Confucius and the superorganism

In Philip J. Ivanhoe, Owen Flanagan, Victoria Harrison, Hagop Sarkissian & Eric Schwitzgebel (eds.), The Oneness Hypothesis: Beyond the Boundary of Self. New York, NY, USA: pp. 305-320 (2018)
Authors
Hagop Sarkissian
CUNY Graduate Center
Abstract
In this paper, I describe a sense of oneness that, while having its roots in a tradition of thought far removed from our own, might nonetheless be of relevance to persons today. It is not a oneness with all of humanity, let alone with all the creatures under the sky or all the elements of the cosmos. Nevertheless, it is a sense of oneness that transcends one’s own person and connects one to a larger whole. I will be calling this conception that of a superorganism, to borrow a phrase the natural and social sciences. I reconstruct this sense of oneness by surveying conceptions of society in classical Confucian texts. I begin with passages from the > Analects> that can be interpreted as containing within them such a sense of oneness as superorganism. Later, I present what I take to be stronger evidence of a more explicit kind in the Daxue and Zhongyong chapters of the > Liji> . I then conclude by arguing that thinking of Confucian social and political philosophy in terms of a superorganism can be helpful in understanding why the entire project may have been ill founded.
Keywords Confucius  network theory  moral psychology  oneness  ethics
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