Springer Verlag (2018)

Eske Møllgaard
University of Rhode Island
This book critically examines the Confucian political imagination and its influence on the contemporary Chinese dream of a powerful China. It views Confucianism as the ideological supplement to a powerful state that is challenging Western hegemony, and not as a political philosophy that need not concern us. Eske Møllgaard shows that Confucians, despite their traditionalist ways, have the will to transform the existing socio-ethical order. The volume discusses the central features of the Confucian political imaginary, the nature of Confucian discourse, Confucian revivals, Confucian humanism and civility, and the political ideal of the Great Unity. It concludes by considering if Confucianism can be universalized as an ideology in competition with liberal democracy.
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ISBN(s) 978-3-319-74898-6   978-3-319-74899-3   331974898X   3030091007   9783319748986
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-74899-3
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Chapters BETA
Can Confucianism be Universalized?

This chapter considers the question of whether Confucianism can be universalized in the contemporary world. After European imperialism, the fall of communism, and loss of faith in American neo-liberalism as the end of history, the notion of universality seems to be moribund. But China explicitly put... see more

Decline of the Great Unity

The Confucian Great Unity of ruler-Confucians-people is a sacred power similar to the God-King-Nation unity in Western Christian culture, and today it is undergoing its own secularization. This chapter considers each part of the Great Unity in its process of weakening: the Communist Party is transfo... see more


This chapter presents a critique of Confucian civility and social harmony grounded in the notion of ritual . The chapter considers what Confucius says about ritual and describes Xunzi’s magnificent picture of ritual, which became the view of ritual in imperial China. The chapters one account of ritu... see more


This chapter analyzes the Confucian notion of humanity . It is argued that Confucian humanism is a form of what Giorgio Agamben calls an anthropological machine, that is to say, a specific way of separating the human and the non-human. The Confucian sage first institutes the split between the human ... see more

The Revivals

This chapter considers Confucian revivals. Confucians considered the time after Mencius to be one long decline, and Confucianism is therefore a series of ever more radical attempts to revive the discourse of the sages . The chapter presents a rhetorical analysis of two exemplary Confucian texts that... see more

The Discourse

This chapter describes the salient features of Confucian discourse and then turns to a paradigmatic example of this discourse found in a dialogue in Mencius . In this dialogue Mencius submits the king to the Confucian political imaginary; once the king, through the dialogue, has accepted this imagin... see more

The Imaginary

This chapter considers the Confucian political imaginary, its relation to Chinese culture, and its continued influence today. It explains two central figures of thought in the Confucian political imaginary, the noble person and the Great Unity , as well as the temporality of the Confucian imaginary ... see more

Introduction: The Confucian Challenge

This chapter describes the revival of Confucianism in contemporary China both at the level of government, and among intellectuals and the common people. For the first time the West is forced to consider Confucianism not as an exotic philosophy that need not concern us but as the ideological suppleme... see more

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Citations of this work BETA

Translation and Transmutation: The Origin of Species in China.Xiaoxing Jin - 2019 - British Journal for the History of Science 52 (1):117-141.
On Reconstructions of Confucius as a Philosopher.Eske Møllgaard - 2021 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 20 (4):661-666.

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