Competing Paradigms in the Dialogue Among Civilizations: Core Values vs. Universal Values

In: Journal of Chinese Humanities

The model of universal values and civilizational transformation, on the one hand, and the model of core values and self awareness, on the other, represent two fundamentally opposing paradigms of dialogue among civilizations. In practice, the former represents an attempt to present the core values of Western civilization as universal values and to demand that non-Western civilizations assimilate to these so-called universal values. Thus the promotion of universal values runs the risk of exacerbating intercivilizational conflict and preventing non-Western civilizations from achieving a deep understanding of the core values of their cultures, even concealing the shortcomings of their own value systems. The paradigm of core values and self awareness, by contrast, emphasizes the importance of retaining innate values and ethics, allowing civilizations to evaluate and update their own value systems as needed. We would therefore do well to adopt core values and self-awareness as the dominant model for dialogue among civilizations.

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  • HickJohn God and the Universe of Faiths 1973 Oxford One World Publications

  • HuntingtonSamuel P. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order 1996 New York Simon & Schuster

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  • MoynSamuel The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History 2010 Cambridge Harvard University Press

  • XieWenyu “Zi you yu ze ren: yi zhong zheng zhi zhe xue de fen xi 自由與責任:一種政治哲學的分析 [Liberty and Duty: An Analysis by Political Philosophy]” Journal of Zhejiang University 浙江大學學報 2010 1 182 195

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  • 1

    Samuel Moyn, The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010), 1.

  • 3

    Cf. John Hick, God and the Universe of Faiths (Oxford: One World Publications, 1973); idem, Dialogues in the Philosophy of Religion (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001).

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  • 4

    Cf. Paul F. Knitter, One Earth, Many Religions: Multifaith Dialogue and Global Responsibilities (New York: Orbis Books, 1995).

  • 5

    Samuel P. Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations?” Foreign Affairs (Summer 1993). The theme of the article was later expanded into a book: Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996).

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