Rational awareness of the ultimate in human life — the confucian concept of “destiny”

Frontiers of Philosophy in China 4 (3):309-321 (2009)
Abstract
The Confucian idea of “ ming 命 (destiny)” holds that in the course and culmination of human life, there exists some objective certainty that is both transcendent and beyond human control. This is a concept of ultimate concern at the transcendental theoretical level in Confucianism. During its historical development, Confucianism has constantly offered humanist interpretations of the idea of “destiny”, thinking that the transcendence of “destiny” lies inherently within the qi endowment and virtues of human beings, that the certainty of “destiny” is in essence contingency at the beginning of life and linear irreversibility towards its end, and that to live in light of ethics and physical rules — having a “commitment to human affairs” — means putting “destiny” into practice. As all these facts show, the Confucian ultimate concern regarding human life is full of rational awareness.
Keywords Confucianism  destiny  ultimate concern  rational awareness  儒家    终极关怀  理性自觉
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