WANG Xueshi (王薛时) joined HSS in 2021. Before that, he was a fellow in the Department of Philosophy at Harvard University (2018-2020). He has published in a diverse range of ethical subfields, including axiology, normative ethics, applied ethics, and political philosophy. His current research interests concern moral aggregation and its applications to public policy. 


I am interested in ethics and political theory. Thematically, my research program utilizes moral principles to understand the normative role of numbers in the context of conflict situations.

There is a long-lasting debate about the normative role of numbers on moral decisions in conflict situations where not all claims or interests can be perfectly satisfied. Consider a hypothetical choice between saving a group of m people and saving a group of n people (m>n) but not both. Assume, as most researchers have done, that there is no morally relevant difference among them, and there is no special tie between the agent charged with the task of determining whom to save and any of these potential recipients. Most proponents of non-consequentialism argue that, allegedly without any aggregation of individuals’ claims or interests, m instead of n should be saved. I attempt to defend the view that it is morally permissible to save the few. Specifically, I argue that, when it comes to deciding which of non-overlapping groups of people is to receive a scarce indivisible good, a random selection procedure (flipping a coin, for example) should be used to distribute the good in question for the reason that giving each individual an equal chance is required by the moral value of fairness.

Within this context, my research examines the relationship between the normative role of numbers and fairness, including: 

l Considering whether numbers should count in conflict situations where individuals involved do not have claims to the good under allocation.

l Investigating the requirements of fairness and its normative implication for conflict situations where individuals involved have equal or unequal claims to the good under allocation.

l Scrutinizing whether the requirements of fairness could contribute a solution to the Number Problem.

l Exploring the possibility that there is a more fundamental idea underlying the value of fairness and its implication for the normative role of numbers. 


l Monograph & Book Chapter

Xueshi WangMoral Choices: Numbers, Fairness and Minimizing Harm. Beijing: Tsinghua University Press, forthcoming. 

Xueshi Wang (2016). Environmental Education Volume, Guangyao Zhu and Sai Zhang (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Ecological Civilization Construction. Nanchang: Jiangxi Science and Technology Press.

l Peer Reviewed Articles

Xueshi Wang (2022). “Saving Lives and Moral Decisions.” Morality and Civilization, 2022(04), 63-70.

Xueshi Wang (2022). “Intentions and The Justice of Lotteries.” Universitas: Monthly Review of Philosophy and Culture (A&HCI), 49(1), 159-175. DOI: 10.7065/MRPC.

Xueshi Wang (2021). “Saving Lives: For the Best Outcome?” Philosophia (A&HCI, SJR Q1), 50(1), 337-351. DOI: 10.1007/s11406-021-00355-1.

Xueshi Wang (2021). “The Fairness of Ventilator Allocation During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Bioethics (A&HCI, SSCI, SJR Q1), 36(6)715-723. DOI: 10.1111/bioe.12955.

Xueshi Wang (2021). “On Moral Indifference.” Philosophical Trends, 2021(3), 80-87.

Xueshi Wang (2021). “Saving Lives, Lotteries, and the Role of Fairness in Ventilator Allocation During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Journal of Dialectics of Nature, 43(10), 1-9.

Xueshi Wang (2016). “On Rationalism: A Brief Review of Immaterial Economy.” Tangdu Journal, 32(5), 126-128.

l Translation

Xueshi Wang (2019). “Should the Numbers Count?” Philosophical Analysis, (10)4, 136-198.

Xueshi Wang (2016). “World Philosophy and Climate Change: A Sino-German Way to Civil Evolution.” Philosophical Analysis, (7)4, 73-88.

Xueshi Wang (2016). “Nussbaum on the Life and Work of Philosopher Hilary Putnam.” Social Sciences Weekly, (2016)1502: 07.