Category Archives: Political Theory

New Book: Harris, Shenzi Fragments

Columbia University Press has also published Eirik Harris’s outstanding study of the Shenzi fragments — congratulations, Eirik!

Eirik Lang Harris, The Shenzi Fragments: A Philosophical Analysis and Translation (Columbia University Press, 2016)

Read on for details on the book, as well as a code that can be used for a 30% discount on the book.

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Did Confucius think our virtues are contagious?

Did Confucius think that if one of us has general virtue, or some particular virtue such as courage or filial piety, that general or particular virtue will have a substantial tendency to spread directly to the people around her, even if she holds no government position?

Here I’ll survey Confucius’ statements in the Analects and conclude that the answer is No. Confucius probably did not hold that view.  (I gave the opposite reading in both my published papers on Chinese philosophy.)

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Sungmoon Kim, Public Reason Confucianism now available

Kim, PRC coverSungmoon Kim’s new book, Public Reason Confucianism: Democratic Perfectionism and Constitutionalism in East Asia (Cambridge, 2016) has just been published. Congratulations, Sungmoon! Here are links to the CUP website and Amazon. Cambridge has also made available a form that anyone can use to get a 25% discount; click here. Here is the book’s description:

Recent proposals concerning Confucian meritocratic perfectionism have justified Confucian perfectionism in terms of political meritocracy. In contrast, ‘Confucian democratic perfectionism’ is a form of comprehensive Confucian perfectionism that can accommodate a plurality of values in civil society. It is also fully compatible with core values of democracy such as popular sovereignty, political equality, and the right to political participation. Sungmoon Kim presents ‘public reason Confucianism’ as the most attractive option for contemporary East Asian societies that are historically and culturally Confucian. Public reason Confucianism is a particular style of Confucian democratic perfectionism in which comprehensive Confucianism is connected with perfectionism via a distinctive form of public reason. It calls for an active role for the democratic state in promoting a Confucian conception of the good life, at the heart of which are such core Confucian values as filial piety and ritual propriety.

El Amine and Symposium on Bell in Perspectives on Politics

The new issue of Perspectives on Politics (14:1, March 2016), available here, contains several articles of interest:

  • Loubna El Amine, “Beyond East and West: Reorienting Political Theory through the Prism of Modernity”
  • An extended discussion of Daniel Bell’s The China Model, with articles by Baogang He, Victoria Tin-bor Hui, Leigh Jenco, Andrew Nathan, Lynette Ong, Thomas Pangle, and Joseph Wang.

New Book: Jenco, Changing Referents

I am happy to announce the publication of Leigh Jenco’s new book; congratulations!

L9780190263812eigh Jenco, Changing Referents: Learning Across Space and Time in China and the West (Oxford University Press, 2015): 304 Pages; ISBN: 9780190263812

Globalization has brought together otherwise disparate communities with distinctive and often conflicting ways of viewing the world.  Yet even as these phenomena have exposed the culturally specific character of the academic theories used to understand them, most responses to this ethnocentricity fall back on the same parochial vocabulary they critique. Against those who insist our thinking must return always to the dominant terms of Euro-American modernity, I argue and demonstrate that methods for understanding cultural others can take theoretical guidance from those very bodies of thought typically excluded by political and social theory.

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El Amine Reviews Kim, Confucian Democracy in East Asia

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2015.02.31 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Sungmoon Kim, Confucian Democracy in East Asia: Theory and Practice, Cambridge University Press, 2014, 321pp., $29.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781107641211.

Reviewed by Loubna El Amine, Georgetown University

Sungmoon Kim’s book offers an important and passionate defense of democracy, especially as it applies to East Asian countries. It moves the current debate on the topic from the question of whether democracy is relevant to, and compatible with, the East Asian context, to the question of “the particular mode of Confucian democracy” that is suitable for East Asia (247). In other words, the starting premise of Kim’s inquiry is the simple fact that democracy does already exist in that part of the world, including in South Korea, Taiwan, and (“arguably,” according to Kim), in Hong Kong (247). The question then is, what form of democracy does, will, and should work in East Asia?

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