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Public reason confucianism democratic perfectionism and constitutionalism east asia | Political theory | Cambridge University Press
"Recent proposals concerning Confucian meritocratic perfectionism have justified Confucian perfectionism in terms of political meritocracy. In contrast, 'Confucian democratic perfectionism' is a form of comprehensive Confucian perfectionism that can accommodate a plurality of values in civil society. It is also fully compatible with core values of democracy such as popular sovereignty, political equality, and the right to political participation. Sungmoon Kim presents 'public reason Confucianism' as the most attractive option for contemporary East Asian societies that are historically and culturally Confucian. Public reason Confucianism is a particular style of Confucian democratic perfectionism in which comprehensive Confucianism is connected with perfectionism via a distinctive form of public reason. It calls for an active role for the democratic state in promoting a Confucian conception of the good life, at the heart of which are such core Confucian values as filial piety and ritual propriety."
to:NB  political_philosophy  moral_philosophy  confucianism  democracy 
january 2019 by cshalizi
Korean textbook improvements
I'm not qualified to evaluate the textbooks in their total treatment of Korean history and culture, but there are a few areas in which I have personally conducted research where I think I can offer some suggestions for improvements.

First, in the area of understanding Confucianism, there is almost no mention of Korea's transformation into a classic ― maybe the best example on the planet ― patrilineal society, better known in Korea as bugye society ― or in simple terms a male-dominated society. What is meant by the sociologists jargon "a patrilineal society" is often called "the patriarchy" and it refers to control of society and family by males. This implies subjugation of women and denial of opportunities of equality for women.

The male-dominated society is often referred to as "Confucian society" and Confucianism gets the blame for supporting men and disadvantaging women in social action, such as property ownership and inheritance rights and even rights to perform rituals.
But there is another Confucianism.

The Confucianism of the last 300 years was a kind of "perfected" Confucianism ― the most fundamentalist and orthodox practice of Confucianism of any on earth ― compared to any other time or any other place. Certainly more orthodox than ever practiced in the homeland of Confucius ― China. It is this Confucianism that is generally thought of as Korean Confucianism. It is this Confucianism that gets the "bad rap"―the criticism today.

But there was another Confucianism in Korea ― that practiced from the earliest days when Confucianism came into Korea in the Three Kingdoms Period (about the fourth century) until the orthodox reform movement of the late 17th century.

For over a thousand years, actually thirteen hundred years, Korea practiced a form of Confucianism that was "compromised," "adapted," ― a Korean-style Confucianism. How was it different? Basically, the role of the oldest son; it was only after the late 7th century reform that Korea utilized the oldest son of the family as the primary official at ceremonies and as the primary heir in the household. But for over a millennium under Korean-style Confucianism, inheritances were equally distributed between all the sons and the daughters, and Confucian ceremonies were hosted in rotation between the children of the father and mother after their deaths.

Textbooks ought to cover this.

There were two forms of Confucianism practiced in Korea. The Korean-style, egalitarian Confucianism of the Three Kingdoms period, the Unified Silla period, the Goryeo period and the first three centuries of the five-century Joseon period ― 1,300 years. And then the orthodox, patrilineal, fundamentalist Confucianism of the last two centuries of the Joseon era and the transformative 20th century ― 300 years.

So, what was Korean Confucianism? It depends on the era you are looking at.

And what do the Korean textbooks say?

I am calling on the Korean textbook establishment to make clear that there was an orthodox Confucian transformation in the late 17th century. It is a knowable fact. It should be in the textbooks. But it is not.

In the orthodoxy movement Confucianism in Korea came in line with the teachings of Confucius in the ritual texts (the Chou Li [Jurye] and the Li Ji [Yeji]) which came out of Confucius' time and society, a society that was "patrilineal" ― with an emphasis on the oldest son.

In the transformation to orthodox Confucianism, daughters lost their inheritance rights and were omitted from the ceremonies. This impacted marriage practices ― there was no longer the option of marrying and living at the wife's home, but now, all marriages became patrilocal ― at the husband's home. This impacted the organization of the villages with the appearance of the "lineage village" where all the men are related to each other. And this all shows up in the style and content of genealogical books (jokbo) that were published.

These social changes are all documentable. These facts are all knowable.

But the textbooks ignore it. Confucianism, unjustly, is treated as a monolith over all time, and the fundamentalist reform that had such large impact on Korea remains obscure and students and society are kept in the dark.

It is time for the textbooks writers to wake up and include the story of Korean Confucianism in the textbooks.

Mark Peterson ( is professor emeritus of Korean, Asian and Near Eastern languages at Brigham Young University in Utah.
Confucianism  Neo-Confucianism  Korean-history 
january 2019 by thegrandnarrative



minguo  intelligentsia  religion  buddhism  confucianism  activist  today 
october 2018 by aries1988

christianity  confucianism  ming  conflict  from instapaper
october 2018 by aries1988








西方的思想界是开放的,种种不同的史观都出现过,其中还有反“进步”的史观大行其道的,如斯宾格勒(Oswald Spengler 1880-1936)的《西方的没落》(The Decline of the West)和汤因比(Arnold J Toynbee 1889-1975)的《历史研究》(A Study of History)

confucianism  chinese  tradition  culture  crisis  evolution  west  book  leader  intelligentsia  taiwan  dissident  instapaper_favs  from instapaper
october 2018 by aries1988


theory  society  chinese  communication  confucianism  explained  from instapaper
october 2018 by aries1988
Why isn't the Confucianization story known in Korea?
By Mark Peterson

I have spent several weeks writing about the transformation of Korea in the late 17th century. I have outlined seven major social practices that were completely turned upside down at the close of the 17th, and into the 18th century. And these are not insignificant social events: the disinheritance of daughters, dropping daughters from ceremonies, dropping daughter's posterity from genealogies, the all-consuming desire to have a son, and adoption of a son if one is not born, the location of the marriage at the husband's father's house, and the establishment of "clan villages" where everyone in the village is a member of the patrilineage, except for the women ― these were fundamental developments that changed Korea forever.

So fundamental were these changes that Korean society today looks back at the "traditional family system" ― meaning this Confucianized system ― and thinks that it has been this way "forever," or for at least as long as we can know. This is wrong. The Confucianized family system is relatively recent ― only 300 years or so. And it covered an indigenous Korean system that was much more harmonious, less exploitative of women, and in many ways similar to the modern family organization found in Korea today, and in most Western countries.

Yet women's organizations have looked to the West for inspiration and role models, ignoring the examples of the society of Shin Saimdang in earlier years in Korea.

I have argued in previous articles that Korea should look into its own roots to find answers to questions about how to treat women justly and fairly and equally, in today's society.

But today's article has another point. Why is this documented, easy-to-find transition so ignored in Korea today? Why is it not in the textbooks? Why don't people know about it?

I can only speculate. I don't think it is anything sinister. I don't think the Sungkyunkwan (the headquarters of Confucianism in Korea) or Confucians in general have conspired to hide the truth from the wider population. I don't know why the educational community has missed this. But they have.

I wrote a book on this Confucianization process in the mid-90s. It was published at a good American academic publishing house ― Cornell University ― "Korean Adoption and Inheritance: The Creation of a Classic Confucian Society." The book was based on my PhD dissertation at Harvard. And in the late '90s, in a desire to see this research disseminated in Korea, wanting my Korean colleagues, friends, students, everyone, to know about this, I worked with a wonderful young graduate student, Kim Hyejeong , who was then between her master's degree and a Ph.D. at Sogang, to get the book translated into Korean. In Korean it was called "The Emergence of Confucian Society" ― "유교사회의 창출."

My hope was that it would be read, and textbook authors and editors would read it and incorporate its findings into the textbooks.

It hasn't happened.

Why? I don't know the answer. I need to publish a piece in a Korean newspaper and see what people will say. But I have my suspicions. Again, I don't think it's anything sinister; there's no willful conspiracy afoot. I don't think it's laziness, although that could be part of the answer.

I think the answer is the high school exam ― the suneung siheom. I don't know how the science portions of the exam are written, but I suspect the history part ― and maybe literature and English and some other parts ― is written from the perspective of "truth never changes." More specifically, since history is history, and it's what happened long ago, it doesn't change. And if the exam is changed, reflecting a different interpretation of history, then there would be trouble. Because the exam is the standard. And we see what was written, after the fact, in previous exams, and if something new is added, it will shake up the whole system. How can a student prepare for the exam if he can't look at last year's example. And the textbooks are similarly locked-in. No changes in the exam.

I don't know. I'm asking you, dear readers, if you know.
Is the examination system so rigid, and so inflexible that new knowledge cannot be added. Such would seem imponderable. Yet, that is what I have seen.

The fact-based study of my own, and several other scholars, shows clearly that society changed in the late 17th century. It is then that we see the roots of the so-called bugye sytem ― the patrilineal social organization of traditional Korea.

It is, historically, a fairly recent phenomena. To know that makes a huge difference in how we see society and social change today. Yet, Korea has willfully ignored the evidence and most people assume that the traditional family system, the bugye system, has been around from a point in time that we cannot find? It's not true, but that's what most people think.

Mark Peterson ( is professor emeritus of Korean, Asian and Near Eastern languages at Brigham Young University in Utah.
Korean-history  Confucianism  Neo-Confucianism  Korean-families  Korean-hierarchy  Korean-feminism 
october 2018 by thegrandnarrative
'Traditional' Korean family system began
By Mark Peterson

In my previous installment, I argued that the so-called traditional family system of Korea, that was marked by Confucian ideology and practices, and called the "bugye family system" (patrilineal system), is of fairly recent ancestry. Many people in Korea assume that the system is ancient, dating back to at least the founding of the Joseon Kingdom in 1392, if not before.

While it's true that some elements of Confucianization took place at the start of the Joseon Kingdom, there were elements of Confucianism adopted as early as the late Three Kingdoms period, and certainly by the Unified Silla period ― there were famous Confucian scholars, Seol Chong and Choe Chiwon, from the Silla period. But the ultimate practice of Confucianism, with all of its attendant ceremonies (ancestor ceremonies particularly) was not achieved until the late Joseon period.

When we look at the hallmarks of the fully articulated Confucian society, there are several items that we can isolate as having changed in the late Joseon period, specifically, in the late 17th century. I will list seven of them ― seven social changes that took place as part of the Neo-Confucian "revolution" of the late 17th century. These seven were interconnected and were all inspired or channeled by Confucian ways of dealing with the world.

1. Disinheritance of daughters. Prior to 1660 in some families, 1680 in others and 1700 in still others, daughters received an equal inheritance with sons. The eldest son did NOT get the largest share ― until after this time frame.

2. Son preference. After daughters were disinherited, the desire, often ultimate desire, to bear a son came into being. Prior to the late 17th century, if a couple had only daughters, that was fine ― they could be heirs. But after this point, one had to have a son as an heir.

3. Adoption of a son. Prior to this transition, sons were adopted only if there were no children, and sometimes childless couples would adopt a daughter as an heir. After the transition, as many as 15% of male children were adopted as heirs to the lines of brothers or cousins who had no children, or who may have had daughters, but no sons.

4. Daughters excluded from jesa (ancestor ceremonies). Prior to the transition, daughters hosted ceremonies on an equal footing with sons. Ceremonies were hosted in rotation with each child, son or daughter, taking a turn. After the transition, daughters were excluded and only the eldest son had responsibility for the ceremonies, with younger sons in attendance.

5. Changes in the jokbo (the printed genealogical books). Before the transition, daughter and daughters' lines of descent were recorded in as full detail as that of the sons. After the transition, daughters' entries were limited to a citation of who the daughter married, and their descendants were dropped from the record with the rare exception of mentioning a prominent son or grandson.

6. Changes in marriage practices. Prior to the late 17th century, marriages were on an equal footing, that is to say, men would sometimes take up residence in their wives' home village, and sometimes women would take up residence in the men's village. After the transition, "patrilocal marriage" becomes the rule ― that is, men stay home, and women marry in. The earlier practice is still preserved in linguistics ― women marrying will say "sijip ganda," and men will say "jangga ganda."

7. Changes in village settlements. Prior to the transition, there were villages of people having various surnames; but after the late 17th century, you start to see "single-surname villages" where everyone in the village has the same surname and are indeed related to one another. Such villages were the hallmark of the aristocratic "yangban" society.

When we talk about the male-dominated, Confucian society ― what in Korean is referred to as "bugye sahoe" _ the markers of that society are exactly these seven categories mentioned above. Most people, when they define this bugye society, do not list all seven of them, but they will list two or three or four, saying those things are what are meant by the traditional family system of Korea. They tend to note that it was "Confucian" in nature, generally, and are sometimes laudatory, but more often critical of such a tradition for its inequities and suppression of women.

My argument is that Korean society should realize that these things that happened, these "Confucianizations" were linked to each other, and that they all took place at the same point in the late 17th century.

Why is that important? If we can understand that "traditional" Korean society ―what usually refers to this "Confucianized" society ― is really only 300 years old, and that it is NOT the true Korean society ― rather it is an aberration imported from China. That the true Korean society was what preceded the late 17th changes ― a more-equal society with women holding property, participating in ceremonies, being recorded in genealogies, owning a house that the husband could move in to, and living in a village that was not dominated by her husband's kinsmen. This change in society is knowable, and yet it is not in the textbooks and is a secret known only by a handful of historians. Unfortunately.

Mark Peterson ( is associate professor of Korean, Asian and Near Eastern languages at Brigham Young University in Utah.
Korean-history  Confucianism  Neo-Confucianism  Korean-patriarchy  Hoju-je  Korean-hierarchy 
august 2018 by thegrandnarrative
Shen Gua’s Empiricism — Ya Zuo | Harvard University Press
"Shen Gua (1031–1095) is a household name in China, known as a distinguished renaissance man and the author of Brush Talks from Dream Brook, an old text whose remarkable “scientific” discoveries make it appear curiously ahead of its time. In this first book-length study of Shen in English, Ya Zuo reveals the connection between Shen’s life as an active statesman and his ideas, specifically the empirical stance manifested through his wide-ranging inquiries. She places Shen on the broad horizon of premodern Chinese thought, and presents his empiricism within an extensive narrative of Chinese epistemology.
"Relying on Shen as a searchlight, Zuo focuses in on how an individual thinker summoned conditions and concepts from the vast Chinese intellectual tradition to build a singular way of knowing. Moreover, her study of Shen provides insights into the complex dynamics in play at the dawn of the age of Neo-Confucianism and compels readers to achieve a deeper appreciation of the diversity in Chinese thinking."
to:NB  books:noted  history_of_ideas  song_dynasty  china  empiricism  confucianism  philosophy  epistemology 
august 2018 by cshalizi
RT : is at the center of many East Asian philosophies. in explored how Confucianis…
Hawaii  Confucianism  from twitter
august 2018 by LibrariesVal





由于商业发展和繁荣,中国的富庶地区有着较高的生活水准,然而,明清时候的中国,技术创新并没有鼓励性的回报,理论/形式理性极不发达;最重要的是,新儒家意识形态没有面临重大的挑战,而商人无法利用他们的财富来获取政治、军事和意识形态方面的权力从而抗衡国家的权力。与欧洲情况不同的是,晚期中华帝国维持灿烂的商业的原因不是新儒家世界的衰弱和资产阶级力量的崛起,而是帝国庞大的领土和人口所带来的巨大市场和王朝中期特有的长期政治稳定。当欧洲人在19 世纪持着现代武器抵达中国时,中国并没有走向工业革命而是走向王朝的衰落。中国并非自发地迈入现代化,而是被西方和日本帝国主义拖入到工业化和现代化的历史进程当中。
debate  china  qing  ming  capitalism  modernity  society  state  question  europe  confucianism  to:pdf 
july 2018 by aries1988
The influential Confucian philosopher you’ve never heard of | Aeon Essays
Confucian philosopher Mengzi provides an intriguing (and oddly modern) alternative to Aristotelian accounts of human virtue
ethics  philosophy  psychology  chinesephilosophy  confucianism 
april 2018 by morganwatch

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