Reviews Wm. Theodore de Bary. Nobility and Civility: Asian Ideals of Leadership and the Common Good. Cambridge (MA) and London: Harvard University Press, 2004. xiv, 256 pp. Hardcover 24.95, isbn 067405576. The subject of this book is the "evolving concepts of leadership (`nobility') and public morality (`civility') in several Asian traditions," which the author, Wm. Theodore de Bary, hopes may contribute to humanizing the globalizing process. It was also "the subject of workshops and colloquia" held by the author "with colleagues and students at Columbia (University) in 200203." De Bary says he is not offering "exact prescriptions for present problems," but is rather aiming to facilitate awareness of the ideals of people in the past and the ways as well as the problems involved in implementing them, so that engaged intellectuals and responsible citizens can avoid seeking easy technical solutions and quick fixes to today's dilemmas. Without this awareness, he says, "one can expect that the globalizing process may well be degrading, dehumanizing, and destructive of the earth, beyond anything seen in the past" (pp. xiixiii). Because de Bary sees Neo-Confucian utopianism as having gained "central ground" and "axial positions" (p. 227) in Chinese and East Asian life,
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Dec 6, 2005
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