Where Does Confucian Virtuous Leadership Stand?

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Department or Administrative Unit

Philosophy and Religious Studies

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At the twenty-second World Congress of Philosophy held in Seoul, Korea, from July29 to August 5, 2008, a panel was convened to debate the ideas for a ‘‘democracywith Confucian characteristics’’ in Daniel A. Bell’sBeyond Liberal Democracy(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006).While all participants welcome theattempt to remedy the shortcomings of liberal democracy with Confucian teachings,Fred Dallmayr worries that Bell’s political thinking for an East Asian context may‘‘point beyond democracytout court.’’ For Sor-hoon Tan, Bell’s chapter 6, ‘‘TakingElitism Seriously: Democracy with Confucian Characteristics’’ may not be so muchan alternative to liberalism as it is a challenge to the democratic value of equalitythat overlooks the dangers of an imperfect meritocracy. Chenyang Li, on the otherhand, approaches Bell’s proposal of combining a Confucianism-inspired UpperHouse of Talent and Virtue selected through competitive examinations with a lowerhouse of democratically elected representatives from the concern that it surrendersthe Confucian requirement of virtuous leadership. This feature review also concludeswith a spirited reply from Daniel Bell.


This article was originally published in Philosophy East & West. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Philosophy East and West


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