, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 283–294

Wang Yangming’s 王陽明 Philosophy and Modern Theories of Democracy: A Reconstructive Interpretation

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11712-008-9072-y

Cite this article as:
Lee, Mh. Dao (2008) 7: 283. doi:10.1007/s11712-008-9072-y


Liu Shipei 劉師培 (1884–1919) was the first scholar to locate intellectual resources of modern democracy in Wang Yangming’s theory of the “original knowing” (liangzhi 良知). In the 1950s there was a debate between Taiwanese liberals and the “New Confucians” over the relationship between the traditional Confucianism and modern democracy. Like Liu Shipei, the “New Confucians” justified modern democracy by means of Confucian philosophy (including that of Wang Yangming). For liberals, however, the Confucian tradition encompassed only the concept of “positive liberty,” which was irrelevant to or even incompatible with modern democracy. In this article, I try to argue for the position of the “New Confucians” by reconstructing Wang Yangming’s theory of the “original knowing” from a communitarian perspective.


Wang YangmingCommunitarianismLiberalismOriginal knowing

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Chinese Literature and PhilosophyAcademia SinicaTaipeiTaiwan