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Global Justice without Self-centrism: Tianxia in Dialogue on Mount Uisan

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This article tackles the theories of global justice whose “Chinese-style” cosmopolitanism is espoused by the notion of tianxia 天下. Specifically, I first examine the Chinese-style cosmopolitanism driven by the reinterpretation of tianxia. In doing so, I claim that it retains the very fallacy that can be found in liberal cosmopolitanism in failing to provide us with a regulative principle through which different justifications for justice can be steered toward a democratic deliberation between states. Second, through analyzing Dialogue on Mount Uisan (Uisanmundap 醫山問答) by Hong Daeyong 洪大容 (1731–1783), I explore an alternative conception of tianxia in which all countries are placed on an equal footing rather than in a hierarchy. Finally, putting forward the ethics of differences in Dialogue on Mount Uisan, I will suggest a principle of reciprocity in which non-domination as a regulative principle can help better establish a discursive stance between states without a central hegemon.

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This work was supported by the Humanities and Social Sciences Grant funded by the Ministry of Education in China (Grant Number: 17YJA720001).

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Correspondence to Jun-Hyeok Kwak.

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Kwak, JH. Global Justice without Self-centrism: Tianxia in Dialogue on Mount Uisan. Dao 20, 289–307 (2021).

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