David Wong, ex officio
David Wong is the Susan Fox Beischer and George D. Beischer Professor of Philosophy. Before he came to Duke, he was the Harry Austryn Wolfson Professor of Philosophy at Brandeis University and the John M. Findlay Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Boston University.
The main subjects of his research include 1) the nature and extent of moral differences and similarities across and within societies and how these differences and similarities bear on questions about the objectivity and universality of morality; 2) the attempt to understand morality naturalistically as arising from the attempt of human beings to structure their cooperation and to convey to each other what kinds of lives they have found to be worth living; 3) the nature of conflicts between basic moral values and how these give rise to moral differences across and within societies; 4) how we attempt to deal with such conflicts in moral deliberation; 5) the relevance of comparative philosophy, especially Chinese-Western (Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism) comparative philosophy, to the above subjects; 6) whether our reasons to feel and act are based solely on what we already desire or whether reasons transcend what we desire and are used to critically evaluate and shape our desires; and 7) the extent to which a person’s recognizing that she has reasons to feel and act in certain ways can enter into the constitution of her emotions and change those emotions.
His books include Moral Relativity (University of California Press, 1984) and Natural Moralities (Oxford University Press, 2006). He co-edited with Kwong-loi Shun Confucian Ethics: a Comparative Study of Self, Autonomy and Community (Cambridge University Press, 2004).
Wong is co-director with Owen Flanagan of the Center for Comparative Philosophy at Duke. He is currently a member-at-large of the Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association.
He received his BA from Macalester College and his PhD from Princeton University.
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