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Guying Chen

Edited by David Jones and Sarah Flavel

In The Humanist Spirit of Daoism, Chen Guying presents a concise overview of his understanding of the meaning and significance of Daoist philosophy. Chen is a leading contemporary Chinese thinker and spokesperson for a new Daoist approach to existential and socio-political issues. He was born in mainland China in 1935, but after having resettled to Taiwan, he received his education there and was a student activist in the 1960s. He became famous in the Chinese-speaking world with his writings on Nietzsche, Laozi and Zhuangzi. At present he is a Professor at Peking University. This volume collects representative essays from the past 25 years which not only outline Chen’s interpretation of Daoism as a deeply humanist way of thinking and living, but also show how he employs this philosophy in a critique of totalitarianism and neo-imperialism.


Xunwu Chen

This book presents a creative approach to the problem of individual authenticity. What is authenticity? What are its necessary conditions? How is an authentic self possible in society? What are the relationships of authenticity, morality, and happiness? The book examines a wide range of questions in Eastern and Western thought, to which it gives novel answers.

Bioethics and Vulnerability

A Latin American View


Florencia Luna

This book presents some of the challenges bioethics in Latin America faces today. It considers them through the lenses of vulnerable populations, those incapable of protecting their own interests, such as the illiterate, women in societies disrespectful of their reproductive rights, and research subjects in contexts where resources are scarce.


A Nonevaluative Approach


Michael R. Rhodes

In this book, Rhodes provides a nonevaluative account of coercion. He begins with a thorough discussion of the charge that coercion is an essentially contested concept. He argues that effective communication of regulations pertaining to human conduct requires a basic level of clarity as to the kind of conduct being regulated. Accordingly, he argues that before we prescribe or proscribe conduct, we should describe it. In short, he maintains that wherever possible description should precede prescription and proscription. Rhodes begins his descriptive project by providing a fundamental account of human motivation. Upon this foundation he supports his distinctions between threats, offers, throffers, and neutral proposals. He argues that all coercion claims can be understood in light of these components. He applies this analysis to three prominent accounts of coercion as advanced by F.A. Hayek, Harry Frankfurt, and Robert Nozick. After comparing and contrasting these views, Rhodes provides his own account. Rhodes's account is based upon the identification of what he refers to as perceived-threat-avoidance-behavior as a necessary condition for coercion. As a descriptive, or nonevaluative, account, Rhodes is able to identify coercion independent from normative judgments. He argues that it is not the wrongfulness of some conduct that makes it coercion, instead, it is the coerciveness of some conduct that makes it wrong. Unique to Rhodes's account, coercion is not necessarily wrong. As a descriptive account, his view permits an independent analysis of the moral status of an act of coercion. The book concludes with a discussion of the normatively significant variables of a coercion claim.


Gregory F. Mellema

Groups of people are commonly said to be collectively responsible for what has happened. Sometimes the groups claimed to be responsible are vast in size, as when collective responsibility is ascribed to the class of all Americans or the class of all white males. In this book the concept of collective responsibility is analyzed. It is examined not only in the light of what philosophical proponents (such as Cooper, Held, Bates, French, Swinburne, and May) have said about it, but a genuine attempt is made to make sense of what ordinary people say about responsibility when it is ascribed to groups of people. Accordingly, it is distinguished from related concepts such as shared responsibility and moral taint. Parallels are examined between the actions of an individual and the actions of a group or collective, parallels which seem to make ascriptions of collective responsibility more plausible. Some philosophers oppose collective responsibility and argue for an individualist type of position; in this regard the positions of Lewis and Sverdlik are critically examined. The final chapter contains the author's own position, a position which affirms that collective responsibility is possible but which also preserves some of the central intuitions of the individualist.

Community, Diversity, and Difference

Implications for Peace


Edited by Alison Bailey and Paula J. Smithka

This book has its philosophical starting point in the idea that group-based social movements have positive implications for peace politics. It explores ways of imagining community, nation, and international systems through a political lens that is attentive to diversity and different lived experiences. Contributors suggest how groups might work toward new nonviolent conceptions and experiences of diverse communities and global stability.

Cross-Cultural Issues in Bioethics

The Example of Human Cloning


Edited by Heiner Roetz

Human cloning is a main focus of current bioethical discussion. Involving the self-understanding of the human species, it has become one of the most debated topics in biomedical ethics, not only on the national, but also on the international level.
This book brings together articles by bioethicists from several countries who address questions of human cloning within the context of different cultural, religious and regional settings against the background of globalizing biotechnology. It explores on a cross-cultural level the problems and opportunities of global bioethics.

The Curve of the Sacred

An Exploration of Human Spirituality


Constantin V. Ponomareff and Kenneth A. Bryson

This interdisciplinary book examines the nature of spirituality and the role it plays in the search for meaning. Spirituality is a loving tendency towards the sacred. In a secular environment, the sacred is taken to be a power greater than self. In a religious environment, the Sacred refers to God, or Higher Power. The book examines the developments of the s/Sacred in great works of art and literature, as well as in medicine, theology, psychology, philosophy, and religion. Spirituality also functions as an unloving tendency towards disunity, or a force for evil.
The first part of the book examines the ways of the spiritual as a force for good and evil. We have just witnessed one of the bloodiest centuries in human history. The experience of two World Wars leaves a legacy of brokenness: “Where Nossack’s reminiscences bore poetic, compassionate, and personal witness to the disaster, Eliot’s poetry reads more like a sacred and religious poem taking contemporary Western European civilization to task—much like the biblical prophets of old—for its spiritual bankruptcy.” Albert Einstein, Edvard Munch’s Madonna, and Carl Jung’s ‘unconscious’ touch the curve of the Sacred in more promising places.
The second part examines how the search for meaning works. The distinction between being human and being a person plays a central role in the life of the spiritual; “…the spiritual is manifest in the activities taking place in the central self. The central self is the locus of all thoughts, feelings, acts of reason and judgment, conscious and unconscious processes alike. The central self is the place where social relationships and environmental relationships are processed. The essential feature of the central self is that it does not exist outside these processes.” The same spiritual energies that light up great works of art also light up our destructive side, only the associations’ change.

Defining Personhood

Toward the Ethics of Quality in Clinical Care


Sarah Bishop Merrill

Many debates in biomedical ethics today involve inconsistencies in defining the key term, person. Both sides of the abortion debate, for instance, beg the question about what constitutes personhood. This book explores the arguments concerning definitions of personhood in the history of modern philosophy, and then constructs a superior model, defined in terms of distinctive features (a theoretical concept borrowed from linguistics). This model is shown to have distinct advantages over the necessary and sufficient condition models of personhood launched by essentialists. Philosophers historically have been correct about what some of the pivotal distinctive features of personhood are, e.q., rationality, communications and self-consciousness, but they have been wrong about the methods of recognizing and asserting personhood, and about the relative importance of feelings. In clinical care, complaints often surface that care is not personal. This book aims to improve care through providing a method of attending to patients as people. Charts in the Appendices show that where physicians attended to personal features important to their patients, sometimes the patients rated the care even higher than the physician did. The book will be useful to health-care providers whose goals include improving quality of care, listening to patients, and preventing malpractice.

Democracy and the Quest for Justice

Russian and American Perspectives


Edited by William C. Gay and Tatiana Alekseeva

This book examines the changes and challenges to democracy particularly in contemporary Russia. In the first section, Russian and American philosophers scrutinize the virtues and vices facing a country changing to a democratic government. The book, secondly, explores the challenges facing a democratic Russia. Lastly, the book considers carefully issues of social justice arising from the relationship between democracy and the current economic climate of globalization. The series Contemporary Russian Philosophy explores a variety of perspectives in and on philosophy as it is currently being practiced in Russia. Co-sponsored by the Center for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and by the Russian Philosophical Society, this special series features collaborative works between Russians and Americans, collections of essays by Russians, and monographs by Russians. All volumes are published in English.