In his new book, Ethics for Everyone: How to Increase Your Moral Intelligence, Westbury writer Arthur Dobrin addresses such moral questions as "Is it always wrong to lie?," "Is it always right to try to help another person?" and "Are you bound to keep every promise you make?"
Arthur Dobrin of Westbury is the author of 18 books, including his most recent, Ethics for Everyone: How to Increase Your Moral Intelligence. Photo by Victoria A. Caruso
Ethics for Everyone is designed to help the reader improve his or her "moral intelligence quotient (IQ)." The book, published earlier this year by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., includes 21 true stories showing real-life ethics, a personal ethics quiz, harm and benefit assessments of various courses of action and expert opinions from spiritual leaders, counselors, attorneys and psychologists as well as Dobrin's.
"It would be wonderful if life weren't filled with so many difficult ethical problems. But it is," stated Dobrin in the book's afterword. "Everyday we must decide whether our actions harm or benefit others. We have been blessed with the capacity to reason. I hope that by reading this book, by giving some consideration to ethical theory, and by giving much thought to the problems presented here [readers] will find delight in better being able to solve some of the ethical issues that confront [them.]"
Over the past 38 years, Dobrin has published numerous non-fiction books, including A History of Black Jews in America; The Role of Agrarian Cooperatives in the Development of Kenya; Getting Married the Way You Want; The God Within, Convictions: Political Prisoners - Their Stories; Love is Stronger Than Death, The Ethical Judgements of Social Workers and Ethical People and How They Get to Be That Way. His next non-fiction book, Religious Ethic, will be released in January 2003.
Of his books, Dobrin said, "Each one is different, but I think they all provide a sense of values. They don't give answers, but they certainly provide guidance."
Dobrin is also the author of three plays, a collection of short stories, a book of fables for children and seven poetry collections, including Tea in a Blue Cup, which was published in 1999. Although he has written several plays which have not taken off, Dobrin said he hopes to be a little more successful with a future project on Carrie Nation.
In 1990 and 1998, Dobrin authored two novels, Malaika and Salted with Fire, respectively. The books revolve around a character he created from his experiences in East Africa as a member of the Peace Corps. For Dobrin, these books were a challenge. "I was first worried about the first novel," he said. "It was first published in Kenya and I think it is always risky to write about people when you are the outsider. I was concerned about whether or not I got it right." Dobrin added that he is considering continuing the series with a third book. "The first and second novel involve the same character," he said. "I wrote the second because I wanted to know what happened to the character after the first. The second novel ends in 1998. So probably in another four or five years enough will have happened to this character and I will want to go back and find out."
Dobrin received a bachelor's degree in history from City College, a master's in human relations from New York University and a doctorate in social welfare from Adelphi University's School of Social Work. Dobrin also holds a certificate in family psychotherapy from the Ackermann Family Institute in New York. For the past 14 years, he has taught humanity and social sciences classes at Hofstra University. This year, his classes include "Kenya Through Literature" and "Religious Ethics." for the ethics class, Dobrin said he could not find a book to use for the class which is why he ended up writing Religious Ethics.
From 1965 to 1967, Dobrin and his wife, Lyn, worked as Peace Corp volunteers in Kisii, Kenya. In 1967, Dobrin joined the Ethical Movement and has served as leader of the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island, a religious organization for people who take social and personal responsibility as the guiding value in their life, since 1968. He is also a co-founder of the Long Island Interracial Alliance for a Common Future.
The Dobrins moved to Westbury in 1969. They have three children and three grandchildren.
Dobrin's books are available at the Westbury Public Library and can be purchased at Barnes & Noble in Carle Place and through Amazon.com.