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The Globalization of Ethics


  • Page extent: 320 pages
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521700214)

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The Globalization of Ethics

Religious and Secular Perspectives

The Globalization of Ethics seeks to provide an alternative to post-9/11 pessimism about the ability of serious ethical dialogue to resolve disagreements and conflict across national, religious, and cultural differences. It begins by acknowledging the gravity of the problem: On our tightly interconnected planet, entire populations look for moral guidance to a variety of religious and cultural traditions, and these often stiffen, rather than soften, opposing moral perceptions. How, then, to set minimal standards for the treatment of persons while developing moral bases for coexistence and cooperation across different ethical traditions?

   This volume argues for a tempered optimism in approaching these questions. Its distinguished contributors report on some of the most globally influential traditions of ethical thought – both religious traditions such as Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, and Confucianism, and the secular ethics of international law, liberalism, and feminism – in order to identify the resources within each tradition for working toward consensus and accommodation among the ethical traditions that shape the contemporary world.

William M. Sullivan is Senior Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and was Professor of Philosophy at La Salle University, where he is now Associate Faculty. He is the co-author of Habits of the Heart and the author of Reconstructing Public Philosophy and Work and Integrity: The Crisis and Promise of Professionalism in America, second edition.

Will Kymlicka is Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy at Queen’s University and Visiting Professor at the Central European University in Budapest. He has written and edited many titles, including Contemporary Political Philosophy and Multiculturalism in Asia. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and current President of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy.

The Ethikon Series in Comparative Ethics

Editorial Board

Carole Pateman, Series Editor

Brian Barry Sohail H. Hashmi Philip Valera
Robert P. George Will Kymlicka Michael Walzer
David Miller

The Ethikon Series publishes studies on ethical issues of current importance. By bringing scholars representing a diversity of moral viewpoints into structured dialogue, the series aims to broaden the scope of ethical discourse and to identify commonalities and differences between alternative views.


Brian Barry and Robert E. Goodin, eds., Free Movement: Ethical Issues in the Transnational Migration of People and Money

Chris Brown, ed., Political Restructuring in Europe: Ethical Perspectives

Terry Nardin, ed., The Ethics of War and Peace: Religious and Secular Perspectives

David R. Mapel and Terry Nardin, eds., International Society: Diverse Ethical Perspectives

David Miller and Sohail H. Hashmi, eds., Boundaries and Justice: Diverse Ethical Perspectives

Simone Chambers and Will Kymlicka, eds., Alternative Conceptions of Civil Society

Nancy L. Rosenblum and Robert Post, eds., Civil Society and Government

Sohail Hashmi, ed., Foreword by Jack Miles, Islamic Political Ethics: Civil Society, Pluralism, and Conflict

Richard Madsen and Tracy B. Strong, eds., The Many and the One: Ethical Pluralism in the Modern World

Allen Buchanan and Margaret Moore, eds., States, Nations, and Borders: The Ethics of Making Boundaries

Sohail H. Hashmi and Steven P. Lee, eds., Ethics and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Religious and Secular Perspectives

Michael Walzer, ed., Law, Politics, and Morality in Judaism

William M. Sullivan and Will Kymlicka, eds., The Globalization of Ethics: Religious and Secular Perspectives

The Globalization of Ethics

Religious and Secular Perspectives

Edited by

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Queen’s University

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi

Cambridge University Press
32 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013–2473, USA
Information on this title:

© The Ethikon Institute 2007

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2007

Printed in the United States of America

A catalog record for this publication is available from the British Library.

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

The globalization of ethics : religious and secular perspectives / [edited by]
William M. Sullivan, Will Kymlicka.
p. cm. – (The Ethikon series in comparative ethics)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN-13: 978-0-521-87335-2 (hardback)
ISBN-13: 978-0-521-70021-4 (pbk.)
1. Ethics. 2. Globalization – Moral and ethical aspects. I. Sullivan, William M.
II. Kymlicka, Will. III. Title. IV. Series.
BJ21.G56  2007
170–dc22      2006035659

ISBN 978-0-521-87335-2 hardback
ISBN 978-0-521-70021-4 paperback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for
the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or
third-party Internet Web sites referred to in this publication
and does not guarantee that any content on such
Web sites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.


Contributors page ix
Acknowledgments xiii
1   Introduction: The Globalization of Ethics 1
  Will Kymlicka
2   Global Ethics and the International Law Tradition 17
  Daniel Philpott
3   Morality and Universality in Jewish Thought 38
  Michael Walzer
4   Globalization and Christian Ethics 53
  Max L. Stackhouse
5   Buddhism and the Globalization of Ethics 75
  Peter Nosco
6   Muslim Perspectives on Global Ethics 93
  Muhammad Khalid Masud
7   Confucianism: Ethical Uniformity and Diversity 117
  Richard Madsen
8   Natural Law, Common Morality, and Particularity 134
  Mark C. Murphy
9   Liberalism and the Globalization of Ethics 151
  Chris Brown
10   Feminist Perspectives on a Planetary Ethic 171
  Kimberly Hutchings
11   Ethical Universalism and Particularism: A Comparison of Outlooks 191
  William M. Sullivan
  Appendix: Key Documents on Global Ethics 213
A   Universal Declaration of Human Rights 213
B   International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 219
C   International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights 229
D   Declaration Toward a Global Ethic 236
E   Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights 247
F   Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam 257
G   The Bangkok Declaration 263
H   Asian Human Rights Charter: A People’s Charter 268
Bibliography 283
Index 297


Chris Brown is professor of international relations at the London School of Economics and past chair of the British International Studies Association. He has published widely in classical and modern international political theory and international ethics. He is the author of Understanding International Relations (which is in its third edition and has been translated into three languages) and Sovereignty, Rights, and Justice and co-editor (with Terry Nardin and N. J. Rengger) of International Relations in Political Thought: Texts from the Greeks to the First World War.

Kimberly Hutchings is reader in international relations at the London School of Economics. She is the author of Kant, Critique and Politics; International Political Theory: Rethinking Ethics in a Global Era; and Hegel and Feminist Philosophy and co-editor (with Roland Dannreuther) of Cosmopolitan Citizenship. She is a founding editor of the journal Contemporary Political Theory and currently associate editor of the European Journal of International Relations. Her interests range across the fields of Continental and feminist philosophy, international ethics, and international political theory.

Will Kymlicka is professor of philosophy at Queen’s University and a frequent visiting professor at the Central European University. He is the author of Liberalism, Community, and Culture; Contemporary Political Philosophy; Politics in the Vernacular: Nationalism, Multiculturalism, Citizenship; Multiculturalism in Asia; and Multicultural Citizenship, which was awarded the Macpherson Prize by the Canadian Political Science Association and the Bunche Award by the American Political Science Association. He is also the editor of Justice in Political Philosophy and The Rights of Minority Cultures and co-editor of Alternative Conceptions of Civil Society (with Simone Chambers), Ethnicity and Group Rights (with Ian Shapiro), and Citizenship in Diverse Societies (with Wayne Norman). His works have been translated into thirty languages.

Richard Madsen is professor and chair of the sociology department at the University of California, San Diego, and a co-author (with Robert Bellah et al.) of The Good Society and Habits of the Heart, which received the Los Angeles Times Book Award and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He is a former Maryknoll missionary and has authored or co-authored five books on China, including Morality and Power in a Chinese Village, for which he received the C. Wright Mills Award; China’s Catholics: Tragedy and Hope in an Emerging Civil Society; and China and the American Dream. He also co-edited (with Tracy B. Strong) The Many and the One: Religious and Secular Perspectives on Ethical Pluralism in the Modern World.

Muhammad Khalid Masud is a student of religion, law, and social change in Muslim societies.  Formerly academic director of the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World  (Leiden, The Netherlands), he is presently chairing the Council of Islamic Ideology, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad. He is the author of Shabiti’s Philosophy of Islamic Law; Iqbal’s Reconstruction of Ijtihad; and Muslim Jurists’ Quest for the Normative Basis of Shar’ia; editor of Islamic Laws and Women in the Modern World and Travelers in Faith: Studies on Tablighi Jama’at as Transnational Movement for the Renewal of Faith; and co-editor (with Brinkley Messick and David Powers) of Islamic Legal Interpretation: The Muftis and Their Fatwas and (with David Powers and Ruud Peters) Dispensing Justice in Islam.

Mark C. Murphy is professor of philosophy at Georgetown University. He is the author of Natural Law and Practical Rationality; An Essay on Divine Authority; Natural Law in Jurisprudence and Politics; and Philosophy of Law: The Fundamentals and the editor of Alasdair MacIntyre. His research interests include the history of early modern philosophy and moral, political, and legal philosophy, with special emphasis on natural law theory, both in its historical manifestations and as a live option for jurisprudence and the theory of practical reasoning.

Peter Nosco is professor and head of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. A specialist in the intellectual and social history of early modern Japan, he is the author of Remembering Paradise: Nativism and Nostalgia in 18th Century Japan; the editor of Confucianism and Tokugawa Culture and Japanese Identity: Cultural Analyses; and translator of Ihara Saikaku’s Some Final Words of Advice. He has also been a guest editor of The Japanese Journal of Religious Studies and Philosophy: East and West. He is currently working on the construction of individual identity in Tokugawa (1600–1868) Japan.

Daniel Philpott is associate professor in the Department of Political Science and the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of Revolutions in Sovereignty: How Ideas Shaped Modern International Relations and a number of journal articles on national self-determination, religious freedom, and related topics. His major current interests include reconciliation and transitional justice. He is a senior associate at the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy and travels regularly to Kashmir to train leaders in faith-based diplomacy. He is also collaborating on a Harvard-based study of religion in global politics.

Max L. Stackhouse is the Rimmer and Ruth de Vries Professor of Reformed Theology and Public Life, Princeton Theological Seminary.  He is the author or editor of twelve books, including Creeds, Society, and Human Rights: A Study in Three Cultures; Covenant and Commitments: Faith, Family and Economic Lift; On Moral Business: Classical and Contemporary Resources for Ethics in Economic Life; Christian Social Ethics in a Global Era; Public Theology and Political Economy; and God and Globalization, 3 vols. (the last volume is forthcoming). His books and essays have been translated into Korean, Japanese, and Chinese, and he is a frequent lecturer at conferences and universities in India and China.  He is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.

William M. Sullivan is senior scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He is co-author (with Robert Bellah et al.) of The Good Society and Habits of the Heart, which received the Los Angeles Times Book Award and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He is the author of Reconstructing Public Philosophy and, most recently, Work and Integrity: The Crisis and Promise of Professionalism in American Life.

Michael Walzer is a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He is the author of The Revolution of the Saints, Just and Unjust Wars, Spheres of Justice, On Toleration, and Politics and Passion; co-editor of The Jewish Political Tradition and Dissent; a contributing editor of The New Republic; and a member of the editorial board of The Ethikon Series in Comparative Ethics.


This book is the result of a dialogue project organized by the Ethikon Institute in collaboration with the Dominican Lay Scholars Community. The trustees of the Ethikon Institute join with Philip Valera, president, and Carole Pateman, series editor, in thanking all who contributed to the success of this project.

   We are especially indebted to the late Joan Palevsky and the Sidney Stern Memorial Trust for their enabling financial support and to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for its assistance in preparing the manuscript for publication.

   Special thanks are due to William M. Sullivan and Will Kymlicka for taking on the challenging task of editing this book and to William A. Galston for his key role in facilitating the dialogue that resulted in this volume. We are also grateful to Uzma Jamil and Sohail Hashmi for providing helpful advice and assistance, as well as to Laura Ostenso for valuable technical support. We also wish to thank Ronald Cohen, whose editing of the manuscript sharpened the prose and helped us to avoid errors.

   Finally, we wish to express our thanks to Beatrice Rehl, our editor at Cambridge University Press, for her encouragement, valuable guidance, and support.

The Ethikon Institute

The Ethikon Institute, a nonprofit organization, is concerned with the social implications of ethical pluralism. Its dialogue-publication projects are designed to explore a diversity of moral outlooks, secular and religious, and to clarify areas of consensus and divergence among them. By encouraging a systematic exchange of ideas, the Institute aims to advance the prospects for agreement and to facilitate the peaceful accommodation of irreducible differences. The Ethikon Institute takes no position on issues that may divide its participants, serving not as an arbiter but as a neutral forum for the cooperative exploration of diverse and sometimes opposing views.

The Dominican Lay Scholars Community

The Dominican Lay Scholars Community is an ecumenical organization that promotes both interreligious contact and carefully structured dialogue be-tween religious scholars and professional scholars in other intellectual disciplines. Among its other objectives, the DLSC encourages a systematic and impartial search for common intellectual ground among secular and religious outlooks on a wide range of important issues.

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