A humanist synthesis of memory, language, and emotions: Qian Mu's interpretation of Confucian philosophy
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 8 (4):425-437 (2009)
While Qian Mu intentionally avoided systematic philosophical arguments, his references to memory, language, and emotions, as expressed in a book he wrote in 1948, were suggestive of new interpretations of traditional Chinese, and especially Confucian, ideas such as human autonomy, mind, human nature, morality, immortality, and spirituality. The foremost contribution of Qian’s humanist synthesis rests in its articulation of the idea of the person. Across the context of memory, language, and emotions, the tiyong dynamics of mind and human nature recreate, in modern terms, the traditional Chinese concept of the person who is individually unique and simultaneously interrelated. Avoiding the extreme polarities of individualism and collectivism, he stresses rather their coexistence. His synthesis explains to the Chinese people something about who they are, the meaning in life in the framework of their culture, and how their (revitalized) way of life is at its best in the most important area, that of human relations.
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