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Confucianism outside the household and in a global context

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Rebecca Kingston

Political Theory: Week 11 J November 24, 2010 Citizenship from Confucian Perspective - Standard model for ideal individual is that of the gentleman or the cultivated individual - Confucius didn[t speak of citizens but rather of subjects o Living in imperial regime - Notion of public service though not talking about a model of democratic and active participation in government - The good citizen is the same in each type of regime, contrasting with Aristotle, Book II, Section XXI - By demonstrating filial piety, justice and purity within the social context, already engaging by a degree in public service o Notion of public service diffused throughout all social contexts o Contrast with John Rauls, basic neglect of family, within liberal theory demand the concept of justice as impartiality, full justice must be exercised in relation to unknowns to ensure the rightness of our decisions In contrast, Confucian understanding of justice beginning at home, justice is development of how we relate to people within our local circle Liberal notion has benefits, as want to be just to all, but has its costs: N Notion that justice is only something we exercise in the public sphere, leads perhaps to the neglect of educating children in justice, don[t think of the relevance of the family circle as important place where in fact our public virtues and the qualities we need to be good citizens are places where they can be developed Benefits of Confucianism, continuity, whereas Aristotle provides fairly strong divide between what goes on in the family and what goes on in the public sphere - Confucius suggests that by virtue of what goes on in the family develop a better sensibility, Book XII, Section XX o Notion of Confucian Golden Rule, ^shu_, forbearance, don[t do unto others what you don[t wish to be done unto you - Household and family are first arenas for practice of public virtues, public not guided by Aristotelian idea of reciprocity, but rather what is extended beyond the family and into that public sphere is reverence for ties among individuals, respect for others, and trustworthiness Who is the ideal citizen in the Confucian context? - Confucian sage, Book VII, Section XXVI - More realistic knowledge of the better rather than the best man, Book XIV, Section XII - Confucian uses vocabulary that traditionally appealed to aristocratic ideal, noblemen, infusing aristocratic status with a moral meaning rather than a social meaning (high born to high minded) o Nobility should be considered separate from social and political recognition
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