NOBILITY AND CIVILITY
Harvard University Press, 2004 - 272 pages
Globalization has become an inescapable fact of contemporary life. Some leaders, in both the East and the West, believe that human rights are culture-bound and that liberal democracy is essentially Western, inapplicable to the non-Western world. How can civilized life be preserved and issues of human rights and civil society be addressed if the material forces dominating world affairs are allowed to run blindly, uncontrolled by any cross-cultural consensus on how human values can be given effective expression and direction?
In a thoughtful meditation ranging widely over several civilizations and historical eras, Wm. Theodore de Bary argues that the concepts of leadership and public morality in the major Asian traditions offer a valuable perspective on humanizing the globalization process. Turning to the classic ideals of the Buddhist, Hindu, Confucian, and Japanese traditions, he investigates the nature of true leadership and its relation to learning, virtue, and education in human governance; the role in society of the public intellectual; and the responsibilities of those in power in creating and maintaining civil society.
De Bary recognizes that throughout history ideals have always come up against messy human complications. Still, he finds in the exploration and affirmation of common values a worthy attempt to grapple with persistent human dilemmas across the globe.
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... to Neo- Confucianism, Hayashi Razan (1635-1657), will serve to highlight the
issue of legitimation, which still survived from the time of Prince Shotoku down
through successive stages in the devolution of the public sphere Shotoku had
16 In this discussion the terms Ieyasu uses are familiar ones in Mahayana
Buddhist philosophy, but those used by Hayashi Razan are sometimes derived
from Neo-Confu- cianism, terms such as "principle" and "unitary principle," which
have a ...
6 The New Leadership and Civil Society in Song China When Hayashi Razan
responded to Tokugawa Ieyasu's question whether "legitimacy" amounted to
anything more than simple expediency, Razan spoke of moral values — right and
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