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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Continuity with the feudal past is further shown by Ieyasu's recourse to legislation
in the form and genre of the medieval house laws, enacting regulations to ensure
against any possible power alignment that might threaten the dominance of his ...
Ieyasu], Ieyasu raised a fundamental question concerning legitimacy, including
whether there is such a thing as right and wrong — a question Shotoku had
already raised in his Constitution from the standpoint of Mahayana "Emptiness,"
As for the phrase that 'In taking the empire they went against the Way and in
keeping it they followed the Way' — this [moral relativism] is applicable only to
actions such as lies, deceit and opportunistic plotting.15 Here Ieyasu proposes a
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