WANG Xueshi(王薛时)


WANG Xueshi(王薛时)


Education Background:
B.A. Henan University of Urban Construction
M.A. East China Normal University
Ph.D. Tsinghua University
Joint Ph.D. Harvard University
Office Address

Zhixin 215


Contemporary Moral Philosophy and Political Theory

Research List

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.