Democracy after Virtue: Toward Pragmatic Democracy

In the past two decades, contemporary Confucian political theory has been propelled by the dialectical conversation between Confucianism and democracy and, more recently, between Confucian democracy and Confucian meritocracy. However, the absence of a shared point of reference in developing Confucian democratic theory has made it extremely difficult to understand whether the disagreement between Confucian democrats and Confucian meritocrats is merely a political one or is also of philosophical significance.

Democracy after Virtue explores a normative Confucian democratic theory that justifies democracy on pragmatic grounds, both as a political system and as a way of life in East Asia, with special attention to Confucianism, a dominant cultural tradition in the region, as well as to the value pluralism and moral conflict that increasingly characterize the circumstances of East Asian politics. It presents “pragmatic Confucian democracy” as a fresh normative framework that can help (1) identify the social circumstances that require a democracy as a political system in a Confucian society, (2) explain the internal connection between two dimensions of democracy that are commonly presented in political science as being at odds with each other, (3) make sense of the value of democracy coherently with reference to its two dimensions, (4) illuminate the theoretical connection between democratic procedures and the outcomes they produce, and (5) articulate distinctively Confucian democratic principles of justice in criminal punishment, economic distribution, and international relations (humanitarian intervention in particular) from a pragmatic standpoint.

Author: Sungmoon Kim
Published Date: 2018
Publisher: Oxford University Press

composed by Arswain
machine learning consultation by Anna Tskhovrebov
commissioned by the Berggruen Institute
premiered at the Bradbury Building
downtown Los Angeles
april 22, 2022

Human perception of what sounds “beautiful” is necessarily biased and exclusive. If we are to truly expand our hearing apparatus, and thus our notion of beauty, we must not only shed preconceived sonic associations but also invite creative participation from beings non-human and non-living. We must also begin to cede creative control away from ourselves and toward such beings by encouraging them to exercise their own standards of beauty and collaborate with each other.

Movement I: Alarm Call
‘Alarm Call’ is a long-form composition and sound collage that juxtaposes, combines, and manipulates alarm calls from various human, non-human, and non-living beings. Evolutionary biologists understand the alarm call to be an altruistic behavior between species, who, by warning others of danger, place themselves by instinct in a broader system of belonging. The piece poses the question: how might we hear better to broaden and enhance our sense of belonging in the universe? Might we behave more altruistically if we better heed the calls of – and call out to – non-human beings?

Using granular synthesis, biofeedback, and algorithmic modulation, I fold the human alarm call – the siren – into non-human alarm calls, generating novel “inter-being” sonic collaborations with increasing sophistication and complexity. 

Movement II: A.I.-Truism
A synthesizer piece co-written with an AI in the style of Vangelis’s Blade Runner score, to pay homage to the space of the Bradbury Building.

Movement III: Alarmism
A machine learning model “learns” A.I.Truism and recreates Alarm Call, generating an original fusion of the two.

Movement IV: A.I. Call
A machine learning model “learns” Alarm Call and recreates A.I.Truism, generating an original fusion of the two.