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Justice and harmony as complementary ideals : reconciling the right and the good through comparative philosophy

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Item Summary

Title:Justice and harmony as complementary ideals : reconciling the right and the good through comparative philosophy
Authors:Mason, Joshua
Date Issued:Aug 2014
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2014]
Abstract:In contemporary moral and political philosophy, a wide gulf often divides justice from harmony--a gulf related to the division of the right from the good in moral theory, liberalism from communitarianism in political theory, and neutrality from perfectionism in governance. This dissertation asks if these rifts can be reconciled and if justice and harmony can be made conceptually compatible. This question takes on geopolitical importance since American ideology identifies with justice and Chinese ideology identifies with a harmony. If these two ideals are incompatible, does that mean American and Chinese goals are necessarily in conflict?
To enter into a productive dialog, we first must recognize important differences between western conceptions of justice and harmony and their Chinese counterparts, zhengyi 正義 and he 和. Despite initial philosophical differences, this dissertation identifies alternative conceptions of justice and harmony which can help us put the western and Chinese ideas into a fruitful conversation.
Following an elaboration of the split between the right and the good across various levels of discourse, this dissertation identifies several attempts to situate the right and the good in a complementary relationship rather than in opposition. Paul Ricoeur's argument incorporating teleology and deontology in pursuit of practical wisdom provides a framework for reconciling justice and harmony. Using this tri-level framework, this dissertation reconstructs the ideals and their interrelationships as 1) fundamental harmony; 2) harmonic justice, heyi 和義; and 3) just harmony, zhenghe 正和. These reformulations honor our emotional experience and our social embeddedness, our critical capacities and expanding awareness, and our ultimate ambition to achieve the most good by the best possible means in particular morally fraught situations.
The dissertation concludes by incorporating these reformulated ideals into the practices of restorative justice, and suggesting that understanding justice and harmony as complementary can help overcome crises caused by one-sided adherence to one or the other.
Description:Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Philosophy

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