First Oxford symposium on comparative political philosophy

Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6GG
Open to the public
This event is free - register below to attend
July 2019

Recent years have seen an increasing interest among Anglo-American political theorists in comparing the diverse ways in which thinkers of different cultural traditions address political issues. Yet, despite this growing body of literature, there is still inadequate substantive engagement across different traditions about fundamental questions in political theory and public policy. The driving interest of this symposium is to promote such engagement, comparing competing (or possibly similar) answers to substantive questions, testing arguments and assumptions across traditions in philosophical debate, and then asking whether this debate can shed light on questions of substantive policy.

This year the main theme is 'political legitimacy'. Various speakers from a range of different traditions will address such issues as:

  • What conceptions of legitimacy are there in different cultural traditions?
  • How do thinkers from different traditions discuss and understand political authority?
  • How are policymaking, institutional design, as well as governance benefited from learning non-Western perspectives on legitimacy?
  • What role should public justification and religious considerations play in a law-making procedure from comparative perspective?
  • How do we compare theories of resistance and revolution in different traditions?
  • Is it legitimate to engage in cultural and national assimilation of citizens and immigrants?


Day 1 (10 July)

10.3011:00 Registration and welcome speech

11:0013:00 Keynote speaker's speech (Professor Stephen Angle)

13:0014:00 Lunch

14:0016:00 Section 1: Legitimacy and popular sovereignty

  • Herr, Ranjoo, 'Confucian democracy as popular sovereignty'
  • Tseng, Roy, 'Public dialogue between Confucianism and British idealism'

16:0016:30 Break

16:3017:30 Section 1: Legitimacy and popular sovereignty (continued)

  • Koseoglu, Talha Mukaddesatçi, 'Political thought in Cold War Turkey'

Day 2 (11 July)

09:0011:00 Section 2: Legitimacy and popular sovereignty

  • Chan, Joseph, 'Legitimacy and the Confucian service conception of authority'
  • Chan, Elton, 'Legitimacy and power relations: a Confucian case for popular sovereignty'

11:0011:30 Break

11:3012:30 Section 2: Legitimacy and popular sovereignty (continued)

  • von Vacano, Diego, 'Princely performative populism'

12:3013:30 Lunch

13:3015:30 Section 3: The cultivation of virtue

  • Wong, Baldwin, 'The division of educational labour between Confucian education and political liberalism'
  • Mang, Franz, 'Democracy, intellectual virtues and Confucianism'

15:3016:00 Break

16:0017:00 Section 3: The cultivation of virtues (continued)

  • Rathnam, Lincoln, “Ritual, consent and commitment Confucianism and political legitimacy'

Day 3 (12 July)

9:0012:00 Section 4: Ruling and resistance

  • Caporioni, Giovanni, “The limit of human plasticity Jiwei Ci on domination and resistance in liberal order'
  • Ip, Kevin, 'Political Authority and Resistance to Injustice'
  • Lee, Wilson, 'Confucianism and totalitarianism: Mengzi and Xunzi reconsidered via Arendt'
  • Lai, Larry, 'Is political resistance morally justified in authoritarian regime? A Chinese Legalist perspective'

12:0013:00 Lunch

13:00–16:00 Session 5: Legitimacy in context

  • Zhao, Wenqing, 'Two laws, not one  legitimacy and legality in Huang Zongxij
  • Kwon, Kyung Rok, 'Affective accountability and political legitimacy in Confucian Sentimentalist representation'
  • Rodrigues, Shaunna, 'An Islamic justification of a liberal political conception'

After 16:00 Conference ends. A free discussion of future collaboration in bar afterwards.

Please note: Lunch will not be provided during the conference.