Elton Yeo


This paper builds on the debate between Confucianism and human rights first sparked by the Bangkok Declaration of 1993. I show that there is indeed a conflict between Confucianism and human rights, which on the broader level, can be characterized as the conflict between communitarianism and liberalism. These are two particular traditions and in spite of the conflict between them, I show that they can come to complement each other through an intercultural dialogue. The idea of an intercultural dialogue is a response to the inadequate responses of liberals to the fact of multiculturalism, which is a broader implication of the liberalism vs. communitarianism debate. In this regard, I argue that an intercultural dialogue can ensure fairness. In addition, the intercultural dialogue also sustains traditions, and ultimately, is able to produce a truly universal foundation for human rights through a shared understanding of "human universals".

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