Category Archives: Comparative Political Theory

Winston Reviews Kim, Democracy After Virtue

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2019.07.20 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Sungmoon Kim, Democracy After Virtue: Toward Pragmatic Confucian Democracy, Oxford University Press, 2018, 255pp., $74.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780190671235.

Reviewed by Kenneth Winston, Harvard University

As Asian countries reclaim their former prominence on the world stage, many Asian scholars are engaged in an ardent effort to respond to the new reality by reexamining basic political principles. The effort is not only academic or philosophical; it is deeply moral — an effort to preserve what is of value in one’s own culture or tradition while adapting to new geopolitical circumstances and engaging in new relationships. Sungmoon Kim is a member in good standing of an international group of scholars who join this intellectual conversation with the general aim of reconciling Confucianism and democracy — with an agenda and vocabulary taken primarily from contemporary English-language analytic philosophy. While written at a fairly abstract level, this book can be read as a search for identity or self-understanding in an evolving world.

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Book: The Global Encyclopedia of Informality

 

While scouring the web for freebies this morning, I came across something that may be of interest to many readers here: The Global Encyclopedia of Informality, University College London, 2018, in two volumes.

http://oapen.org/search?identifier=642570;keyword=informality

 

Here’s the table of contents for Volume 1:

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Book Symposium on Kim, Public Reason Confucianism

The latest issue of the Journal of Social Philosophy includes a Book Symposium on Sungmoon Kim’s Public Reason Confucianism (Cambridge, 2016):

  • Joseph Chan, Public Reason Confucianism Without Foundation?
  • Baldwin Wong, A Non‐Sectarian Comprehensive Confucianism?—On Kim’s Public Reason Confucianism
  • Franz Mang, Why Public Reason Could Not Be Too Modest: The Case of Public Reason Confucianism
  • Stephen C. Angle, Does Confucian Public Reason Depend on Confucian Civil Religion?
  • Sungmoon Kim, In Defense of Public Reason Confucianism: Reply to Chan, Mang, Wong, and Angle

New “Elements” Series on Comparative Political Theory

Leigh Jenco is the series editor for a new series at Cambridge Univeristy Press that adopts their novel “elements” approach. Leigh explains that an “element” is a “work of up to 30,000 words, is peer-reviewed, efficiently published, fully searchable and downloadable online with print-on-demand, and can be enhanced with images, videos, sound files, etc.” She adds that “the format is, in other words, combining the best features of books and journal articles at the same time. I think it is very well-suited to comparative philosophy and political theory, because it gives space to say more about background and context while also allowing the development of a substantive argument.” For more information, see here.

New episodes of The Issue is Not The Issue

The Issue is Not the Issue: A Podcast with Hans-Georg Moeller and Dan Sarafinas

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfs0MY7rs8J6jWlCdneoPVQ

 

Hans-Georg Moeller and Dan Sarafinas discuss contemporary debates on “political correctness” and related moral and social issues. They point to concepts such as virtue speech (“virtue signalling”), civil religion, “profilicity,” and the role of critique to better understand their nature.

 

Episode 3—Critique:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3W1m0Bez8vU

Philosophy today runs the risk of once more becoming the “handmaiden of theology” by being put in the service of civil religion. The Kantian concept of critique is revived to reflect on contemporary dogmatism and associated power structures that lead to phenomena such as “competitive wokeness” in entertainment (Taylor Swift) or the need to write “diversity statements” in academia. The idea of a therapeutic rather than a normative philosophy is suggested and it is explained how society, along with critique, evolves rather than progresses.

 

Episode 4—Profilicity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Yz1C0-mtWI

Why do we need to produce “virtue speech”? We need it to be competitive in society and to bolster our public profiles. A new profile-based identity paradigm, called “profilicity,” is on the rise. It is replacing other identity paradigms such as sincerity and authenticity and provides not only individuals but also institutions (political parties, companies, universities, etc.) with identity value.

New book: Heaven is Empty: A Cross-Cultural Approach to “Religion” and Empire in Ancient China by Filippo Marsili

SUMMARY

Heaven is Empty offers a new perspective on the relationship between religion and the creation of the first Chinese empires. Heaven Is Empty offers a new comparative perspective on the role of the sacred in the formation of China’s early empires (221 BCE–9 CE) and shows how the unification of the Central States was possible without a unitary and universalistic conception of religion.

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The Issue is Not the Issue: A Podcast with Hans-Georg Moeller and Dan Sarafinas

Hans-Georg Moeller and Dan Sarafinas discuss contemporary debates on “political correctness” and related moral and social issues. They point to concepts such as virtue speech (“virtue signalling”), civil religion, and the role of critique to better understand their nature.

Episode 1–Virtue Speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pg8H-b87Cs;

The phenomenon of virtue speech (“virtue signalling”) has become a central feature in recent outrage movements pervasive throughout the West. Virtue speech, which is implicitly tied to accusations of hate speech, is a form of moralistic discourse setting speech examples that make it difficult to openly discuss elements of our culture without falling into the trap of moralizing.

Episode 2–Civil Religion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EDEuXCPHOQ

Civil religion plays a central role in the virtue speech, or political correctness, discourse. The history of the concept is discussed as well as the structure of the American form of civil religion and how tenets of civil religion are constantly being performed and re-enacted, particularly in current social media outrage movements.