Confucianism for the Modern World

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While Confucian ideals continue to inspire thinkers and political actors, discussions of Confucian practices and institutions appropriate for the modern era have been conspicuously absent. This volume discloses in meticulous detail the relevance of Confucianism to the contemporary world. Contributions by internationally renowned philosophers, lawyers, historians, and social scientists argue for feasible and desirable Confucian policies and institutions, as they draw out the political, economic, and legal implications of Confucianism for the modern world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Confucian core values humanity, sympathy, reciprocity, civility, responsibility, public-spiritedness, and communality provide the inspiration for this rich, subtle and thoughtful intellectual joint venture to offer a persuasive alternative to Western modernism. As a powerful critique of the Enlightenment mentality defined in terms of aggressive anthropocentrism, instrumental rationality and possessive individualism, this cutting-edge scholarly exploration of Confucian practical and institutional resources for democracy is an original and significant contribution to contemporary reflection on the human condition." Tu Weiming, Harvard University

"Confucianism has been declared dead and resurrected repeatedly—but rarely with sufficient attention to its concrete relevance for modern life. Here finally is a volume, written by the finest minds in the field, exploring the implications of Confucian 'affective communities' for modern politics (democracy), economics (capitalism), and the rue of law. The book will be warmly welcomed both by friends of Asian culture and by modern democrats seeking to find remedies for the ills of egocentrism and political and economic exploitation." Fred Dallmayr, University of Notre Dame

"The Confucian Analects instruct us that a teacher is one who can 'warm up the old so as to understand the new.' As interpreted by the contributors to Confucianism for the Modern World, this dictum does not mean to simply re-heat old platitudes, but to look with fresh eyes on the past and on the present, finding there inspiration for Confucian-style institutions and values that can contribute to a better future, both in East Asia and beyond. Ranging from democracy and education to social welfare and family law, the collection's scope, combined with the uniformly high quality of its challenging contents, mark Confucianism for the Modern World as an important milestone in world conversations about culture and institutions for the twenty-first century." Stephen Angle, Wesleyan University

"This is a fascinating set of essays for anyone interested in modern East Asian society."
John Berthrong, The Journal for Asian Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521821001
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/31/2003
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Contributing Authors
Editors' Note
Introduction: The Contemporary Relevance of Confucianism 1
1 Constitutionalism, Confucian Civic Virtue, and Ritual Propriety 31
2 The Challenge of Accountability: Implications of the Censorate 54
3 Confucian Democrats in Chinese History 69
4 Mutual Help and Democracy in Korea 90
5 A Pragmatist Understanding of Confucian Democracy 124
6 The Case for Moral Education 161
7 Center-Local Relations: Can Confucianism Boost Decentralization and Regionalism? 181
8 Affective Networks and Modernity: The Case of Korea 201
9 Confucian Constraints on Property Rights 218
10 Giving Priority to the Worst Off: A Confucian Perspective on Social Welfare 236
11 Mediation, Litigation, and Justice: Confucian Reflections in a Modern Liberal Society 257
12 Traditional Confucian Values and Western Legal Frameworks: The Law of Succession 288
13 The Confucian Conception of Gender in the Twenty-First Century 312
14 Family Versus the Individual: The Politics of Marriage Laws in Korea 334
Epilogue: Why Confucius Now? 361
Index 373
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