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The Philosophical Challenge from China$
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Brian Bruya

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028431

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028431.001.0001

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A Criticism of Later Rawls and a Defense of a Decent (Confucian) People

A Criticism of Later Rawls and a Defense of a Decent (Confucian) People

(p.101) 4 A Criticism of Later Rawls and a Defense of a Decent (Confucian) People
The Philosophical Challenge from China

Tongdong Bai

The MIT Press

Rawls in The Law of Peoples argues that decent peoples should be tolerated by liberal peoples, but he offers few considerations about the relative merits of decent peoples to liberal peoples. In this chapter, I discuss some problems with democracy, and argue that Rawls and other liberal democratic thinkers also acknowledge these problems. However, they fail to consider a crucial fact of modern democracies that prevents their internal “cure” of these problems from being effective, namely, the failure of democratic participation. I argue that an imagined decent society, the society of Confu-China, may handle this fact better, and thus may be a more realistic utopia for realizing the ideals shared between Confu-China and a Rawlsian liberal democracy.

Keywords:   Jonn Rawls, The Law of Peoples, problems with liberal democracy, decent people, Confu-China, realistic utopia, democracy, consultation hierarchy, one person one vote

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