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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The remaining articles of the constitution display a continuing contrast and
tension between Shotoku's insistence on the supremacy of imperial authority and
the difficulty of fixing the truth as the ground of this authority. Thus, on the one
Fan's Extended Meaning, by contrast, had expanded on the Six Precepts in the
same way as Zhen Dexiu (1 178-1235) had done in his Extended Meaning of the
Great Learning (Daxue yanyi).2 Thus popularization underwent successive ...
But in contrast to other East Asians (Yokoi Shonan, for example), whose political
thinking was strongly conditioned by Zhu Xi's formula of "self-discipline for the
governance of men," Liang was also conscious of the necessary corrective and ...
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