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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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Conflict in the Expansion of Care

Conflict in the Expansion of Care

The Private versus the Public

(p.138) 6 Conflict in the Expansion of Care
Against Political Equality

Tongdong Bai

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that early Confucians were aware of the conflict between the private and the public, but their solution was to identify and develop the constructive aspect of the private and use what was cultivated from the private to suppress the conflict. Most late modern and contemporary Western liberal thinkers have switched their focus and are primarily concerned with how to protect the private against intrusions from the public. In contrast, early Confucians and Plato (in the Republic) were primarily concerned with intrusions to the public good from the private. But both Plato and modern liberals insist on the sheer divide between the private and the public. To look further into how early Confucians addressed the issue of the conflict between the private and the public may shed light on the universal philosophical issue of the private versus the public. With a fuller understanding of the Confucian rationale on this issue, the chapter then applies the Confucian idea of expanding care to other political and moral issues.

Keywords:   private sphere, public sphere, Plato, early Confucians

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