Stephen Covey: Seven Habits, Stephen Covey: 7 Habits, Stephen Covey: Seven (7) Habits

Stephen Covey, 7 Seven Habits, Stephen Covey, Seven 7 Habits, Stephen Covey, 7 Seven Habits,

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Covey and the Seven (7) Habits: Moral Philosophy and Stephen Covey

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Covey literature is, of course, different from much of the self-help field in that his Seven (7) Habits emphasize morality. Living with someone who is studying moral philosophy as I do, I am intrigued as to how Covey's ideas may fit in with the great works of the big-name philosophers.

I am not going to go into great detail here as to the theories of ethics of Kant, Iris Murdoch, Adorno or Foucault, nor am I equiped to do so. Nevertheless it does occur to me that one of the reasons that Stephen Covey and his Seven Habits philosophy turns so many people off is because morality has become associated with shame. What interests me, however, is that the philosophies of morality of (non-Christian) Western philosophy do not rest on shame, or even on the existence of God, for their justification. How does this dynamic work regarding the Seven Habits of Stephen Covey?

Covey, it seems to me, does not advocate shame as a driving force behind moral behavior. On the contrary, he recommends learning to become less attuned to the "social mirror," ie., the shame inspired by the opinions of others. Additionally, he does not seem to think that shame is a very useful tool in getting people to "buy in to" the philosophy, moral or otherwise, of a culture. Indeed, Covey seems to assure his readers that people will remain suspicious of a philosophy which they are coerced into following, when they themselves have not participated in its creation. In short, in fact, the notion that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity, as opposed to being shamed into behaving a certain way, is a pivotal tenet of the whole thrust of the Seven (7) Habits phenomonen which Stephen Covey has kicked off.

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2 Comments:

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