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Title: Confucianism, the idea of Min-pen, and democracy
Authors: Nuyen, A.T. 
Issue Date: 2000
Citation: Nuyen, A.T. (2000). Confucianism, the idea of Min-pen, and democracy. Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies (14) : 130-151. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: With few exceptions, it is believed that Confucianism is incompatible with democracy. The 'incompatibility thesis' has attained the status of near orthodoxy. It is shared by commentators who are hostile as well as those sympathetic to Chinese culture generally and to Confucianism in particular. The arguments for incompatibility typically stress the differences between on the one hand 'democratic values' such as liberty, equality and plurality, and on the other 'Confucian values' such as duty, responsibility and loyalty. Having challenged the arguments for incompatibility by showing that the differences between so-called democratic values and Confucian values are in fact greatly exaggerated, the paper proceeds to discuss the significance of the Confucian idea of min-pen (or min-ben, people as roots). The aim is to show that philosophical Confucianism is not only not an obstacle to democracy but could well be the foundation thereof. The argument will then be further reinforced by revisiting the old 'modernization thesis'.
Source Title: Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies
ISSN: 13954199
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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