Political Theory 42 (1):82-105 (2014)

Contributors to the debates about the compatibility of Confucianism and democracy and its implications for China’s democratization often adopt definitions of democracy that theories of deliberative democracy are critical of. Attention to deliberative democracy is timely given its importance in democratic discourses and recent experiments in “deliberative” or “consultative” democracy in China. Would Confucian understanding of political deliberation help or hinder deliberative democracy? This essay compares the concept of yi in the early Confucian texts with a contemporary concept of democratic deliberation. The differences between the concept of yi in early Confucian texts and the concept of democratic deliberation show that the presence of deliberation, even when they meet stringent norms, does not guarantee that the politics would be democratic. Rather, the political environment and processes must be democratized for deliberation to be democratic. This comparative study considers how the similarities between two concepts, and other aspects of Confucian philosophy might be deployed to close the gap between early Confucian view of ideal government and deliberative democracy. At the same time, it does not simply embrace all aspects of the chosen democratic theory, but argues that Confucian deliberative democracy may differ significantly, for example, in approaching politics from the perspective of a comprehensive ethical theory. In doing so, it offers a different conception of deliberative democracy and shows how the chosen theory is limited by certain assumptions specific to its own context and that the understanding of deliberative democracy needs to be expanded and modified to approach genuine universalism.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0090591713515682
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,091
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Can Deliberative Democracy Be Partisan?Russell Muirhead - 2010 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 22 (2-3):129-157.
Deliberative Democracy and Provisionality.Lasse Thomassen - 2011 - Contemporary Political Theory 10 (4):423-443.
Deliberative Democracy, the Public Sphere and the Internet.Antje Gimmler - 2001 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 27 (4):21-39.
A Pluralist Reconstruction of Confucian Democracy.Sungmoon Kim - 2012 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 11 (3):315-336.
Does Public Ignorance Defeat Deliberative Democracy?Robert B. Talisse - 2004 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 16 (4):455-463.
Why Early Confucianism Cannot Generate Democracy.David Elstein - 2010 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 9 (4):427-443.
Confucian Democracy and Equality.Ranjoo Seodu Herr - 2010 - Asian Philosophy 20 (3):261-282.


Added to PP index

Total views
17 ( #635,999 of 2,506,351 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,997 of 2,506,351 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes