Why Early Confucianism Cannot Generate Democracy


Abstract
A central issue in Chinese philosophy today is the relationship between Confucianism and democracy. While some political figures have argued that Confucian values justify non-democratic forms of government, many scholars have argued that Confucianism can provide justification for democracy, though this Confucian democracy will differ substantially from liberal democracy. These scholars believe it is important for Chinese culture to develop its own conception of democracy using Confucian values, drawn mainly from Kongzi (Confucius) and Mengzi (Mencius), as the basis. This essay describes some obstacles to this form of Confucian democracy. It argues that considering the political philosophies of Kongzi and Mengzi in the context of their views on personal cultivation reveals that they oppose some of the central assumptions of democracy. They do not trust the public to make good decisions, and advocate government for the people, but not by the people. These philosophies alone cannot generate democracy
Keywords Confucianism  Democracy  Kongzi  Mengzi
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DOI 10.1007/s11712-010-9187-9
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References found in this work BETA

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Citations of this work BETA

Democracy in Confucianism.Sor-Hoon Tan - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (5):293-303.
Responsible Innovation for Decent Nonliberal Peoples: A Dilemma?Pak-Hang Wong - 2016 - Journal of Responsible Innovation 3 (2):154-168.
Epistemic Elitism, Paternalism, and Confucian Democracy.Shaun O’Dwyer - 2015 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 14 (1):33-54.
Mou Zongsan's New Confucian Democracy.David Elstein - 2012 - Contemporary Political Theory 11 (2):192-210.

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