New Book: O’Dwyer, Confucianism’s Prospects

SUNY Press has published Shaun O’Dwyer, Confucianism’s Prospects: A Reassessment. SUNY’s website is here.

The publisher’s blurb: In Confucianism’s Prospects, Shaun O’Dwyer offers a rare critical engagement with English-language scholarship on Confucianism. Against the background of historical and sociological research into the rapid modernization of East Asian societies, O’Dwyer reviews several key Confucian ethical ideas and proposals for East Asian alternatives to liberal democracy that have emerged from this scholarship. He also puts the following question to Confucian scholars: what prospects do those ideas and proposals have in East Asian societies in which liberal democracy and pluralism are well established, and individualization and declining fertility are impacting deeply upon family life? In making his case, O’Dwyer draws upon the neglected work of Japanese philosophers and intellectuals who were witnesses to Japan’s pioneering East Asian modernization and protagonists in the rise and disastrous wartime fall of its own modernized Confucianism. He contests a sometimes Sinocentric and ahistorical conception of East Asian societies as “Confucian societies,” while also recognizing that Confucian traditions can contribute importantly to global philosophical dialogue and to civic and religious life.

6 replies on “New Book: O’Dwyer, Confucianism’s Prospects”

    • Bin Song-Of course, please do. Perhaps you could contact an appropriate philosophy/East Asian studies journal first to pitch your book review idea to, and they can get in touch with SUNY Press for you.

  1. You are so kind, Shaun! At least I will try to get a copy myself and look through it. You know, I am interested in the topic of inter-continental transition of Ruism for a long time.

    • Well I think you will find interesting the Chapter 4 discussion of the very positive impression some conservative 18th century British divines had of Confucian practices of filial piety, at least as they understood them from contemporary travelers’ and missionaries’ writings. One such theologian, Patrick Delany was a close friend of Samuel Richardson, who printed his books, and there is an arguable thread of continuity between Delany’s Chinese-inspired discussions of filial duty and the rather grim treatment of filial piety in Richardson’s novel “Clarissa”.

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