Valuing Diversity

Buddhist Reflection on Realizing a More Equitable Global Future

By Peter D. Hershock

Subjects: Philosophy, Buddhism, Comparative Philosophy, Ethics, Diversity
Paperback : 9781438444581, 338 pages, July 2013
Hardcover : 9781438444598, 338 pages, December 2012

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Table of contents

1. Toward a New Paradigm of Difference
2. Variety and Diversity: Two Qualities and Directions of Difference
3. Time Differences: The Changing Nature of Change
4. Writing Histories, Making Differences
5. The Commodification of Difference: Media and the Emerging Attention Economy
6. Ethics and Differentiation: Turning Away from the Same
7. Convergence on Variety: Modern Irony, Postmodern Ideal
8. Delinking Equity and Equality
9. Diversity and Equity: Global Relational Commons and Global Public Good
10. Making a Difference: Toward a New Structure of Feeling
Epilogue: The Next Step?
Bibliography of Works Cited

Uses Buddhist philosophy to discuss diversity as a value, one that can contribute to equity in a globalizing world.


Diversity matters. Whether in the context of ecosystems, education, the workplace, or politics, diversity is now recognized as a fact and as something to be positively affirmed. But what is the value of diversity? What explains its increasing significance? Valuing Diversity is a groundbreaking response to these questions and to the contemporary global dynamics that make them so salient.

Peter D. Hershock examines the changes of the last century to show how the successes of Western-style modernity and industrially-powered markets have, ironically, coupled progressive integration and interdependence with the proliferation of political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental differences. Global predicaments like climate change and persistent wealth inequalities compel recognition that we are in the midst of an era-defining shift from the primacy of the technical to that of the ethical. Yet, neither modern liberalism nor its postmodern critiques have offered the resources needed to address such challenges.

Making use of Buddhist and ecological insights, Valuing Diversity develops a qualitatively rich conception of diversity as an emerging value and global relational commons, forwarding an ethics of interdependence and responsive virtuosity that opens prospects for a paradigm shift in our pursuits of equity, freedom, and democratic justice.

Peter D. Hershock is Director of the Asian Studies Development Program at the East-West Center in Honolulu. He has published several books, including Buddhism in the Public Sphere: Reorienting Global Interdependence and Reinventing the Wheel: A Buddhist Response to the Information Age, also published by SUNY Press.


"…as a theoretical undertaking, the book is entirely successful. The arguments for change and the sorts of conceptualizations that are employed in these arguments are timely and well-presented, making this work an important contribution to the growing conversation about the need for a perspective that … responsibly deals with emerging issues and predicaments in our global and interdependent world. On the whole, this is a valuable book and an important step towards bridging the gap between academic arguments and contemporary predicaments. " — Philosophy East & West

"…Hershock has written an important book. The book impressively achieves its primary aim: to show why diversity poses one of the greatest challenges of our time, and to begin laying the philosophical/conceptual groundwork for a global future where diversity is indeed deeply valued. " — Journal of Value Inquiry