"Problems of ethics cannot be omitted from the study of personality...The value judgments we make determine our actions, and upon their validity rests our mental health and happiness." So writes Erich Fromm in this illuminating work on the function of ethics and morality in the human psyche. In "Man for Himself, " Dr. Fromm examines the confusion ...Read More"Problems of ethics cannot be omitted from the study of personality...The value judgments we make determine our actions, and upon their validity rests our mental health and happiness." So writes Erich Fromm in this illuminating work on the function of ethics and morality in the human psyche. In "Man for Himself, " Dr. Fromm examines the confusion of modern man - who, because he lacks faith in any principle by which life ought to be guided, becomes the helpless prey of forces within and without himself. From the broad, interdisciplinary perspective that marks Dr. Fromm's distinguished oeuvre, he shows that psychology cannot divorce itself from the problems of philosophy and ethics - and that man's nature cannot be understood without understanding his values and moral conflicts. He demonstrates that an ethical system can be based on the nature of man rather than on revelations or traditions. As Dr. Fromm asserts, "If man is to have confidence in values, he must know himself and the capacity of his nature for goodness and productiveness."Read Less
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The book is theoretical attempt to clarify the problem of ethics and psychology; its aim is to make the reader question himself rather than to pacify him. The book does not contain a recipe for integrated and autonomous person to achieve a life of a joy and happiness. Dr. Fromm studies the myths and overstatements of different human qualities: self-love and selfishness, satisfaction and happiness. He explains why some of Freud's concepts are deficient to understand all forms of productive love: care, responsibility, respect and knowledge. Dr. Fromm tries to explain human personality, character and temperament not because he is interesting about human nature, but because he tries to understand and explain what qualities human can develop to perform man's main task in life ? to give birth to himself. The moral problem is man's indifference to himself. Man is the only being who is capable of understanding the very forces which he is subjected to and who by his understanding can take an active part in his own fate and strengthen those elements which strive for the good. Man is the only creature endowed with conscience. Dr. Fromm explores two types of conscience: authoritarian (?voice? of an internalized external authority) and humanistic (?voice? which calls human back to himself). He explains that everybody has both ?consciences?. The problem is to distinguish their respective and their interrelation. He says that humanistic ethics takes the position that if man is alive he knows what is allowed; and to be alive means to be productive, to use one's powers not for any purpose transcending man, but for oneself, to make sense of one's existence, to be human.
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