Human Rights and Social Work: Philosophical and Ethical Reflections on a Possible Dialogue between East Asia and the West

Ethics and Social Welfare 5 (4):331-347 (2011)
Abstract
The ?West? is inclined to blame Asian countries, especially China, for its disrespect of human rights without looking at it's own record of human rights violations! This makes a fair dialogue very difficult till improbable. Social work on the international level can't avoid this dialogue if it wants to live up to its internationally consensual documents which all refer to human rights. The thesis of this article is, that it will only succeed, if it clarifies some philosophical and ethical premisses of so-called ?western? and ?oriental/asian? thinking. Thus, the article tries to show that concepts of ?holism?, ?atomism/individualism? and ?systemic thinking? might be helpful for a ?rejonder? and discussion platform for the analysis of different modes of thinking about ethical issues. A systemic approach tries to avoid the problematic and combine the positive aspects of individualistic and holistic approaches. An example for this combination is the ?Asian Human Rights Charter: A People's Charter? of 1998 which doesn't divide the freedom and participatory versus social rights, a divide which is typical ? and problematic ? for the western version.
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    Jane Addams (1902). Democracy and Social Ethics. University of Illinois Press (2002).
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