Sungmoon Kim (City University of Hong Kong): "Pragmatic Confucian Democracy"

Wed, Apr 11, 2018, 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm
Location: 
301 Marx Hall

* please note, this is an additional political philosophy event at an atypical time.

ABSTRACT: This talk explores a normative Confucian democratic theory that justifies democracy both as a political system and as a way of life on pragmatic grounds in East Asia with special attention to Confucianism, a dominant cultural tradition in the region, as well as to value pluralism and moral conflict that increasingly characterize the circumstances of East Asian politics. It presents “pragmatic Confucian democracy” as a fresh normative framework that can help (1) identify the social circumstances that require a democracy as a political system in a Confucian society, (2) explain the internal connection between two dimensions of democracy that are commonly presented in political science as being at odds with each other, and (3) make sense of the value of democracy coherently with reference to its two dimensions.

BIO: Sungmoon Kim is professor of political theory at the City University of Hong Kong, who specializes in contemporary Confucian political and constitutional theory and history of East Asian political thought. Kim’s research has appeared in the journals such as American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, British Journal of Political Science, History of Political Thought, Journal of the History of Ideas, Review of Politics, Contemporary Political Theory, and Philosophy East and West, among others. As 2016/17 Berggruen Fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Kim is the author of Confucian Democracy in East Asia: Theory and Practice (Cambridge UP, 2014), Public Reason Confucianism: Democratic Perfectionism and Constitutionalism in East Asia (Cambridge UP 2016), and Democracy after Virtue: Toward Pragmatic Confucian Democracy (Oxford UP, forthcoming). Currently, Kim is working on a new book manuscript called Theorizing Confucian Virtue Politics: The Political Philosophy of Mencius and Xunzi for Cambridge University Press.