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Confucian Citizenship of Shared Virtue

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Abstract

Citizenship is not a part of classical Confucian political thought. The philosophers of the classical period conceived of a division between rulers and ruled. The rulers acted, the ruled were acted upon. They felt that most people did not have the knowledge necessary to participate in government effectively and instead hoped for sagely rulers and wise ministers who would care for the people’s interests. However, most modern Confucian political thinkers are democratic to at least some degree, which calls for re-thinking the absence of the role of citizen in Confucian thought. In this chapter, I argue that this absence needs to be rectified, and even democratic Confucian thinkers cannot accept liberal accounts of citizenship which either separate civic and private virtue, or conceive of civic virtues as structural rather than substantive. Based on the thought of twentieth century New Confucians, I develop an account of citizenship and civic virtue centered around the virtues that are considered part of human nature. In the process, I consider challenges regarding value pluralism and excessive government involvement in individual morality.

Keywords

New confucianism Civic virtue Pluralism 

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State University of New York at New PaltzNew PaltzUSA

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