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Classical Confucian Political ThoughtA New Interpretation$
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Loubna El Amine

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691163048

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691163048.001.0001

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Political Involvement

Political Involvement

(p.143) Chapter 5 Political Involvement
Classical Confucian Political Thought

Loubna El Amine

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that involvement in politics is necessary for the full development of virtue. According to the Confucian view, a person cannot become fully virtuous in isolation from politics. The chapter argues against the contention that the Confucians adopted a purist approach, rejecting any involvement in political regimes that they deemed corrupt. Instead, they advocated involvement in politics based on a consequentialist logic: involvement is permitted, even advisable, insofar as it can bring about political order. The chapter challenges Robert Eno's reading of the early Confucian texts—particularly the Analects and Mencius—in which the Confucians reveal themselves to be in favor of political engagement, even in troubled times.

Keywords:   political involvement, virtue, Confucians, purist approach, political order, Analects, Mencius, Robert Eno

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