Volume 12, 2001
Justice from an Eastern Perspective
Field and Focus
I will take David Hall and Roger Ames’s idea of “field and focus”—each unique individual is a unique focus in the communal field—as a central theme of the East Asian way of dealing with the relationship between the community and its constituent members. The pairing of these two concepts suggests the essential mutuality of the communal involvement of every person and the “insistent particularity” of each person. The worth of each individual becomes manifest only if the “egocentered” self yields to the “selfless” self. An East Asian sense of justice thereby acquires the sense of attention to each unique focus (particular individual) in the field (community). Liberty and human rights are thus ineluctably bound up with a sense of communal responsibility.