In his Confucian Perfectionism, Joseph Chan observes that Confucianism from its inception has suffered from a severe discrepancy between its strong and resilient regulative ideals and a persistent pattern of traditionally weak social and governmental institutions and their practices. To overcome this historical disparity, Chan argues that contemporary Confucians should draw upon Western liberal institutions to the extent that they can provide effective measures of governance. At the same time these modern democratic resources should be modified in such a way and to the extent needed to keep alive the compelling spirit of the Confucian ideal. While I, too, want to advocate for a Confucian democracy, I think this effort has to be guided by a philosophically clear understanding of the several “ideas” or “ideals” that are at issue: “Confucianism,” “Perfectionism,” and “Democracy.”


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pp. 61-81
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