Bogdan Diþoiu
The purpose of this article is to explore how European philosophers have used Confucian characteristics to support their own ideas and theories. The article's focus of debate is that from the Enlightenment movement of the 18 th century a specific group of thinkers appeared: one that used Confucianism to criticize or eulogize Western societies, or American or European politics. As a matter of fact, from Voltaire and Leibniz there have been several Western thinkers that have used Confucian
more » ... to construct a rationalist and humane substitute [to Western thinking] for harmonizing public and government interest. Since more than 400 years ago, continuous relations between Western (European at first) and China have always been characterized by what some would call debates over the values and ideas of the day. The purpose of this paper is to talk about this long tradition of looking into China in order to show what might be right or wrong with Western thinking on governance and the problems it has to face. What I will try to reveal here is a tradition that started with the Enlightenment thinkers and their reverence to Confucian morals and ethical rule, continued with the appearance of "Oriental despotism" view and moved on to the debate concerning the Western model for modernization, only to reappear with the emergence of the so-called Asian-tigers (the economic development of Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea) and of China itself and the possibility of a Confucian model of governance. Pol. Sc. Int. Rel., XIII, 1, pp. 112-120, Bucureºti, 2016. --------* Phd Student at the Doctoral School of Literary and Cultural Studies, University of Bucharest; bogdan. ditoiu@gmail.com.