Skip to main content

Critique of Contemporary Civilization Ethos and Public Leadership Crisis: A Dystopian Interpretation and Philosophical Prospects


The attributes and representative spirit of a culture, era, or community, as manifested in its attitude and aspiration, hold the concept of ethos. Likewise, every civilization has its own unique ethos; however, at present, it is shared through multiple globalized dynamics such as—media, technology, and other connectivities. The communication gaps have been filled with unique mediums; people are more open to new things, and comforts have increased dramatically. Nevertheless, despite such liberal and contemporary facts, we have encountered several problems and value degradation in every aspect of human life. Service and leadership, art and aesthetics, ethics and morality, politics and society, science and law, and many other realms of human endeavour have been filled with much more complexity and crisis than before. It provokes intellectuals to rethink contemporary civilization and inspires the present critical research on top. Practically surrounded by all such challenges and selecting a few of them, this paper aims to address the complexities and stepping stones in the path of leadership, holistic ethics, and human well-being from philosophical perspectives while presenting a dystopian picture of contemporary reality and continuously following the critical method. Additionally, the conclusion and uniqueness of this paper locate within the fundamental questions raised in the present composition regarding the above-selected themes and an emphasis on the renaissance of inclusive ethics and virtuous leadership.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. Kant’s deontological approach, Simon Blackburn’s moral objectivism, R.M hare’s universalizability concept are some of the best example, which protects the moral realism and countered the moral relativism. See- Shafer-Landau, R. (2005). Moral Realism: A Defence. United Kingdom: Clarendon Press.

  2. Susan Wolf beautifully defines ‘‘who is the Moral Saint?’In her famous paper ‘‘moral saints’, the moral saint is someone who always (or almost always) chooses to act to improve the welfare of others and society as a whole. She proposes two types of Moral Saints (what they choose to be moral?)—one is the Loving Saint (Utilitarianism)—one who's happiness is always derived from helping others and another is the Rational Saint (Kantianism)—one for whom happiness is always subjugated to the moral law. See- Wolf, S. (1982). Moral Saints. The Journal of Philosophy, 79(8), 419–439.


  • Allio, R. J. (2005). Leadership development: Teaching versus learning. Management Decision.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Batmanghlich, C. A. (2015). Why leaders fail ethically a paradigmatic evaluation of leadership. Springer International Publishing Switzerland.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Bhattacharyya, K. (2008). Studies in philosophy. Motilal Banarsidass.

    Google Scholar 

  • Blackburn, S. (2002). Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics. OUP Oxford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bradley, G. H. (1951). Ethical studies: Selected essays. Liberal Arts Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Camus, Albert. (2016) Albert camus quotes, Create Space Independent Publishing Platform.

  • Concept note. Public Leadership across Civilisations: Lessons from the Past and Roadmap for the Future. IJSPL, Volume 1, Issue 1 (November 2020).

  • Dostoyevsky, F. (1993). The grand inquisitor. Hackett Publishing Company.

    Google Scholar 

  • Duignan, B. (2011). The Britannica Guide to Ethics. Rosen Publishing Group.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dwyer, J. (2012). Communication for business and the professions: Strategies and skills. (n.p.): Pearson Higher Education A.U.

  • Fromm, E. (1969). Escaping from Freedom. Holt, Rinehar & Winstopn.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ganeri, J., & Carlisle, C. (2010). Philosophy as therapeia. Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Garner, R. & Joyce, R. (2019). The end of morality: Taking moral abolitionism seriously First published 2019 by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY-10017.

  • Glover, J. (2012). Humanity: A moral history of the twentieth century, Second Edition Yale University Press, New haven and London.

  • Goetsch, D. L. (2005). Effective leadership: Ten steps for technical professions. Pearson/Prentice Hall.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goleman, Daniel. (2011). Leadership: The power of emotional intelligence. More Than Sound LLC Northampton MA.

  • Goleman, D. (2014). What makes a leader? (Harvard business review classics). Harvard Business Review Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hart, P., & Uhr, J. (2008). Public leadership: Perspectives and practices. New York: ANUE Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Hill, T. E. (2009). The blackwell guide to Kant’s ethics. John Wiley & Sons.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Hume, D. (1826). The philosophical works: Including all the essays and exhibiting the more important alterations and corrections in the successive Ed. Publ. by the Author. United Kingdom: Black and Tait.

  • Huxley, A. (2022). Brave new world and brave new world revisited. Repro Books Limited.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ibarra, H. (2015). Act like a leader. Harvard business review press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kidder, R. M. (2005). Moral courage. HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lewis, J. C. (2020). World beyond reason: The Orwellian Factor. Dorrance Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lipman-Blumen, J. (2004). The Allure of toxic leaders: Why we follow destructive bosses and Corrupt Politicians and how we can survive them. Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • MacIntyre, A. (2013). After virtue. Bloomsbury Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mahabharata, 5.15.17

  • Mahoney, D. J. (2001). Aleksandra solzhenitsyn: The ascent from ideology. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Maxwell, J. C. (2014). Good leaders ask great questions: your foundation for successful leadership. W. W. Norton & Company.

    Google Scholar 

  • May, R. (1999). Freedom and destiny. W. W. Norton.

    Google Scholar 

  • McReynolds, P. (2015). The American Philosopher: Interviews on the meaning of life and truth. Lexington Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Michael Abrashoff, D. (2002). It is your ship. Warner Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mintzberg, H. (2010). Developing leaders? Developing countries? Oxford Leadership Journal, 1(2). Accessed on 26 Aug 2020.

  • Nietzsche, F. (1974). In The Gay Science. Translated, with commentary, by Walter Kaufmann.Vintage Books.

  • Nietzsche, F. (2008). On the genealogy of morals: A polemic. by way of clarification and supplement to my last book, beyond good and evil. OUP Oxford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nietzsche, F. (2010). On the Genealogy of morals and ecce homo. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

    Google Scholar 

  • Orwell, G. (2017). 1984. Sumaiyah Distributors Pvt Limited.

    Google Scholar 

  • Parker, T. (2005). Ten sermons of religion sermon III: Of justice and conscience. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Library.

    Google Scholar 

  • Popper, K. (2014). Conjectures and refutations: The growth of scientific knowledge. Taylor & Francis.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Rist, J. M. (2004). Real ethics reconsidering the foundations of morality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Russell, B. (2018). The conquest of happiness. (n.p.):

  • Shermer, M. (2015). The moral arc: How science makes us better people. Henry Holt and Company.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sidgwick, H. (1874). The methods of ethics. Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • West, H. R. (2010). Mill’s “utilitarianism”: A reader’s guide. Bloomsbury Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zubko, A. (2003). Treasury of spiritual wisdom. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Limited.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


I heartily thank the two anonymous referees whose observations and patent review have hugely improved this paper and saved me from many an error. I also acknowledge the positive influence of the culture of the Department of Philosophy and Religion, Banaras Hindu University Varanasi, that trained me to think philosophically and raise critical questions as discussed in this paper. 


No funding was received to conduct this research.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rajan.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The author reports no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Springer Nature or its licensor (e.g. a society or other partner) holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Rajan Critique of Contemporary Civilization Ethos and Public Leadership Crisis: A Dystopian Interpretation and Philosophical Prospects. J. Indian Counc. Philos. Res. 40, 35–64 (2023).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: