Contemporary Rituals and the Confucian Tradition: a Critical Discussion

Journal of Chinese Philosophy 39 (2):290-309 (2012)

Howard Curzer
Texas Tech University
After defining what I mean by “rituals,” I list some benefits claimed for rituals by Confucians, but then go on to develop utilitarian, existentialist, liberal, radical, and Confucian critiques of rituals. (The Confucian critiques are particularly poignant. Rituals can hinder, rather than forward the goals of the Confucian tradition.) The drawbacks of rituals are not merely historical accidents; they grow out of essential features of rituals and are ineliminable. Yet there is hope. Because the drawbacks appear when rituals decay, they can be ameliorated by fostering the creation of new rituals as alternatives to the old ones
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DOI 10.1111/j.1540-6253.2012.01719.x
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