Posted by: Principal/Editor | August 18, 2014

Political Values in Asia, the ASEAN Political Security Community, and Confucius’ Philosophy

Vicente Reyes & Charlene Tan

This article critically discusses political values in Asia with a focus on the relevance of Confucius’ philosophy to the ASEAN political security community. It begins by examining the formation of ASEAN, ‘Asian values’ and ‘ASEAN Way’. This is followed by highlighting the key characteristics, challenges and future of the ASEAN political security community in the 21st century. The next part of the inquiry focuses on one example of ‘Asian values’ – the political philosophy of Confucius. It is explained that Confucius underscores the importance of good government through the rule by virtue, and active political involvement of everyone in accordance with li (normative attitudes, values and behaviours). It is argued that Confucius’ philosophy has the potential to contribute towards the flourishing of the ASEAN political security community in two main ways. First, Confucius’ philosophy supports the ASEAN Way of Mushyawara (consultation) and Mufakat (consensus). Secondly, Confucius’ philosophy points to a possible shared political framework for the ASEAN political security that is underpinned by communitarianism.

This working paper has now been published as a book chapter in the volume entitled Norms, Interests, and Values: Conflict and Consent in the Constitutional Basic Order. Details about the book chapter can be accessed through this link:


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