Confucianism and Public Political Discussion

Comparative Political Theory 3 (2):154-168 (2023)
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Abstract

What role, if any, should Confucianism play in the politics of our time? In some of my previous works, I claimed that modern liberal states are not permitted to promote Confucian values on the basis of their intrinsic merits. Yet, drawing insights from Joseph Chan’s moderate state perfectionism and John Rawls’s wide view of public political culture, I proposed the “wide view of moderate perfectionism.” According to this view, in public political discussion, citizens should be allowed to deliberate whether and how Confucianism, among other reasonable moral doctrines, can make positive contributions to their social and political thinking and public policymaking, provided that certain conditions are met. This view has been criticized by some scholars, in particular Zhuoyao Li. Li argues that the practice of the wide view of moderate perfectionism would inevitably harm civility. In this article, I clarify and develop the wide view and respond to Li’s criticisms.

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Franz Mang
Chinese University of Hong Kong

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