Confucianism and the idea of equality

Asian Philosophy 11 (2):61 – 71 (2001)

Abstract
It is often supposed that Confucianism is opposed to the idea of equality insofar as the key ideals to which it is committed, such as meritocracy and li , are incompatible with equality. Sympathetic commentators typically defend Confucianism by saying that (a) the Confucian person is not a free-standing individual but a social being embedded in a social structure with different and unequal roles, and (b) social inequality has to be traded in for other values. This paper argues that in advocating meritocracy, Confucianism does not abandon the idea of equality. Indeed, invoking Aristotle's account of equality in the Nicomachean Ethics , it can be argued that the unequal distribution of rights and benefits reflects one aspect of equality, namely the vertical aspect, or the unequal treatment of unequals.
Keywords 780199 Other  Confucianism   Asian Philosophy   Equality  440115 Philosophy of Specific Cultures (e.g. Ancient Greek, Chinese)  C1
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DOI 10.1080/09552360120087840
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References found in this work BETA

Thinking Through Confucius.David L. Hall & Roger T. Ames - 1991 - Philosophy East and West 41 (2):241-254.
The Man of Reason.Genevieve Lloyd - 1979 - Metaphilosophy 10 (1):18–37.
Confucianism and Human Rights.Chongko Choi, Wm Theodore de Bary & Tu Wei-Ming - 1999 - Philosophy East and West 49 (4):524.

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Citations of this work BETA

Equality and Inequality in Confucianism.Chenyang Li - 2012 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 11 (3):295-313.
Confucianism, Globalisation and the Idea of Universalism.A. T. Nuyen - 2003 - Asian Philosophy 13 (2 & 3):75 – 86.
Confucianism and the Idea of Citizenship.A. T. Nuyen - 2002 - Asian Philosophy 12 (2):127 – 139.
Filiality, Compassion, and Confucian Democracy.Sungmoon Kim - 2008 - Asian Philosophy 18 (3):279 – 298.

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