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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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Ruler and Ruled

Ruler and Ruled

(p.29) Chapter 1 Ruler and Ruled
Classical Confucian Political Thought

Loubna El Amine

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the relationship between ruler and ruled that Confucians advocated for the new territorial states. It argues against two common interpretations of this relationship: the virtue-centered view that presents Confucian government as aiming at the inculcation of virtue in the citizenry, and the (proto-)democratic view that highlights the people's role in the choice and removal of the ruler. Rather, the underlying motif of Confucian political thought is a concern with political order and that this order is produced, in its basic level, by forging a complementary relation between the ruler and the common people. The chapter also distinguishes between kings and hegemons, arguing that hegemons are somewhat accepted by the early Confucians since they are successful at establishing a minimal level of order.

Keywords:   Confucianism, ruler, common people, territorial states, Confucian government, virtue, kings, hegemons

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