Recently, a group of scholars has challenged the moral legitimacy of Confucian democracy from a liberal philosophical standpoint. According to these scholars, including political liberals and moderate perfectionists, any attempt to create a Confucian democratic theory inevitably confronts a dilemma—let us call this the pluralism dilemma—with the following two horns: (a) a free society is characterized by the plurality of mutually incompatible, often conflicting, moral, philosophical, and religious doctrines that guide an individual’s conception of the good life and a truly democratic theory is required to accommodate as many reasonable conceptions of the good and comprehensive doctrines as possible and (b) a Confucian democratic theory gives a privileged normative standing to Confucianism over other competing comprehensive doctrines. This paper defends Confucian democracy against this pluralism challenge by articulating its political purpose and constitutional structure, which are commonly dismissed in the critics’ analytical frameworks.
With responses from: OMAR DAHBOUR (Hunter College & Graduate Center, CUNY)
The Fall dates for the Comparative Philosophy seminar:
September 20 – Justin Tiwald (San Francisco State University)
October 11 – Richard Kim (Loyola University, Chicago
November 8 – Sungmoon Kim (City University of Hong Kong)
December 6 – Paul R. Goldin (University of Pennsylvania)
More details (such as titles, abstracts, and respondents) to follow. Looking forward to seeing you soon.
Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Philosophy, The City University of New York, Baruch College
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center
Co-Director, Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy