Book symposium: Confucian Constitutionalism Dignity, Rights, and Democracy (Oxford University Press 2023)
Sungmoon Kim, Chair Professor of Political Philosophy, City University of Hong Kong
Confucian Constitutionalism presents a constitutional theory of democratic self-government that is normatively appealing and politically practicable in East Asia's historically Confucian societies, which are increasingly pluralist, multicultural, and rights sensitive. Building on his previous theory of Confucian democracy, Sungmoon Kim establishes egalitarian human dignity as the underlying moral value of Confucian democratic constitutionalism and derives two foundational rights from Confucian egalitarian dignity—the equal right to political participation and the equal right to constitutional protection of civil and political rights. He then shows how each of these rights justifies the establishment of the legislature and the judiciary respectively as two independent constitutional institutions equally committed to the protection and promotion of the people's moral and material wellbeing, now reformulated in terms of rights. Aiming to contribute to both political theory and comparative law, Confucian Constitutionalism explains how Confucian democratic constitutionalism differs from and improves upon liberal legal constitutionalism, political constitutionalism, and Confucian meritocratic constitutionalism.
About the Author
Sungmoon Kim is Chair Professor of Political Philosophy and Director of the Center for East Asian and Comparative Philosophy at the City University of Hong Kong. He received a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Maryland at College Park and taught previously at the University of Richmond and Yonsei University. His research interests include Confucian democratic and constitutional theory, East Asian political thought, and comparative political theory, and his essays have appeared in journals such as American Political Science Review, British Journal of Political Science, Constellations, Contemporary Political Theory, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, European Journal of Political Theory, History of Political Thought, Journal of the History of Ideas, Journal of Politics, Law & Social Inquiry, Philosophy East and West, Philosophy & Social Criticism, and The Review of Politics among others. Kim's other books include Confucian Democracy in East Asia: Theory and Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2014), Public Reason Confucianism: Democratic Perfectionism and Constitutionalism in East Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2016), Democracy after Virtue: Toward Pragmatic Confucian Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2018), Theorizing Confucian Virtue Politics: The Political Philosophy of Mencius and Xunzi (Cambridge University Press, 2020), and Im Yunjidang (Cambridge University Press, 2022). In 2016-2017, Kim was a Berggruen Fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.