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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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Social Welfare and Care

Social Welfare and Care

(p.178) Chapter 8 Social Welfare and Care
Confucian Perfectionism

Joseph Chan

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at how Mencius envisions a multilevel social system of provision in which the family, the village or commune, as well as the government all have specific roles to play. Social justice is the foundation of this social system; the family and commune (or social relationships and networks) provide familial care and mutual aid; and when they are not sufficient, the government steps in to provide direct welfare assistance. This Confucian social ideal integrates justice and care, recognizing both individual merit and personal responsibility. Mencius's vision is not of a nanny state that takes care of every aspect of people's lives from the cradle to the grave, but of a social system regulated by several principles, such as sufficiency, personal responsibility, merit, and contribution.

Keywords:   Mencius, social system, family, commune, government, Confucian social ideal, personal responsibility

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