The concept of universal values fits into the moral dimension of the human being. These values refer to freedom , justice, generosity, love, peace, solidarity and honesty , concepts that are present in all cultural traditions.
These concepts make sense for what they are. Thus, it is customary to say that something is valuable because it is considered good. Therefore, values do not exist properly (no freedom exists anywhere or any other value), but they have a certain value.
What do we mean by universal values?
A person can understand a value (eg freedom) from personal experience. This same value can be understood through a changing vision, for example, the idea of freedom for ancient Greeks, freedom for Renaissance man or for contemporary man.
Another perspective is to understand freedom as a universal idea and therefore, despite individual criteria or historical circumstances, freedom is a universal value, in fact it has been reflected for over 2000 years. This vision establishes the understanding of freedom or any other value as a constant reference that in one way or another is always present in human beings.
The controversy over universal values
Ethics is the discipline that analyzes the individual’s moral behavior . Some philosophers claim that one cannot speak of certain universal values, as they believe that these supposed values can change, in fact, they are ideas created by the Western world and not by all cultural tradition s. This conception is relative and, according to it, each cultural tradition understands values according to its own cultural coordinates.
On the other hand, other philosophers claim the presence of certain universal values, as it is said that something is good for considering this idea as universal, that is, it is good not only for itself, but not all of humanity as well.
A clear example of universal values can be found in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that claims to be valid for the whole of humanity and, therefore, with a global and universal dimension.