The Confucian Conception of Freedom

Philosophy East and West 64 (4):902-919 (2014)

Chenyang Li
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Freedom is intrinsic to a good life. An account of the Confucian conception of the good life must include a reasonable conception of freedom. Studies in Chinese ideas of freedom, however, have been focused mostly on Daoism. A quick survey of some fine books on Chinese philosophy shows little result on Confucian freedom.1 In this essay, I argue that attributing a notion of “free will” to Confucian philosophy has serious limitations; it will be more fruitful to draw on contemporary feminist theories of freedom and autonomy, particularly the notion of autonomy competency, in explicating Confucian freedom. Thus, I articulate the Confucian notion of freedom in terms of choosing , and advance a Confucian ..
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DOI 10.1353/pew.2014.0066
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