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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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Heaven in Politics

Heaven in Politics

(p.176) Chapter 6 Heaven in Politics
Classical Confucian Political Thought

Loubna El Amine

Princeton University Press

This chapter analyzes the role of Heaven (tian) in the Confucian political vision. The resort to Heaven provides legitimacy for Confucians' political endeavors by supporting some other pursuits, like the achievement and promotion of merit, and political engagement more generally, but also by shielding political actors from responsibility for events beyond their control. The chapter follows Robert Eno's scholarship, which argues that the early Confucians use Heaven as a legitimating device to justify political ideas that are not about Heaven per se. According to him, Heaven is not a “defining interest” for the Confucians, and that early Confucian philosophy seems directed away from metaphysics and religion.

Keywords:   Heaven, tian, Confucian politics, political engagement, Robert Eno, early Confucians, metaphysics, religion

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