“Our shared values” in singapore: A confucian perspective

Educational Theory 62 (4):449-463 (2012)
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In this essay Charlene Tan offers a philosophical analysis of the Singapore state's vision of shared citizenship by examining it from a Confucian perspective. The state's vision, known formally as “Our Shared Values,” consists of communitarian values that reflect the official ideology of multiculturalism. This initiative included a White Paper, entitled Shared Values, which presented pejorative assessments of the ideals of “individual rights” and “individual interests” as antithetical to national interests. Rejecting this characterization, Tan argues that a dominant Confucian perspective recognizes the correlative rights of all human beings that are premised on the inherent right to human dignity, worth, and equality. Furthermore, Confucianism posits that it is in everyone's interest to attain the Confucian ethical ideal of becoming a noble person in society through self-cultivation. Tan concludes by highlighting two key implications for Singapore from a Confucian perspective on the Shared Values: first, schools in Singapore should place greater emphasis on individual moral development of their students, and second, more avenues should be provided for residents to contribute actively to the development of the vision of shared citizenship



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