Authors
Thaddeus Metz
University of Johannesburg
Abstract
This article, translated into Chinese by Tian Kaifang, summarizes and critically reflects on the current state of the literature that has recently begun to put Chinese Confucianism into dialogue with characteristically African conceptions of what is good, what fundamentally exists, and how to obtain knowledge. As most of this literature has addressed value theory, this article focuses largely on it, too. It first illustrates how similar the foundational values are between the two cultural traditions; central to both traditional China and Africa is an ethic prescribing the development of one’s humanness through virtues that honour harmonious relationships. The article then indicates how the two traditions nonetheless have different understandings of the nature of harmony, which have grounded divergent judgments of which practices are morally desirable. The final section of the article discusses ontology and epistemology, which are extremely under-developed in the comparative literature, and it suggests some avenues for future research on these topics.
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