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The Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy

Confucianism and Liberal Democracy: Uneasy Marriage or Productive Partnership?


Thursday, April 10, 2014
12:00 p.m.
Barat House, Boston College Law School

with Joseph Chan
University of Hong Kong

Space is limited. Lunch will be served. RSVP by 4/07.
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about the speaker



Joseph Chan is the head of the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong. He earned his undergraduate degree in political science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, his M.Sc. at the London School of Economics, and his D.Phil. at Oxford University.

Professor Chan researches in the areas of contemporary liberalism, political philosophy, and civil society. Specifically, he has concentrated on the ways in which Confucian political thought can mix with liberal democratic traditions and the implications for this on human rights, social justice, and civil liberty. Decoupling democratic institutions from their typical foundation in liberal political philosophy and individual sovereignty, he advocates that they can be grounded on Confucian principles in such a way that democratic governance and participation are strengthened, not hindered. In this way, the spirit of the Confucian ideal can address modern social and political challenges. He explores these issues in his book Confucian Perfectionism: A Political Philosophy for Modern Times (January, 2014).

Professor Chan has been a visiting scholar at the Harvard-Yenching Institute and a founding director of the University of Hong Kong Centre for Civil Society and Governance. His articles have been published in China Quarterly, Ethics, History of Political Thought, Journal of Chinese Philosophy, Journal of Democracy, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Philosophy and Public Affairs, and Philosophy East and West.