Jìubāng xīnmìng: Gǔjīn zhōngxī cānzhào xià de gǔddiǎn Rújiā zhèngzhì zhéxué 旧邦新命:古今中西参照下的古典儒家政治哲学 (review)

Jìubāng xīnmìng: Gǔjīn zhōngxī cānzhào xià de gǔddiǎn Rújiā zhèngzhì zhéxué... Jìubng xnmìng: Gujn zhngx cnzhào xià de guddian Rúji zhèngzhì zhéxué : (A new mission for an old state: ClassicalConfucianpoliticalphilosophyinacontemporaryandcomparativecontext).ByBáiTóngdng.Beijing:BeijingUniversityPress,2009.Pp.vi+191. PaperRMB25. ReviewedbyJustin Tiwald SanFranciscoStateUniversity BaiTongdong'sJìubng xnmìng(Anewmissionforanoldstate)isacollectionofBai'sessaysoncontemporaryandclassicalChinesepoliticalthought,coveringsuchtopicsasdemocracy,humanrights,governmentbynon-action,relations betweenthepublicandprivatespheres,andtheobligationsofvirtuousindividuals inless-than-idealpoliticalcircumstances.Bai'sbookisunapologeticallycomparativistinbothmethodologyandcontent:heregularlyavailshimselfofthelanguageand analytical tools of currentWestern philosophy, and he takes the classical Chinese politicalphilosophersasaframeworkwithinwhichtoapproachissuesinmodern life.OnmattersofConfucianismandliberaldemocracy,heseesmuchofhisproject asbeinginthespiritofRawlsianpoliticalliberalism,whichseekstoidentifyasetof corepoliticalcommitments(e.g.,tohumanrightsanddemocraticgovernment)that canbeendorsedbyanarrayofreligiousorphilosophical"comprehensivedoctrines." ButcontrarytosomeofBai'searlierwork,theessaysinthisbookcontendthat awls' R core political commitments need revision, and that classical Chinese philosophy (especially classical Confucianism) is well positioned to improve upon them (pp. 14 15,38­ 0). ­ 4 ThisbookoffersaseriesofnovelandperceptiveargumentsonissuesinChinese politicalthought.Baiisacarefulandversatilescholar,athomebothincontemporary political philosophy and in philosophical exegesis. While each essay revisits widely discussed issues, readers will have little trouble appreciating the creativity of Bai's particular take on them. I cannot do justice to the insightfulness of every chapter,soIwillconfinemyreviewtotwotasks:abriefsummaryofthechapters themselves,andsomecloseranalysisofBai'sviewsonthecompatibilityofConfu--t cianismwithdemocracyandhumanrights opicsthatoccupyhimforalmosthalf thebook. Bai'sfirstchapteroutlinesanddefendshiscomparativistmethodology,keyfeaturesofwhichIhavedescribedabove.Thenextthreechaptersfocusonissuesatthe intersectionofConfucianpoliticalthoughtanddemocraticliberalism,spellingouta "thin"versionofliberaldemocracythatbothdemocraticliberalsandConfucianscan accept.Inchapter2,BaibuildsonthelaterRawlstoshowhowasuitablynarrowlist ofcoreprinciplescanbereconciledevenwiththeelementsof"moralconservativism"()inConfucianism,providedthatitisimbuedwithahealthysenseof self-effacingskepticism(pp.31­32).Chapter3defendsaversionoflimiteddemocracyinspiredbyDanielBell,characterizedbyabicamerallegislatureofdemocrati­6 callyelectedrepresentativesandunelectedscholar-officials(pp.60 1).1Baijustifies thisstructurebyappealingtoMengzi's(andtoalesserextentKongzi's)proposalthat thepeoplehaveasignificantadvisoryroleingovernment,providedthat(a)theymeet PhilosophyEast&WestVolume61,Number3July2011573­576 ©2011byUniversityofHawai`iPress a minimum threshold in education and moral development, (b) their authority is confinedtomattersthattheyarequalifiedtojudge,and(c)theirdecisionissubject tofurtherreviewbyaseparatepoliticalauthority(pp.44 8).Inchapter4,Baiadju­4 dicatesadisputebetweenJosephChanandmeonthecompatibilityofConfucianism withmodernrightsthought,arguing(paceme)thatthereareindeedwaysinwhich Confucianismcangroundliberalrightsbut(paceChan)thattherightsareconsiderablymorecontingentandcircumscribedthantheirequivalentsinliberaldemocracies.Forinstance,BaithinksConfucianismmightonlyendorseawidespreadrightto criticizethegovernmentwhenexigentcircumstancessuchasgovernmentincompe­ tencemakeitnecessary(pp.84 85). LetmehighlightacoupleofpointsaboutthisimportantsuiteofessaysonConfucianismandliberaldemocracy.First,inthesechapters,Bai'sstrategyistobegin withanalreadythinconceptionofthekeycommitmentsofpoliticalliberalismand thenshowthataneventhinnerversionispreferable,usuallybecauseitisbothmore compatiblewithConfucianismandmoreplausibleonitsownmerits.Thisisaremarkablefeat,butIcannothelpbutthinkthatitisjusthalftheproject,forwhileitis easytotellwhatconceptionsBaibelievestobetoothick(e.g.,onesthatinsiston unrestricted democratic government), it is often difficult to tell which ones would be too thin, and this risks the appearance of validating regimes far removed from liberaldemocracy.Manyformsofgovernment ncludingsomefamouslyoppressive --i ones iverepresentativesofthepeoplesomelegislativepower,subjecttothefur--g therreviewofsomesortofpoliticalelite.Butsurelynotallsuchgovernmentsriseto thelevelofdemocraticrepresentationrequiredbyBai'scoreprinciples.Manygovernmentsalsomakeprovisionsforfreespeechunderspecialcircumstances,butpresumablymanyconstruethecircumstancesmuchmorenarrowlythanBai'sConfucian liberalswould.Sayingmore(perhapsinfuturework)aboutthesortsofpracticesthat Bai'sthinnerconceptionexcludeswouldgivehisconclusionsagreaterpurchaseon theongoingsearchforareasonableoverlappingconsensus. Asecondpointconcernsthepracticeofinvokingone'srights.Inmyessayon rightsthatisthesubjectofhischapter4,Itriedtoshowhowmuchofthedebate aboutrightsintheConfuciantraditionisinfactadebateaboutthewaysthatindividualsmightclaimtheirrights.2Almostanytheoryofjusticeworththenamewill holdthatindividualsshouldhavesomeneedsorinterestsguaranteedbysocialinstitutions(betheyfood,healthcare,liberties,orotherwise).Partofwhatmakesthese obligationsmorethanmereentitlements artofwhatmakesthemrights sthat --p http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy East and West University of Hawai'I Press

Jìubāng xīnmìng: Gǔjīn zhōngxī cānzhào xià de gǔddiǎn Rújiā zhèngzhì zhéxué 旧邦新命:古今中西参照下的古典儒家政治哲学 (review)

Philosophy East and West, Volume 61 (3) – Jul 23, 2011

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Abstract

Jìubng xnmìng: Gujn zhngx cnzhào xià de guddian Rúji zhèngzhì zhéxué : (A new mission for an old state: ClassicalConfucianpoliticalphilosophyinacontemporaryandcomparativecontext).ByBáiTóngdng.Beijing:BeijingUniversityPress,2009.Pp.vi+191. PaperRMB25. ReviewedbyJustin Tiwald SanFranciscoStateUniversity BaiTongdong'sJìubng xnmìng(Anewmissionforanoldstate)isacollectionofBai'sessaysoncontemporaryandclassicalChinesepoliticalthought,coveringsuchtopicsasdemocracy,humanrights,governmentbynon-action,relations betweenthepublicandprivatespheres,andtheobligationsofvirtuousindividuals inless-than-idealpoliticalcircumstances.Bai'sbookisunapologeticallycomparativistinbothmethodologyandcontent:heregularlyavailshimselfofthelanguageand analytical tools of currentWestern philosophy, and he takes the classical Chinese politicalphilosophersasaframeworkwithinwhichtoapproachissuesinmodern life.OnmattersofConfucianismandliberaldemocracy,heseesmuchofhisproject asbeinginthespiritofRawlsianpoliticalliberalism,whichseekstoidentifyasetof corepoliticalcommitments(e.g.,tohumanrightsanddemocraticgovernment)that canbeendorsedbyanarrayofreligiousorphilosophical"comprehensivedoctrines." ButcontrarytosomeofBai'searlierwork,theessaysinthisbookcontendthat awls' R core political commitments need revision, and that classical Chinese philosophy (especially classical Confucianism) is well positioned to improve upon them (pp. 14 15,38­ 0). ­ 4 ThisbookoffersaseriesofnovelandperceptiveargumentsonissuesinChinese politicalthought.Baiisacarefulandversatilescholar,athomebothincontemporary political philosophy and in philosophical exegesis. While each essay revisits widely discussed issues, readers will have little trouble appreciating the creativity of Bai's particular take on them. I cannot do justice to the insightfulness of every chapter,soIwillconfinemyreviewtotwotasks:abriefsummaryofthechapters themselves,andsomecloseranalysisofBai'sviewsonthecompatibilityofConfu--t cianismwithdemocracyandhumanrights opicsthatoccupyhimforalmosthalf thebook. Bai'sfirstchapteroutlinesanddefendshiscomparativistmethodology,keyfeaturesofwhichIhavedescribedabove.Thenextthreechaptersfocusonissuesatthe intersectionofConfucianpoliticalthoughtanddemocraticliberalism,spellingouta "thin"versionofliberaldemocracythatbothdemocraticliberalsandConfucianscan accept.Inchapter2,BaibuildsonthelaterRawlstoshowhowasuitablynarrowlist ofcoreprinciplescanbereconciledevenwiththeelementsof"moralconservativism"()inConfucianism,providedthatitisimbuedwithahealthysenseof self-effacingskepticism(pp.31­32).Chapter3defendsaversionoflimiteddemocracyinspiredbyDanielBell,characterizedbyabicamerallegislatureofdemocrati­6 callyelectedrepresentativesandunelectedscholar-officials(pp.60 1).1Baijustifies thisstructurebyappealingtoMengzi's(andtoalesserextentKongzi's)proposalthat thepeoplehaveasignificantadvisoryroleingovernment,providedthat(a)theymeet PhilosophyEast&WestVolume61,Number3July2011573­576 ©2011byUniversityofHawai`iPress a minimum threshold in education and moral development, (b) their authority is confinedtomattersthattheyarequalifiedtojudge,and(c)theirdecisionissubject tofurtherreviewbyaseparatepoliticalauthority(pp.44 8).Inchapter4,Baiadju­4 dicatesadisputebetweenJosephChanandmeonthecompatibilityofConfucianism withmodernrightsthought,arguing(paceme)thatthereareindeedwaysinwhich Confucianismcangroundliberalrightsbut(paceChan)thattherightsareconsiderablymorecontingentandcircumscribedthantheirequivalentsinliberaldemocracies.Forinstance,BaithinksConfucianismmightonlyendorseawidespreadrightto criticizethegovernmentwhenexigentcircumstancessuchasgovernmentincompe­ tencemakeitnecessary(pp.84 85). LetmehighlightacoupleofpointsaboutthisimportantsuiteofessaysonConfucianismandliberaldemocracy.First,inthesechapters,Bai'sstrategyistobegin withanalreadythinconceptionofthekeycommitmentsofpoliticalliberalismand thenshowthataneventhinnerversionispreferable,usuallybecauseitisbothmore compatiblewithConfucianismandmoreplausibleonitsownmerits.Thisisaremarkablefeat,butIcannothelpbutthinkthatitisjusthalftheproject,forwhileitis easytotellwhatconceptionsBaibelievestobetoothick(e.g.,onesthatinsiston unrestricted democratic government), it is often difficult to tell which ones would be too thin, and this risks the appearance of validating regimes far removed from liberaldemocracy.Manyformsofgovernment ncludingsomefamouslyoppressive --i ones iverepresentativesofthepeoplesomelegislativepower,subjecttothefur--g therreviewofsomesortofpoliticalelite.Butsurelynotallsuchgovernmentsriseto thelevelofdemocraticrepresentationrequiredbyBai'scoreprinciples.Manygovernmentsalsomakeprovisionsforfreespeechunderspecialcircumstances,butpresumablymanyconstruethecircumstancesmuchmorenarrowlythanBai'sConfucian liberalswould.Sayingmore(perhapsinfuturework)aboutthesortsofpracticesthat Bai'sthinnerconceptionexcludeswouldgivehisconclusionsagreaterpurchaseon theongoingsearchforareasonableoverlappingconsensus. Asecondpointconcernsthepracticeofinvokingone'srights.Inmyessayon rightsthatisthesubjectofhischapter4,Itriedtoshowhowmuchofthedebate aboutrightsintheConfuciantraditionisinfactadebateaboutthewaysthatindividualsmightclaimtheirrights.2Almostanytheoryofjusticeworththenamewill holdthatindividualsshouldhavesomeneedsorinterestsguaranteedbysocialinstitutions(betheyfood,healthcare,liberties,orotherwise).Partofwhatmakesthese obligationsmorethanmereentitlements artofwhatmakesthemrights sthat --p

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Published: Jul 23, 2011

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