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Confucian Democracy as Pragmatic Experiment: Uniting Love of Learning and Love of Antiquity

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Abstract:

This paper argues for the pragmatic construction of Confucian democracy by showing that Chinese philosophers who wish to see Confucianism flourish again as a positive dimension of Chinese civilization need to approach it pragmatically and democratically, otherwise their love of the past is at the expense of something else Confucius held in equal esteem, love of learning. Chinese philosophers who desire democracy for China would do well to learn from the earlier failures of the iconoclastic Westernizers, and realize that a Chinese democracy cannot come about by ignoring or dismissing such an important part of China's history, its Confucian tradition. The best chances for democracy in China lie in transforming that tradition without destroying it. Eagerness to learn from others must be united with a proper appreciation of one's own past to nurture democracy as a way of life.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09552360701445026

Publication date: 2007-07-01

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