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Against Political EqualityThe Confucian Case$
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Tongdong Bai

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691195995

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691195995.001.0001

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Compassion as the New Social Glue in the Society of Strangers

Compassion as the New Social Glue in the Society of Strangers

(p.110) 5 Compassion as the New Social Glue in the Society of Strangers
Against Political Equality

Tongdong Bai

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the key concept that early Confucians developed to address the issue of finding a new bond for an emerging “modern” society, the large and populous society of strangers, as well as the issue of state–state (international) relations. The main texts that used in this discussion are the Analects and the Mencius. The chapter argues that a bond that presupposes a small, stable, and closely knit community of acquaintances does not work in a large and mobile society of strangers. A new way of bonding the people of a state together was desperately needed. Apparently, the solution Confucius offered was to restore the old world order by sticking to li.

Keywords:   Analects of Confucius, social glue, Mencius, society of strangers, compassion, modern society, international relations

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