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Democracy and Confucian Values

From: Philosophy East and West
Volume 53, Number 1, January 2003
pp. 39-63 | 10.1353/pew.2003.0007


This essay considers a number of proposals for liberal political democracy in East Asian societies, and some of the critical responses such proposals have attracted from political philosophers and from East Asian intellectuals and leaders. These proposals may well be ill-suited to the distinctive traditional values of societies claiming a Confucian inheritance. Offered here instead is a pragmatist- and Confucian-inspired vision of participatory democracy in civic life that is possibly better able to address the problem of conserving and continuing these traditional values through times of economic and social change.