What to Do in an Unjust State?: On Confucius's and Socrates's Views on Political Duty [Book Review]

Confucius argued for the centrality of the superior man’s political duty to his fellow human beings and to the state, while Socrates suggested that the superior man (the philosopher) may have no such political duty. However, Confucius also suggested that one not enter or stay—let alone save—a troubled state, while Socrates stayed in an unjust state, apparently fulfilling his political duty to the state by accepting an unjust verdict. In this essay, I will try to show how Confucius could solve these apparent contradictions. I will then examine the reasons Socrates directly and indirectly offers to resolve his seemingly conflicting positions in light of the discussion of the Confucian case. This article is a first step toward a deeper understanding of both Confucius and Socrates (Plato) by way of comparative studies, and of the general issue of a superior man’s political duty to a bad state.
Keywords Confucius  Socrates  Plato  Political duty
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11712-010-9184-z
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,890
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Justin Tiwald (2008). A Right of Rebellion in the Mengzi? Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 7 (3):269-282.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Thomas Pogge (2002). Cosmopolitanism: A Defence. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 5 (3):86-91.
Gerardo Lopez (2008). The Road From the Analects to Democracy. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 9:47-52.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

61 ( #54,084 of 1,725,305 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

7 ( #93,180 of 1,725,305 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.