Warp, Weft, and Way

Chinese and Comparative Philosophy 中國哲學與比較哲學

New Book: Bell and Wang, Just Hierarchy

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Daniel A. Bell (贝淡宁) and Wang Pei (汪沛)’s new book Just Hierarchy: Why Social Hierarchies Matter in China and the Rest of the World will be officially published by Princeton University Press in March but advance copies have arrived in the warehouse and the book can be ordered on the PUP website. Please enter discount code C285 for 30% off. The discount expires June 30, 2020. For more information from the press, read on.

Just Hierarchy is a systematic defense of hierarchy in the modern world. Drawing mainly on Chinese thought, we argue that different hierarchical principles ought to govern different types of social relations. We look at ways of promoting just forms of hierarchy while minimizing the influence of unjust ones, such as those based on race, sex, or caste.

Chapter one argues that hierarchies between intimates such as age-based hierarchies in the family are justified if they are characterized by shifting roles. We draw mainly on Confucian ethics to make our points.

Chapter two argues that hierarchies between rulers and citizens are justified if the rulers serve the people and there is trust between rulers and citizens. We illustrate with the case of the Chinese Communist Party but argue that there is a large gap between the ideal and the reality.

Chapter three argues that hierarchies between countries are justified if they are win-win. We illustrate with the example of an East Asian regional hierarchy led by China, both past and future.

Chapter four argues that hierarchies between humans and animals are justified if they are characterized by the principle of subordination without cruelty. We draw mainly on Confucian ethics to make our points.

Chapter five argues that hierarchies between humans and machines are justified if they are characterized by master-slave relations. The development of artificial intelligence (AI) has reinvigorated debates about higher communism in China with “slave-like” machines doing the socially necessary work and humans free to realize their creative essences. Against Marx, however, we argue that the state should not wither away because a strong state will always be necessary to deal with the threat of malevolent AI.

For an overview and some blurbs, please go to the PUP website:

(https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691200897/just-hierarchy).

Here is the amazon link to the book:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0691200890?pf_rd_p=2d1ab404-3b11-4c97-b3db-48081e145e35&pf_rd_r=TXDWERKMRJ0557XT0BH7

One Comment

  1. Thanks for this information! When I was reading this, I had to think of this powerful critique (by a young Chinese netizen) of certain arguments FOR hierarchy which are now voiced by Chinese intellectual in the context of the new outbreak of coronavirus (SARS):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWrWYmgannw&fbclid=IwAR3GTa-to7O4mvmmPOsFT7JHTdLbpCdodZ3mCkDg4S_bfpY4wOS2dce4E7E

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