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CONNECTING HARMONY AND JUSTICE: LESSONS FROMFEMINIST PHILOSOPHY

Recent years have shown a rise of English-language scholarship exploring the relation between the Chinese concept of harmony and the Western concept of justice. This paper reconstructs the influential contemporary views on this relation advanced by Li Chenyang and Li Zehou and critically analyzes the implications of their proposal to understand harmony and justice as compatible or even mutually enhancing concepts. The paper tries to show that there are important normative—feminist—reasons against assuming all-too quickly that harmony and justice are compatible. Justice may have to be rigorously revised if it is to be compatible with harmony because justice, at least in its Rawlsian appearance, is dependent on a problematic public/private split as well as presupposes a form of interpretation and judgment that differs fundamentally from that which harmony advances. The paper proposes an intellectual partnership between contemporary Confucianism and feminist political theory and ethics of care for the purposes of rethinking justice such that it incorporates profound commitments to diversity and care.

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