“Confucianism and Democracy: Uneasy Marriage or Productive Partnership?”
Since the very beginning, Confucianism has been troubled by a serious gap between its political ideals and the reality of societal circumstances. Contemporary Confucians must develop a viable method of governance that can retain the spirit of the Confucian ideal while tackling problems arising from modern situations. The best way to meet this challenge, Joseph Chan argues, is to adopt liberal democratic institutions that are shaped by the Confucian conception of the good rather than the liberal conception of the right. Chan decouples liberal democratic institutions from their popular liberal philosophical foundations and redefines their roles and functions using Confucian principles, thus mixing Confucianism with liberal democratic institutions in a way that strengthens both.
Joseph Chan is a professor at the Department of Politics and Public Administration, the University of Hong Kong. He earned his undergraduate degree in political science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, his M.Sc. at the London School of Economics, and his D.Phil. at Oxford University. Professor Chan researches in the areas of contemporary liberalism, political philosophy, and civil society. Professor Chan has been a visiting scholar at the Harvard-Yenching Institute and a founding director of the University of Hong Kong Centre for Civil Society and Governance. His articles have been published in China Quarterly, Ethics, History of Political Thought, Journal of Chinese Philosophy, Journal of Democracy, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Philosophy and Public Affairs, and Philosophy East and West.
Joseph Chan will be speaking on Apr. 21 as part of the Monday Seminar Series from 12:00-1:30 p.m. in Smith Warehouse, Bay 6, 1st floor, Room B177.