Confucius’ Junzi : The conceptions of self in Confucian

Educational Philosophy and Theory 50 (13):1171-1179 (2017)

Confucius reinvented the concept of Junzi (君子), an idea of personhood which invites continual assessment whether the concerns people were once devoted to are worthy of ongoing devotion, and how they make a place in the world—a place where they hope they can exercise some governance in their lives. Junzi (君子)is a agent, and has the properties and powers to monitor their lives, and to contribute to societal transformation. Cultivating a person is centrally involved in the politics of subjectivity, in forming and constituting the self because self always reflects the bounds and conventions of its history. The term Junzi (君子)is harnessed to make the individual a significant element for the state through the exercise of a form of power. So this kind of self-mastery incorporates notions of governmentality, freedom and the historical–social context to understandings of the self. So if we understand that the essence of civil society consists in agency-building self-transformation, there is ample evidence that Confucius was committed to reconstructing moral agency and civil society in a way that would be characteristically Confucian. Junzi is the case in point.
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DOI 10.1080/00131857.2017.1395738
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