This book offers the first comprehensive analysis of warfare ethics in early China as well as its subsequent development. Chinese attitudes toward war are rich and nuanced, ranging across amoral realism, defensive just war, humanitarian intervention, and mournful skepticism. Covering the five major intellectual traditions in the "golden age" of Chinese civilization: Confucian, Daoist, Mohist, Legalist, and Military Strategy schools, the book's chapters immerse readers in the proper historical contexts, examine the moral concerns in the classical texts on their own (...) terms, reframe those concerns in contemporary ethical idioms, and forge a critical dialogue between the past and the present. The volume develops fresh moral interpretations of classical texts such as The Art of War, Mencius, Xunzi, Mozi, and the Daodejing and discusses famous philosophers such as Han Fei and Wang Yang-ming, representing antithetical schools of thought about warfare. Attention is also given to the military ethics of the People's Liberation Army, examining its thinking against the backdrop of its own civilizational context. This book will be of much interest to students of just war theory, Chinese politics, ethics, and philosophy, military studies, and International Relations in general. (shrink)
Focusing on the thought of Mencius and Xunzi, this essay reconstructs and examines the classical Confucian position on the legitimate use of military force. It begins by sketching historically important political concepts, such as types of political leaders, politics of the kingly way versus politics of the hegemonic way, and the controversial role of lords-protector. It then moves on to explore Confucian criteria for justifying resort to the use of force, giving special attention to undertaking punitive expeditions to interdict and (...) punish aggression and tyranny. Following this discussion, the essay then attends to important Confucian moral constraints on how military force is properly employed, including prohibitions on attacking the defenseless, indiscriminate slaughter of enemy forces, destruction of civilian infrastructure, prisoner abuse, and non-consensual annexation of territory. The essay concludes by first discussing an illustrative case from Mencius and then comparing its reconstruction of the Confucian position to those offered by other scholars. (shrink)
An illustrative comparison of human rights in 1948 and the contemporary period, attempting to gauge the impact of globalization on changes in the content of human rights (e.g., collective rights, women's rights, right to a healthy environment), major abusers and guarantors of human rights (e.g., state actors, transnational corporations, social movements), and alternative justifications of human rights (e.g., pragmatic agreement, moral intuitionism, overlapping consensus, cross-cultural dialogue).
This essay is an exploratory inquiry into possible Christian ethical residues in the field of comparative religious ethics (CRE), focusing particularly on the themes of tradition and canon, trajectories of ethical reflection, emancipatory criticism, common morality, and the notion of discipline. It is suggested that even if such traces exist, they may not be detrimental to the field as currently practiced.
This essay is a brief attempt to summarize and evaluate the contributions that "Democracy and Tradition" makes to the field of comparative ethics. It is argued that the potential impact of these contributions would be strengthened by engagement with the common morality already imbedded in international human rights norms.
This volume for the first time brings the scholarly discipline of comparative religious ethics into constructive collaboration with the community of interreligious dialogue. Its design is premised on two important insights. First, interreligious dialogue offers to comparative religious ethics a new, more persuasive rationale, agenda of issues, and practical orientation. Second, comparative religious ethics offers to interreligious dialogue an arsenal of critical tools and methods which will enhance the sophistication of its practical work. In this way, both theory (a dominant (...) concern and strength of comparative religious ethics) and praxis (a dominant concern and strength of interreligious moral dialogue) are joined together in mutual effort, each contributing to the benefit of the other.The volume’s contributors share this vision of collaboration, drawing explicitly from both communities of discourse in a manner that crosses disciplinary and professional boundaries to deal creatively and constructively with important methodological and global moral issue. Although theory and practice cannot easily be separated in such a collaborative project, for the purpose of clarity, the volume is divided into two main parts. The first specifically engages questions of method, theory, and the social role of the public intellectual; the second, on substantive moral themes and issues, many of which were raised at the 1993 Parliament. Taken together, the volume’s essays articulate and illustrate new ways of approaching contemporary moral concerns cross-culturally yet with a rigor appropriate to our complex and pluralistic world. (shrink)
This paper examines the contributions that the international human rights community can make to the definition and framing of a practically effective global ethic, especially in light of ongoing concerns about social and economic justice, environmental issues, and systematic abuses of vulnerable populations. The principal argument is that the human rights movement in all of its dimensions (moral, legal, political) provides the pivotal foundation for a practicable global ethic now and for the foreseeable future. Evidence for the truth of this (...) claim is discerned in the movement's contemporary efforts to intersect explicitly with other areas of international law and politics. Examples adduced include developments with respect to the rights of indigenous peoples, decision making about the environment, and transitional justice. (shrink)
Abstract Building on the authors' previous work regarding the classical Confucian position on the legitimate use of military force as represented by Mencius and Xunzi, this paper probes their understanding of punitive expeditions undertaken against tyrants in particular ? aims, justification, preconditions, and limits. It compares this understanding with contemporary Western models of humanitarian intervention, and argues that the Confucian punitive expedition aligns most closely with the emerging ?responsibility to protect? model in Western discussions, although it also differs from the (...) latter in certain respects. For example, the Confucian expedition explicitly forwards as legitimate aims regime change and the punishment of tyrants, in addition to rescue of an abused population and assistance in rebuilding a decent society. The Confucian understanding also appears to set a lower threshold standard (well short of genocide, ethnic cleansing, or large-scale massacre) for what counts as severe tyranny warranting intervention, and it explicitly speaks of an obligation (beyond mere permissibility) to intervene when that threshold is exceeded. In its concluding section, the paper discusses some possible contemporary implications of the classical Confucian understanding of a punitive expedition against tyrants. (shrink)
The Practices of Global Ethics takes a unique look at global ethics: not as mere written statements but as a set of practices undertaken by thousands of organisations and hundreds of thousands of people to shape the normative trajectory of human affairs. It looks at statements of global ethical principles including The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Earth Charter and the Rio Documents and positions them as the outcomes and expression of ongoing practices. Offering innovative, critical and thoughtful analyses (...) of ethical practices since World War II, the book examines efforts to promote human rights; foster ecological responsibility; end genocide; reduce global poverty; encourage responsible and sustainable international business practices; cultivate understanding and collaboration amongst the world's religions among other worldwide endeavours. (shrink)
FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE causes and mechanisms involved in human rights atrocities, as well as strategies for preventing or interdicting their occurrence. Although I have focused my attention on social scientific and psychological investigations in an effort to develop an integrated schema or framework that could be applied to particular cases, I launched a faculty seminar at Florida State University and taught correlated courses on crimes against humanity that specifically used humanistic materials (...) in examining such criminal activity. The underlying rationale for this effort stemmed from the charge to the FSU human rights center to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum emphasizing the international, comparative, and interdisciplinary aspects of human rights education and drawing on faculty resources throughout the university's schools and departments. In this essay I report on the theme that emerged in the FSU initiative that human rights education could be especially enhanced by engagement with humanistic materials ranging across history, literature, philosophy, and the arts. These materials can raise profound questions, appeal to the imagination and moral sensibilities, and engender critical and creative thinking. (shrink)
By posing a heuristically provocative question, this essay compares and explores in some detail the testimonies of three infamous perpetrators from the Nazi period—Albert Speer, Rudolph Hoess, and Adolf Eichmann—for what they reveal about their motives, ideological thinking, and strategies of denial and self-deception, as well as influences from their social, political, and cultural context. The conclusion drawn is that many of the external and internal factors at work in them are recognizable to us as features of our own moral (...) experience and, further, that this recognition is particularly important for motivating self-scrutiny in our own lives for any hints of impending complicity with moral evil. (shrink)
A critical examination of Richard Miller's position in his recent "Children, Ethics, and Modern Medicine" on how to handle pediatric interventions in cases of cross-cultural conflict between parents and doctors with respect to treating young children. Particular emphasis is placed on Miller's interpretation of and arguments about a Hmong case extensively researched by Anne Fadiman in her "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down". The conclusion drawn is that Miller's position requires further nuance and development, and some recommendations are (...) made toward that end. (shrink)
There is no easy escape from parochialism in its twin forms of insularity and bias. Ronald Green has suggested that the JRE suffers from both, and to the extent that this is true, correction is required. Assessing the truth of the complaint is, however, complicated. While more attention to the methods and findings of other disciplines is desirable, success in this area is best achieved by the appropriation of such work by ethicists. Evidence of engagement with other disciplines may therefore (...) be diffuse, layered, and hard to isolate. Concerning Western bias, it is certainly true that the JRE should publish more historical studies relating to non-Christian religious traditions, but the themes and issues that Green identifies as the indices of Western and theological biases may instead arise indigenously in other religious traditions and may actually express the dominance of certain developments in moral philosophy. (shrink)