Asian Philosophy 22 (4):365-374 (2012)

Authors
Daniel Johnson
Shawnee State University
Abstract
There is a remarkable and surprising connection to be found between an argument of Søren Kierkegaard’s and one of Zhuangzi’s—what I call the ‘social misfit’ critique. I will argue that this connection highlights a hitherto unacknowledged parallel between the moral thought of their respective targets: Hegel in the case of Kierkegaard and Confucius in the case of Zhuangzi. Specifically, it reveals a significant parallel between Hegel’s movement from Moralitat to Sittlichkeit and Confucius’ position on the central and irreducible role of li (ritual or propriety) in morality. I will begin by briefly tracing the ‘social misfit’ critique as it is found in Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling and in the Zhuangzi. In Section 2, I will sketch Hegel’s argument for the indispensability and irreducibility of social norms (Sittlichkeit) for morality, and reflect on the implications of this move for the possibility of social criticism. Finally, I will argue that Confucius can be understood as articulating a vision of morality and of social criticism very close to Hegel’s.
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DOI 10.1080/09552367.2012.729326
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References found in this work BETA

Thinking Through Confucius.David L. Hall & Roger T. Ames - 1991 - Philosophy East and West 41 (2):241-254.
Hegel’s Ethical Thought.Allen W. Wood - 1990 - Cambridge University Press.
Confucius: The Secular as Sacred.Herbert Fingarette - 1974 - Religious Studies 10 (2):245-246.

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