This text offers a critique of a certain development in political discourses on progress, namely the “decoupling” of notions of moral from notions of technological progress. This decoupling yields fatal social, economic and ecologic consequences in practice that ultimately amount to a virtual perversion of progress. The second part of the paper reflects upon the psychosocial drivers of this dynamic. I venture that the only motive that may explain why we reproduce this dynamic even as we increasingly suffer from its consequences is a compulsive avoidance of limitation, i.e. non-satisfaction of needs. Finally, I offer some tentative suggestions as to what a mature approach towards limitation would entail.
In dealing with the problem of war, how should one seek a proper middle path between absolute pacifism and extreme realism? How can a proper ethics of war be adhered to? Is “just war”, when used as a term for the moral evaluation of war, somewhat vague and ambiguous? This paper argues that in the analysis of various types of war ethics, it is necessary to put forward an “ethical constraints of war”. Such constraints should be valid in wartime, including in the lead-up to war, during the war, and even post-war. Politicians and all the relevant agents are asked to consider not only the motives and intentions behind the war but also the actions and the means of warfare and even the long-term consequences. One should take into account not only the contents but also the grounds of the ethical constraints of war, which directly involves the basic principle of life.
Over the last years, the debate over global justice has moved beyond the divide between statist and cosmopolitan, as well as ideal and non-ideal approaches. Rather, a turn to empirical realities has taken place, claiming that normative political philosophy and theory need to address empirical facts about global poverty and wealth. The talk argues that some aspects of the earlier “Critical Theory” and its notions of negativity, praxis, and communicative power allow for a non-empiristic link between normative theory and a well-informed social science analysis that is based on experienced injustice. The analysis of border politics and housing politics will serve as an example for a critical theory of global injustice that addresses regressive as well as emancipative developments in society.
Global justice or the lack thereof has internal connections with global poverty. Global justice is an ideal pursuit of cosmopolitanism, which regards basic human needs as its rightful object. The right to life, from the point of view of global justice, is the most fundamental in the list of Human Rights. International anarchy and the current international economic order, however, cast a utopian shadow on the realization of this right when we consider the de facto institutions and the ostensible goal of impartial love for everyone. Humanitarian aid is another approach to the problem of contemporary global poverty. Its difficulty lies first in people’s different conceptions of obligation and donation. They consider the former as duty while the latter is seen to lie beyond the call of duty. Second, in terms of a correlation between right and duty, since everyone has the right to life, the duty falls accordingly upon organizations or individuals. Meanwhile, donation as duty is not perfect obligation, thus is not compulsory either. Finally, international humanitarian aid is constrained by nationalism and partial love. Hence, in the light of either government or individual, the humanitarian aid approach is beset with challenges.
Global justice has gained academic importance worldwide since John Rawls’ later works. By contrast to domestic justice, it is a theory of justice that proposes to include all human beings. Global justice stands for a kind of utopian justice in regard to both the institutional path and the humanitarian aid approach. I shall examine the theory of global justice under these two aspects.
In this article, the importance of the namelessness of language will be firstly explained through an analysis of authenticity in Heideggerian philosophy, and will be further clarified by way of the phenomenon of “profound boredom” from his Freiburg lecture. As the exploration of namelessness in Heideggerian philosophy plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between East and West, a brief comparison concerning the idea of namelessness and its underlying philosophy of language between the Heideggerian and the madhyamaka Buddhist tradition will also be discussed.
John Rawls assumes that in the original position, under the veil of ignorance, after bargaining amongst each other, free, equal, moral and rational persons would make a rational decision to accept the principles of justice as fairness and thus the principles are established. Critics, however, question the authenticity and validity of this justification strategy. When rational individuals take the principles of justice as an original agreement, it is not a real contract. Rawls’s conception of justice as fairness is just a personal notion, some individuals may accept it, but it is impossible to be accepted by all human beings in a real world. Therefore there is a justification/acceptance paradox of those principles which are the core of his political philosophy. So how should we justify those principles? Its answers may be provided not in the light of a philosophical justification but of a scientific one.
This article focuses on the challenge of determining the relative weight of domestic and global justice demands. This problem concerns a variety of views that differ on the metric, function, scope, grounds and fundamental interpretation of justice norms. I argue that domestic and global economic justice are irreducibly interdependent. In order to address their exact relation, I discuss and compare three theoretical models: (i) the bottom-up-approach, which prioritizes domestic justice; (ii) the top-down-approach, which prioritizes global justice; and (iii) the horizontal framework, according to which both domestic and global principles pose equally stringent demands that are to be implemented horizontally, without attributing a simple priority to one over the other. I argue that the third model represents the best overall framework, although more complex normative criteria need to be elaborated on the basis of this approach, affecting issues such as justice in climate change mitigation and adaption, development cooperation, trade, finance, taxation and immigration.
It has been widely observed that virtue ethics, regarded as an ethics of the ancient, in contrast to deontology and consequentialism, seen as an ethics of the modern (: 19–23), is experiencing an impressive revival and is becoming a strong rival to utilitarianism and deontology in the English-speaking world in the last a few decades. Despite this, it has been perceived as having an obvious weakness in comparison with its two major rivals. While both utilitarianism and deontology can at the same time serve as an ethical theory, providing guidance for individual persons and a political philosophy, offering ways to structure social institutions, virtue ethics, as it is concerned with character traits of individual persons, seems to be ill-equipped to be politically useful. In recent years, some attempts have been made to develop the so-called virtue politics, but most of them, including my own (see Huang 2014: Chapter 5), are limited to arguing for the perfectionist view that the state has the obligation to do things to help its members develop their virtues, and so the focus is still on the character traits of individual persons. However important those attempts are, such a notion of virtue politics is clearly too narrow, unless one thinks that the only job the state is supposed to do is to cultivate its people’s virtues. Yet obviously the government has many other jobs to do such as making laws and social policies, many if not most of which are not for the purpose of making people virtuous. The question is then in what sense such laws and social policies are moral in general and just in particular. Utilitarianism and deontology have their ready answers in the light of utility or moral principles respectively. Can virtue ethics provide its own answer? This paper attempts to argue for an affirmative answer to this question from the Confucian point of view, as represented by Mencius. It does so with a focus on the virtue of justice, as it is a central concept in both virtue ethics and political philosophy.