The Humanities Research Center’s Citizenship Lab proudly funds Jiyuan (Dmitry) Sun’s Signature Work project
Student: Jiyuan (Dmitry) Sun, Class of 2024, Ethics and Leadership/Philosophy
Mentor: Joseph Mazor, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
This project centers on two concepts in contemporary political philosophy: relational egalitarianism and economic liberty. It will investigate the place of economic liberty within the theoretical framework of relational egalitarianism. By revealing the incompatibility between existing conceptions of economic liberty and relational egalitarianism, it strives to reconcile the two concepts by redefining economic liberty. It will ideally reach the conclusion that economic liberty is not only compatible with relational egalitarianism but an essential constituent of the latter. It takes a pragmatic concern with carving out an institutional design in which people are both economically free and equal in socio-political relations under democratic citizenship, and a further theoretical concern with the fluid interactions between freedom and equality.
This project is expected to start during summer 2023 and conclude during spring 2024. Its research process will involve (i) literature reviews of Elizabeth Anderson’s (1999) conception of relational egalitarianism, including Value in Ethics and Economics (1995) and “What is the Point of Equality?” (1999); (ii) comparative studies of multiple existing theories of economic liberty; (iii) independent argumentation on the relationship between relational egalitarianism and economic liberty; (iv) potential interviews with renowned scholars concerning relational egalitarianism and economic liberty; (v) peer-review seminars coordinated with the DKU Citizenship Lab.
The Humanities Research Center’s Citizenship Lab proudly funds Xiaoliang Yang’s Signature Work project.
Student: Xiaoliang Yang, Class of 2023, Ethics and Leadership/Philosophy
Mentor: Lincoln Rathnam, Assistant Professor of Political Science
In this project, I consider Classical Confucians’ treatments of ethical dilemmas, as reflected in Confucian classics (especially the Analects and Mengzi). I respond to current scholarly debates, including where scholars (e.g., Fan Ruiping and Liu Qingping) frame Confucian ethics as “familial favoritism,” which means that familial interests possess higher priority than social goods. I argue that their account of Confucian familial favoritism is entirely based on Confucians’ compliments of those who prioritize familial interests in ethical dilemmas between family vs. society. But the acceptance of one choice does not necessarily lead to the refutation of the other, since Confucians might also praise those who prioritize social interests. In the latter parts of the thesis, I provide theoretical reasons for why I support an ethically pluralistic interpretation of Classical Confucianism and analyze why Confucians will also credit those who prioritize social interests where there are conflicts between family and society. Some of the sources I will incorporate in my research include primary and secondary literature in Classical Confucianism, such as the Analects, Mengzi, Xunzi, works of the New Confucian Mou Zongsan, Stephen Angle’s Contemporary Confucian Political Thought, and Joseph Chan’s Confucian Perfectionism. Ultimately, this project rejects the commonly held notion of “familial favoritism” ascribed to Confucianism by unveiling the underappreciated dimension of Confucianism in which social interests can be prioritized as well. This research also seeks to reconstruct Classical Confucianism as a system encompassing high tolerance of diversified solutions for the same problem. It aims to demonstrate the internal complexity and flexibility of Classical Confucianism, deepening our understanding of Confucian responses toward ethical dilemmas.