A series of lectures by Joseph Chan,Professor, Department of Politics and Public Administration and Associate Director of the Centre for Civil Society and Governance, The University of Hong Kong
Seminar 1: Interplay between ideal and nonideal thinking in early Confucian political thought (Tuesday, 16 November, 2010, 2-3:45 p.m.)
Seminar 2: Confucian ideal conception of the ruler-ruled relationship (Thursday, 18 November, 2010, 2:00-3:45p.m.)
Seminar 3: Confucians today and the roles and functions of human rights in ideal and non-ideal conditions (Friday, 19 November, 2010, 2-3:45p.m.)
Abstract: This seminar series examines early Confucian political thought and its contemporary relevance from a perspective that explores the intricate interplay between political ideal and reality. The series develops two tracks of theorizing—one track is to explain or justify a Confucian conception of social and political order on the ideal level, bracketing practical questions of feasibility and compliance; another track is to develop a non-ideal conception of the order that addresses those practical questions. The challenge of this two-track theorizing is two-fold: to justify keeping the ideal conception even though it is not likely to work in the real world and show how a feasible non-ideal conception of order still tallies with the Confucian ideal conception and keeps its aspiration. In other words, the challenge is to maintain a proper interplay between ideal and reality in the two-track theorizing.
The first seminar of the series introduces the interplay between ideal and nonideal thinking in early Confucian political thought. The second and third seminars apply that general perspective to political relationships and human rights respectively. The second seminar describes the Confucian ideal conception of the ruler-ruled relationship and discusses whether there are non-ideal political institutions that can maintain a proper interplay between ideal and reality. The third seminar discusses how Confucians today should understand the roles and functions of human rights in ideal and non-ideal conditions.
About the Speaker: Joseph Cho Wai Chan received his B.Soc.Sc in politics from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and M.Sc. and D.Phil. in political philosophy from the LSE and Oxford University respectively. He is Professor at the Department of Politics and Public Administration and Associate Director of the Centre for Civil Society and Governance, The University of Hong Kong. His recent research interests include Confucian political philosophy, contemporary liberalism and political perfectionism, the theory and practice of human rights, and civil society and social cohesion. He is working on a book tentatively titled Confucian Political Philosophy: A Critical Reconstruction for Modern Times.
More information on the Philosophy Seminar Series can be found here.