Work in Progress: Codes of Conduct in Benjamin Franklin and René Descartes

Friday 28 October 2022

  1. It is necessary for me to be extremely frugal for some time, till I have paid what I owe.
  2. To endeavour to speak truth in every instance; to give nobody expectations that are not likely to be answered, but aim at sincerity in every word and action — the most amiable excellence in a rational being.
  3. To apply myself industriously to whatever business I take in hand, and not divert my mind from my business by any foolish project of growing suddenly rich; for industry and patience are the surest means of plenty.
  4. I resolve to speak ill of no man whatever, not even in a matter of truth; but rather by some means excuse the faults I hear charged upon others, and upon proper occasions speak all the good I know of every body.
  1. “…obey the laws and customs of my country, and to adhere to the religion in which God by His grace had me instructed from my childhood, and to govern myself in everything else according to the most moderate and least extreme opinions, being those commonly received among the wisest of those with whom I should have to live.”
  2. “…to be as firm and resolute in my actions as I could, and to follow no less constantly the most doubtful opinions, once I had opted for them, than I would have if they had been the most certain ones.”
  3. “…to master myself rather than fortune, to try to change my desires rather than to change the order of the world.”
  4. “…to review the various occupations that men have in this life, in order to try to select the best one.”
René Descartes
If we can rank order wolves, we can rank order civilizations.
Franz Boas’ cultural relativism has led anthropology and sociology into a long twilight.



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