Well-being in Asia
This chapter presents evidence about the central principles and values of political conceptions of well-being in countries in East, South, West and Central Asia. First, traditional Confucian, Daoist, Hindu and Arabic conceptions of the good are discussed, and areas of overlap with other ethical theories are explored. Next, the national constitutions of a selection of countries are examined, and findings from the World Values Survey give a broad view of mass priorities in different regions. In the midst of great surface-level diversity, common threads emerge from the various philosophical traditions and modern socio-political settings. Communitarian values are widespread: the centrality of social and community relationships in the good life is expressed in multiple ways. Protection of cultural heritage and participation in cultural life are ubiquitous features of the constitutions. This may be interpreted as the good of belonging to a social group with whom one shares identities, interests and ends. A final theme to emerge is the good of contemplation and connection to a “higher” dimension of meaning and value, sometimes achieved through religious and spiritual practices. In sum, Social relationships, Cultural participation, and the Contemplative life are common features of the ethical traditions discussed in this chapter.
KeywordsValues Well-being Asia Communitarian values
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