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Volume #20, Number #2

Published in December, 2016

By proposing a Hegelian reinterpretation of Mou Tsung-san’s theory of democracy, this paper seeks to argue that Confucian democracy may be regarded as “ethical democracy.”  The paper is organized into four major parts. First, although Mou’s aim in advocating Confucian democracy is to surpass the limits of “procedural democracy” anchored in “rights-based liberalism,” Mou’s search for the moral basis of democracy oscillates between Kantianism and Hegelianism, which indicates that there are two different approaches to interpreting his political thought. Second, while the Kantian approach is more prevalent, its defenders do not take into account that Kant’s “morality of self-determination” in fact accommodates a form of “rights-based liberalism,” and that Hegel’s “ethics of self-realization” plays a crucial role in formulating “perfectionist liberalism,” which marks an “ethical turn to liberalism.” Third, the ultimate end of Mou’s philosophical enterprise actually bears striking resemblance to post-Kantian philosophers. Indeed, Mou tries to reveal both the limits of Kant and the contributions that Chinese culture can make to transcend Kant. Fourth, Mou’s understanding of the dialectical relationship between morals and politics and his interpretation of the “blossoming of democracy” clearly reflect a debt to Hegel. Ultimately, this study on Mou Tsung-san’s cross-cultural reconstruction of Hegelian “perfectionist liberalism” and its embrace of deep ethical imports can help to draw out the practical implications of the “politics of humanity” in the modern epoch.

Roy Tseng

Researchers of partisan voters have been assuming that there is a solid difference between “independent” voters and partisan voters (including leaners). This is hardly the case in the Taiwan context, a democracy with a two-party presidential system, where over 40 percent of voters are partisans, but claim to be independent in most telephone surveys. Pollsters, researchers, and journalists have been calculating the distribution of party supporters by either omitting these “independent” voters due to the unavailability of the data, or simply applying counterintuitive formulae to guess the distribution of the respondents with missing data. This study  avoid the definition of these not-so-well-defined “independent” voters, but takes aim at these “invisible” or “closet” voters and attempts to  the partisan orientation behind their ambivalent answers to telephone surveys.

With this in mind, we took a series of steps, including qualitative and quantitative ones. First, we used a representative sample, conducted in January 2014 (N=1,072) in Taiwan via an RDD telephone survey. This survey included the conventional party identification question plus a series of theory-based alternative questions that we evaluated as triggering respondents’ mobilized reasoning regarding the two major political parties, the Kuomintang (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). We then created an index for partisan respondents of the two political camps, and applied the score patterns to the closet respondents. In another follow up survey (March 2014) that targeted the closet respondents, we found that the correctness of prediction using the index was about 70%. We then targeted and interviewed the most ambivalent closet voters and explored how their partisan mobilized reasoning was (and failed to be) triggered by the alternative survey questions. We concluded with a few survey questions that future electoral studies can use for probing closet voters. The rich implications of the findings for improving the accuracy of predicting partisan votes, the debates about the characteristics of independent voters, and the development of partisan motivated reasoning theories are discussed.

Frank C. S. Liu, Ai-jhen Tsai

This study aims to examine the ever-changing constitutive meaning of the Taiwanese identity from a generational perspective. We argue that the idea of identifying-as-Taiwanese has been transformed from a primordial-based ethnic identity to a civic-based national identity, which can be systematically differentiated between younger and older generations. By using data from the 2013 Taiwan Social Change Survey (TSCS)-National Identity module, the results reveal that youth are more likely to identify themselves as Taiwanese because of their affiliation with the political community and their objection to reunifying with China, while the elderly tend to consider themselves to be Taiwanese based on ethnic ties and historical memories. The generational differences within the Taiwanese identity not only explain why this identity has become more acceptable in society, but also demonstrate the formation of a new Taiwanese nation.

Kuan-chen Lee, Wan-ying Yang

Since President Ma's inauguration in 2008, the number of people who recognize themselves to be Taiwanese has been on the increase, and it has become higher than it ever was during Chen Shui-bian’s administration. Some scholars have commented that “with the improvement in the cross–Strait relationship, the Taiwanese identity is in fact growing stronger.” The purpose of this article is to provide an in-depth investigation into the following questions: What is the basis of the Taiwanese people’s self-identification? What is the actual impact on the self-identification of the Taiwanese public following the process of extensive exchange in the Taiwan Strait? The research hypothesis and variables in this paper are designed under the theoretical frameworks of “the nationalist self-identity” and, in addition, “intergroup relation theory” which examines group identification. Through employing the “structural equation model” (SEM) and analyzing data obtained from telephone interviews, it was discovered that two competing national identities are important factors in shaping the Taiwanese people’s self-identity. Subjects lacking previous contact or experience with Mainland China tend to feel stronger differentiation between the two identities. However, if subjects are more familiar with Mainland China, their national identity, which emphasizes the difference between Taiwanese and Chinese, will be modified. The modification will not, however, change their original national identity. This study not only strengthens the conventional approach of emotional/symbolic identity analysis, but also observes the impacts of the very comprehensive cross-Strait relationship. 

Chih-cheng Meng

Malapportionment in Taiwan’s legislature is above the global average, with nearly 8% of all seats apportioned to districts that would not otherwise have them. Some of this malapportionment is explicitly intended and has a normative justification based in the importance of maintaining communities of interest. However, most of the malapportionment is unintended. This paper identifies four sources of malapportionment, including the decision to distribute seats to cities, counties, and indigenous people, the size of the legislature, the process of drawing districts within cities and counties, and population growth. Of these, more than half of the total malapportionment stems from the decision to cut the size of the legislature in half. Malapportionment has several concrete political results. It slightly inflates the voice of rural areas, significantly inflates the voice of indigenous people, and dramatically inflates the voice of voters in offshore islands, especially in Lienchiang County. It also creates a normatively unjustifiable partisan bias of roughly 2.5-3.0% toward the KMT-led blue camp and against the DPP. The paper concludes by discussing possible remedies, including expanding the number of seats and changing the electoral formula.

Nathan F. Batto