The propriety of confucius: A sense-of-ritual

Asian Philosophy 20 (1):1 – 25 (2010)
In the philosophy of Confucius, the concept _li_ is both central and elusive. While it is often translated 'ritual' or 'the rites,' I argue that there are numerous significant ways in which _li_ is as much an internal property of individuals as it is an external set of rules or norms. I discuss _li_ as deference, as developed dispositions, as embodied intelligence, and as personalized exemplary conduct. Finally, reflecting on the work of Fingarette, and Hall and Ames, as well as Wilson's analysis of their work, I argue that the external _aspect_ of _li_, although reasonably understood under the rubric of 'traditional norms,' may nonetheless legitimately evolve, and that this coheres well with the notion that an internal sense-of-ritual is integral to the meaning of _li_
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DOI 10.1080/09552360903577576
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