Vincent Shen, University of Toronto, Canada
"The ideal of liberty is central to the liberal tradition, but the value of liberty was not discussed in any systematic way prior to John Stuart Mill's On Liberty in the nineteenth century. The ideal of harmony is central to the Confucian tradition, but perhaps even more surprising, not a single book-length manuscript has explored its value in the three thousand year Confucian tradition. Chenyang Li's book finally fills the gap. Westerners tend to think of harmony as synonymous with conformity and uniformity, but Li shows that this view is fundamentally mistaken. Li's comparative outlook is particularly helpful for helping the reader grasp what makes harmony a precious and unique value and why Confucians tend to think harmony is central to any decent ethical system. This book is a tour de force, a must read for anybody who wants to learn about the ideals that make Confucian-influenced cultures tick."
Daniel A. Bell, author of East Meets West: Human Rights and Democracy in East Asia (2000) and Confucianism for the Modern World (2003)
"Li’s book presents a thoughtful and inviting schema for understanding Confucianism and its bearing on cultural issues. Scholars who hope for the growth of Confucianism, either as a scholarly discipline or social movement, should welcome the book.[…] Li’s work remains solid, pinning down a theoretical model for those who seek to weave philosophical ideas of the past into the fabric of contemporary society. The book is sure to inspire others, from schools and disciplines beyond Confucian and philosophical studies, to look into the idea of harmony." - Wai Wai Chiu, SOPHIA