the other, but helping him unconditionally to prosper".

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Professor Carmelo Vigna and Montserrat Herrero, principal investigator of project "Religion and Civil Society". PHOTO: Carlota Cortés
14/02/14 10:23 Isabel Solana

"There is a universal ethic. The great wisdom traditions of humanity - Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism... - have in common the so-called 'golden rule': do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you. On this basis, people all over the world will be able to understand each other in the future. So said Carmelo Vigna, professor of Philosophy Moral at Ca' Foscari University in Venice (Italy). The expert gave a lecture at seminar for the researchers of the project 'Religion and Civil Society' of the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) of the University of Navarra, of which he is partner.

According to Professor Vigna, the 'golden rule' contributes to achieving peace in multicultural societies "because we can all recognize ourselves in it". He explained that "it formulates a dimension that is both simple and profound: to be for others. This means treating each human being as an end in himself or herself." "When someone is for others," he added, " financial aid helps others to 'flourish' and this in turn nurtures them to flourish.

Transcendent implications

The Italian philosopher stressed that mutual respect constitutes "the condition for making good relations possible. However, he stated that the negative formulation of the rule, "do no harm," is not enough; it is also necessary to "help others unconditionally, to care for others as if they were one's own" (positive formulation).

With regard to the transcendent implications of this precept, Professor Vigna explained that "men have in themselves that seed, which is the image of Christ present in every man before Revelation. But it cannot germinate without the sense of the Grace of God".

In addition to serving as researcher and professor at Ca' Foscari University, Carmelo Vigna also directs the Inter-University Center for Ethics programs of study (C.I.S.E.) and the Center for General and Applied Ethics (C.E.G.A.) of the Almo Collegio Borromeo.