Tocqueville between America and China and Democracy

Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 21 (3):431-449 (2022)
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Abstract

This essay critically revisits Jiwei Ci’s prudential argument for political democracy in China from the very Tocquevillian standpoint on which Ci’s core theoretical argument is predicated. I argue that Ci’s underlying assumption and argument regarding the enabling conditions of democracy actually depart significantly from Tocqueville’s own view due to Ci’s overly positive understanding of equality of conditions as directly constitutive of a democratic society and his assumed causal connection between capitalist society and political democracy. After clarifying what Tocqueville meant by equality of conditions and discussing his prudential remedy for the perils of democracy, I conclude by suggesting an alternative pragmatic and prudential justification for democracy in China that is more consistent with the Tocquevillian conception of democracy.

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Politesse and Public Opinion in Stendhal’s Red and Black.Richard Boyd - 2005 - European Journal of Political Theory 4 (4):367-392.
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Sungmoon Kim
City University of Hong Kong

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