Dr SIN, Wai Lam William   冼偉林
Assistant Professor
Department of International Education
Phone No: (852) 2948 6133
Email: wwlsin@eduhk.hk
Contact
ORCiD
0000-0001-5838-2708
Phone
(852) 2948 6133
Email
wwlsin@eduhk.hk
Address
10 Lo Ping Road, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong
Scopus ID
35301004500
Research Interest

Moral philosophy, more specifically consequentialism, moral relativism, Nietzsche and morality, and exploration of the ethical status of the characters in the Water Margin (an ancient Chinese novel).

Research Interest

Moral philosophy, more specifically consequentialism, moral relativism, Nietzsche and morality, and exploration of the ethical status of the characters in the Water Margin (an ancient Chinese novel).

Selected Output

Scholarly Books, Monographs and Chapters
Chapter in an edited book (author)
William Sin (2020). Filial Piety, Zhixing and The Water Margin. In Lewin, D., & Kenklies, K, East Asian Pedagogies: Education as Trans-/formation Across Cultures and Borders (11-24). Switzerland: Springer
William Sin (2016). "Compensated Dating: An Ethical Analysis". Betty Yung and Kam-Por Yu (Eds.), Ethical Dilemmas in Public Policy: The Dynamics of Social Values (49-61). Singapore: Springer
William Sin (2015). "The Water Margin, Moral Degradation, and the Virtue of Zhixing". In C. M. Lam & J. Park (Eds.), Sociological and philosophical perspectives on education in the Asia-Pacific region (51-65). Singapore: Springer
冼偉林 (2012)。 人道援助。輯於莫家棟、余錦波和陳浩文編, 《社會倫理通識》 (頁207-212)。香港: 牛津大學出版社
冼偉林 (2012)。 婚外情。輯於莫家棟、余錦波和陳浩文編, 《社會倫理通識》 (頁21-27)。香港: 牛津大學出版社
冼偉林 (2012)。 援交。輯於莫家棟、余錦波和陳浩文編, 《社會倫理通識》 (頁266-271)。香港: 牛津大學出版社
冼偉林 (2012)。 網絡侵權。輯於莫家棟、余錦波和陳浩文編, 《社會倫理通識》 (頁183-189)。香港: 牛津大學出版社
冼偉林 (2012)。 賣淫。輯於莫家棟、余錦波和陳浩文編, 《社會倫理通識》 (頁52-57)。香港: 牛津大學出版社
Edited book (editor)
李傑江、鄧兆鴻、冼偉林和胡少偉(編 ) (2003)。 江蘇省教委推行素質教育的經驗。香港: 港澳兒童教育國際協會

Journal Publications
Publication in refereed journal
William Sin (2022). Modesty, Confucianism, and Active Indifference. Educational Philosophy and Theory, xxx, xxx-xxx Doi:10.1080/00131857.2022.2082939.
William Sin (2022). Bruce Lee and the Trolley Problem: An Analysis from an Asian Martial Arts Tradition. Sports, Ethics and Philosophy. DOI:10.1080/17511321.2020.1866055. 16(1), 81-95
Sin, William (2021). If Confucius met Scanlon: Understanding filial piety from Confucianism and Contractualism. doi.org/10.1111/phc3.12792. Philosophy Compass, 16(12), e12792
William Sin (2020). Esoteric Confucianism, Moral Dilemmas, and Filial Piety. Metaphilosophy, 51, 206-225
William Sin (2019). Confucianism, Rule-consequentialism, and the Demands of Filial Obligations . Journal of Religious Ethics, 47(2), 377-393
William Sin (2019). Adult Children's Obligations towards their Parents: A Contractualist Explanation.. The Journal of Value Inquiry, 53 (1), 19-32
William Sin (2018). Wu Song's Killing of his Sister-in-law: An Ethical Analysis. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy, 17 (2), 231-246
William Sin (2017). Water Margin, Moral Criticism, and Cultural Confrontation. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy, 16 (1), 95-111
冼偉林 (2016). 瀕死經驗的解釋及其在哲學上的限制. 中外醫學哲學, 14 (2), 51-56
William Sin (2016). Caring for Parents: A Consequentialist Approach. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy: A European Journal, 19 (1), 3-10
William Sin (2013). The Demandingness of Confucianism in the Case of Long-Term Caregiving. Asian Philosophy, 23 (2), 166-179
William Sin (2012). Internalization and Moral Demands. Philosophical Studies, 157(2), 163-175
William Sin (2010). Trivial sacrifices, Great Demands. Journal of Moral Philosophy, 7(1), 3-15.

Conference Papers
Refereed conference paper
William Sin (2018, 6). Filial Obligation, Zhixing and the Importance of Morality. Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy 50th Annual Conference, Krakow, Poland
William Sin (2017, 4). Wu Song’s Killing of his Sister-in-law: An Ethical Analysis. Singapore-Hong Kong-Macau Symposium on Chinese Philosophy 2017, Macau, China
William Sin (2016, 7). Caring for Parents: A Contractualist Approach. The 14th Conference of the International Society for Utilitarian Studies (ISUS XIV), Lille, France
William Sin (2016, 1). Bruce Lee, Zhixing, and the Trolley Problem: Cultivating the Right Response in the Desperate Moment. In pursuit of wisdom: Ancient Chinese and Greek perspectives on cultivation, Sydney
William Sin (2014, 8). "Caring for Parents: A Rule-Consequentialist Approach". The 13th Conference of the International Society for Utilitarian Studies ( ISUS XIII) , Yokohama, Japan
William Sin (2013, 4). “On Indefinite Ethics: The Unknowable Limits of Demands” . 7th Annual Felician Ethics Conference, New Jersey, USA
William Sin (2012, 4). "The Moral World of the Water Margin". 8th Annual Midwest Conference on Chinese Thought, Bloomington, Indiana, USA
William Sin (2011, 6). "Consequentialism, Contractualism and the Demands of Long-Term Caregiving". The 11th Conference of the International Society for Utilitarian Studies (ISUS XI), Lucca, Italy
William Sin (2011, 5). "The Moral Demands of Long-Terms Caregiving in an Aging Population". The Tenth East-West Philosophers' Conference, Hawaii, USA
Sin, W. L. W. (2008, 9). Internalization and moral demands. Paper presented at the 10th Conference of the International Society for Utilitarian Studies, Berkeley, USA

Project

Filial Obligations: Confucianism and Beyond
This project studies the nature of filial obligation from the perspectives of Confucianism. It builds bridges between Confucianism and other normative theories, such as Consequentialism and Contractualism. As a result, the project will strengthen the theoretical structure of Confucian ethics with considerations from the two analytic theories. The analytic theories (Consequentialism and Contractualism) will also be benefited by the rich observations of parent-child relation from the Confucian tradition.
Project Start Year: 2019, Principal Investigator(s): SIN, Wai Lam William 冼偉林
 
Wu Song, Bruce Lee, and the Trolley Problem
Wu Song is a major character in the novel of the Water Margin. In the novel, Wu Song has the virtue of being able to act in a straightforward manner in times of desperation.
Bruce Lee is probably the most important martial artist. He is the founder of Jeet Kune Do – a school of fighting. He proposes that the traditional, fixed style of fighting will mislead the practitioner of martial arts. The best strategy to fight, he argues, is to adopt a simple and straightforward approach. And the combatant should be prepared to die if he desires to win or survive in a fight. Now, in my propose project, I argue that it is possible to identify a list of virtues from Wu Song and the teaching of Bruce Lee in response to the dilemma arising from the case of the Trolley Problem.

The Trolley Problem presents a moral dilemma, and has received wide attention in the field of moral philosophy in the last few decades. In the case, a runaway trolley lost control, and was rushing downhill, threatening the lives of five persons. A bystander could save the five by diverting the trolley onto a sidetrack; however, he would inevitably sacrifice the one person who could not escape from the sidetrack. The mainstream analyses of the Trolley Problem have been focusing on explaining the condition of moral permissibility for the agent to proceed in the scenario. I believe that it has omitted an important phenomenal aspect in the case. – That is the stressing nature of the scenario and the trauma which the bystander may experience if he decides to act to kill the innocent person (in order to save the five).

I believe that through my analyses of Wu Song’s moral character in the Water Margin, and of Bruce Lee’s philosophy of combat, I will be able to identify a list of virtues, which explain how an agent can act well in the case of Trolley. This will fill in a gap which has been overlooked by the major discussants of the Trolley Problem in Western analytic moral philosophy.

Project Start Year: 2015, Principal Investigator(s): SIN, Wai Lam William 冼偉林
 
Consequentialism, Contractualism, and the Demands of Filial Obligations
What would we do if our parents fell ill and became dependent on us on a long-term basis? How far does morality require adult children to make sacrifices on behalf of their parents? In this project, I will answer these questions by illustrating an explanation of the nature of filial obligations in the case of long-term caregiving. I believe that a good explanation will have to fulfill three criteria. First, the explanation should tell us about the strength of filial obligation in relation to the
demands of other obligations. Second, as the demands of long-term caregiving may have an indefinite nature, we should be able to determine the circumstances in which adult children are morally permitted to stop assisting their parents. Third, the explanation should be sensitive to cultural diversities and expectations regarding the provision of filial care.

In the literature, we may find discussions regarding the nature of filial obligation in analytic philosophy. There is a range of “analogy-based views”, including the debt theory, the gratitude theory, the friendship theory, and special goods theory, etc. However, in the proposed research, we will review these theories and leave them to oneside, because they cannot fulfill the above-mentioned criteria.

The proposed research will focus on the implications of two normative theories, namely,Consequentialism and Contractualism. According to Consequentialism, adult children have strong duties to support their parents if their general compliance with this rule promotes the overall good. According to Contractualism, adult children have strong filial duties if their caregiving actions involve a moral principle that no one can reasonably reject.

Consequentialism and Contractualism can provide explanations of filial obligation from an overall profile of an ethical framework; they allow us to assess the strength of filial obligation in relation to the obligations of other demands, generate reasons for adult children to resist the potentially limitless requirements of long-term caregiving, and may prescribe different moral codes to people living under different cultural circumstances.

Project Start Year: 2015, Principal Investigator(s): SIN, Wai Lam William 冼偉林
 
Filial Morality: East and West
How far does morality require adult children to make sacrifices on behalf of their aging parents? In this project, I will demonstrate how we may respond to this question by drawing reference to rule-consequentialism, Contractualism, and Confucianism. By using these ethical theories to explain the demands of filial obligations, I believe that we may analyse the strength of reason from various perspectives, and can learn about the demands of filial obligations versus those of other aspects of the adult children’s lives. I think this approach is superior to specific accounts of filial obligations, such as the debt theory, the gratitude theory, the friendship theory, and the special goods theory. These accounts may tell us about the nature of filial obligations, but are weak in explaining the level of moral demands which filial obligations will impose on agents.
Project Start Year: 2014, Principal Investigator(s): SIN, Wai Lam William 冼偉林
 
The Ethics of Zen
Zen is a branch of Buddhist Philosophy. All Buddhist thoughts talk about ways for an agent to live a good life. A good life, or a life with Eudaimonia, from the Buddhist point of view, is a life in which the agent is free of suffering, a life in which the agent will no longer cause suffering to himself.
Zen distinguishes itself from other Buddhist schools in the way that it does not encourage practitioners to follow certain ascetic practices; in fact, it discourages even sitting meditation, which has been a distinctive Buddhist practice over a thousand years.
Zen teaches the practitioners how to live fully the ordinary life which they have been living. So, instead of regular practice of sitting meditation or other disciplinary practices, the Zen practitioners are more like poets than monks, who gather gems of wisdom from the “garden” of their own living environment.
In recent decades, the Anglo-American intellectual world begins to absorb and develop a number of themes from the ancient Chinese and Japanese Zen traditions. In my research, I would like to see what exactly we may learn from Zen as an ethical theory, what criteria of moral rightness and wrongness we may derive from its teaching, and if it may provide us with a kind of virtue theory, how it may differ from, e.g., the Aristotelian concept of virtue, etc.
My work will involve three parts. First, the reading and summarizing of the traditional scriptures from the Buddhist and Zen schools; second, the studies and selection of research articles in regard to Zen from recent Anglo-American analytic theorists; third, the actual elaboration of the ethical substance of Zen, according to my interpretation.

Project Start Year: 2014, Principal Investigator(s): SIN, Wai Lam William 冼偉林