As turmoil and conflict become increasingly common, harmony has become absent in the general mindset of societies. In light of this vacuum in both philosophical and public discourse, this project aims to develop a theory of harmony that encompasses social, political, environmental, and philosophical dimensions, and which is rooted in the various rich cultural traditions of the world.
The theory of harmony aims to conceptualise Singapore’s achievements in social harmony, to provide a philosophical perspective for understanding identity formation and social integration in Singapore, and to offer a theoretical framework for its continuous success in the future. Such a theory could help to identify social forces that positively influence identity formation, and to achieve outcomes of unity in diversity, cohesion in complexity, and resilience in crises.
Various cultural traditions have developed different conceptions of harmony. For example, in Chinese traditions, the Daoist conception of harmony is more passive whereas the Confucian conception is more active. These findings are reported in two edited books. One is the edited volume “Harmony” to be published by Oxford University Press. This will be the first book that systematically studies harmony across world cultures by leading scholars in respective fields. This book will be published in paperback, hardcover, and e-copy. The other is the volume on “Harmony in Chinese Thought: A Philosophical Introduction” investigates these conceptions of harmony. Authors in this volume includes several prominent scholars on Chinese philosophy as well as young emerging scholars. This book is being published in paperback, hardcover, and e-copy by Rowman and Littlefield press.
In addition, various philosophical conceptions of harmony are explored in the special issue on “Harmony: East and West,” of the Journal of East-West Thought, an open-access journal.