In his recent book, Zhuoyao Li presents one of the most pointed criticisms of Confucian democracy from a political liberal standpoint. Li’s central argument is that liberal democracy, predicated on Rawlsian political liberalism, is the only legitimate form of democracy in East Asia’s pluralist societal context. Li advances his normative argument against Confucian democracy, first by reaffirming Rawls’s public conception of morality, then shifting his point of reference from Rawls to Alessandro Ferrara, and finally, defending a multivariate democracy in East Asia’s pluralist societal context from the viewpoint of Ferrara’s idea of hyperpluralism. In this paper, I defend Confucian democracy as a viable political theory in pluralist East Asia by critiquing Li’s change of the point of reference from Rawls to Ferrara, his imposition of the condition of hyperpluralism on East Asia, and his sweeping logical framework that allows no normative space for Confucian democratic theory.
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This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF‐2017S1A3A2065772).
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