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Research Interests for David B. Wong

Research Interests:

David Wong (Ph.D. Princeton, 1977) is the Susan Fox Beischer and George D. Beischer Professor of Philosophy. Before he came to Duke, he was the Harry Austryn Wolfson Professor of Philosophy at Brandeis University and the John M. Findlay Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Boston University. His works include Moral Relativity (University of California Press, 1984) and Natural Moralities (Oxford University Press, 2006), and articles and chapters on ethical theory, moral psychology and early Chinese philosophy. He was interviewed on the subjects of cultural and moral relativism for the Public Television Series, "The Examined Life." He is co-editor with Kwong-loi Shun of an anthology of comparative essays on Confucianism and Western philosophy: Confucian Ethics: a Comparative Study of Self, Autonomy and Community (Cambridge University Press, 2004). The main subjects of his research include 1) the nature and extent of moral differences and similarities across and within societies and how these differences and similarities bear on questions about the objectivity and universality of morality; 2) the attempt to understand morality naturalistically as arising from the attempt of human beings to structure their cooperation and to convey to each other what kinds of lives they have found to be worth living; 3) the nature of conflicts between basic moral values and how these give rise to moral differences across and within societies; 4) how we attempt to deal with such conflicts in moral deliberation; 5) the relevance of comparative philosophy, especially Chinese-Western (Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism) comparative philosophy, to the above subjects; 6) Whether our reasons to feel and act are based solely on what we already desire or whether reasons transcend what we desire and are used to critically evaluate and shape our desires; 7) the extent to which a person's recognizing that she has reasons to feel and act in certain ways can enter into the constitution of her emotions and change those emotions.

Anthropology, Cultural relativism, Emotions (Philosophy), Emotions and cognition, Ethical Relativism, Ethical Theory, Metaethics, Philosophy, Truth
Current projects:
A book on the classical Chinese thinkers Mencius, Xunzi, and Zhuangzi. Work on the relation between practical reason, desire, and emotion
Areas of Interest:

Ethical Theory, 
Moral Psychology, 
Comparative Ethics, 
Chinese Philosophy

Recent Publications
  1. Wong, DB, Responses to Snow, Miller, and Seok , Dao: a journal of comparative philosophy (October, 2017), pp. 1-8 [doi]
  2. Wong, DB, The Excitement of Crossing Boundaries, Journal of World Philosophies, vol. 2 no. Summer 2017 (June, 2017), pp. 149-155, Indiana University Press [abs]
  3. Wong, DB, DIgnity in Confucian and Buddhist Thought, in Dignity A History, edited by Debes, R (June, 2017), Oxford University Press, ISBN 0190677546 [abs]
  4. Wong, DB, Institutional Structures and Idealism of Character, Philosophy East and West: a quarterly of comparative philosophy, vol. 67 no. 1 (2017), pp. 25-36 [doi]
  5. Wong, DB, Xunzi's Metaethics, in Dao Companion to the Philosophy of Xunzi, edited by Hutton, EL, vol. 7 (November, 2016), pp. 139-164, Springer, ISBN 9401777454 [abs]

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