Aging, Equality, and Confucian Selves

In Roger T. Ames Peter D. Hershock (ed.), Value and Values: Economics and Justice in an Age of Global Interdependence. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 483-502 (2015)
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Liberal democracy aims to treat all adult citizens as politically equal, at least in ideal cases: Once a citizen is over the age of majority, she is deemed a full-fledged member of the community and in theory has equal standing with all other adult citizens when it comes to making policy and participating in the political realm in general. I consider three questions: (1) Is there any plausible alternative to a standard "all adult citizens have equal political standing" model of democracy that could be drawn from a specifically Confucian valuing of elder members of the community? (2) Insofar as there is a plausible alternative, what might it reveal about differences between how liberalism and Confucianism think of human selves as located in time? (3) What sort of difference would it make if the Confucian valuing of age were implemented via informal social norms, on the one hand, or via explicit institutional mechanisms and procedures, on the other?

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Steven Geisz
University of Tampa

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Is Liberalism the Only Way Toward Democracy?Brooke A. Ackerly - 2005 - Political Theory 33 (4):547-576.

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