Title: The Division of Educational Labour Between Confucian Education and Political Liberalism
Speaker: Baldwin Wong
Date: 3 May 2019 (Friday)
Venue: Center for East Asian and Comparative Philosophy (Room 4433, Mong Man Wai Building)
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A political liberal government must be supported by just citizens, but how should the just citizens be educated? Political liberals have offered two answers: (i) the government cultivates people to be ethically autonomous, and (ii) the government teaches people civic virtues by freestanding citizenship curriculum. This paper rejects both answers. (i) would cause sectarianism because it inevitably assumes a comprehensive liberal doctrine. (ii) is incomplete because, although the citizenship curriculum is not tied to any comprehensive doctrines, it is unclear why citizens should value civic virtues over comprehensive moral virtues. I offer the third solution. While the government keeps neutral and offers citizenship curriculum that teaches civic virtues, the cultural groups in the civil society promote comprehensive moral virtues that can strengthen civic virtues. By delegating some educational burdens to cultural groups, the government avoids sectarianism but still enjoys the support from just citizens motivated by comprehensive moral virtues. furthermore, by discussing Huang Zongxi’s Waiting for the Dawn, I suggest a form of Confucian “school” that educates people to develop a sense of vigilance and a willingness to engage in public deliberation. This example shows that the role of cultural groups in civic education should not be underestimated.