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Humanities for Everyone

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Confucius Says, “Lead Them with Virtue”

November 5, 2016
11:00 am
- 12:15 pm

Dudley H. Davis Center
Image of Confucius statue
Please note: This talk is part of our 2016 Fall Conference. You must have registered for the conference to attend this event.

In premodern China, Japan, and Korea, Confucian teachings were akin to state orthodoxy. This orthodoxy held that the ruler and his officials were to govern the people paternalistically—not democratically, not representatively. Their right to rule was grounded in their cultivated goodness and wisdom, in their capacity to give the people moral guidance. As a consequence, in the end, social and political harmony would come to prevail. This was Confucius’ ideal of good government. Was it practicable? Did Confucius believe it could really work? Does today’s China reflect a legacy of this traditional notion of paternalistic government?”

Led by: Daniel Gardner, Dwight W. Morrow Professor of History, Smith College


Image by Kevinsmithnyc/Wikipedia Commons


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