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Confucianism and toleration

In contexts of political philosophy, Confucianism is frequently identified as a culture with a long evolving history in China, with branches in other countries such as Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia that were amalgamated with other local cultures, and now with a broader diaspora. In the diaspora, Confucianism usually is associated with local enclaves of East Asian people situated in other countries like “China towns.” All these parts of Confucian culture have been historically evolving and have differed from one another by how they have adapted to the larger cultural contexts. But they have continuity with one another by lineages of interpretation of core texts among the intellectuals and habits of social and ritual formation, such as an emphasis on family and filial piety. In these contexts of political philosophy, it frequently seems beside the point for non-East Asians to claim to be Confucians unless they “go native” in some East Asian culture.

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