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Confucian PerfectionismA Political Philosophy for Modern Times$
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Joseph Chan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691158617

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691158617.001.0001

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Interplay between the Political Ideal and Reality

Interplay between the Political Ideal and Reality

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction Interplay between the Political Ideal and Reality
Source:
Confucian Perfectionism
Author(s):

Joseph Chan

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691158617.003.0001

This introductory chapter discusses how Confucian political philosophy can be modernized and enrich liberal democratic theories and political practices. It examines Confucian political thought from a perspective that explores the intricate interplay between political ideal and reality. Political philosophy has a dual character: viewed as a philosophical field of study, it searches for an ideal social and political order that expresses the best aspects of humanity; viewed as a political field of study, it aims to present an understanding of the real world and give principled guidance as to how people should act. The challenge of such two-track theorizing is twofold: to demonstrate the attractiveness of the ideal even though it is unlikely to work in the real world, and to show that a feasible nonideal conception of order still tallies with the ideal conception.

Keywords:   Confucian political thought, political philosophy, democratic theories, political ideals, reality

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