: This is a study of the Confucian ideal of harmony and harmonization (he 和). First, through an investigation of the early development of he in ancient China, the meaning of this concept is explored. Second, a philosophical analysis of he and a discussion of the relation between harmony, sameness, and strife are offered. Also offered are reasons why this notion is so important to Confucian philosophy. Finally, on the basis of value pluralism, a case is made for the Confucian (...) approach of he to the politics of today's world culture. (shrink)
A major controversy in the study of the "Analects" has been over the relation between two central concepts, ren (humanity, human excellence) and li (rites, rituals of propriety). Confucius seems to have said inconsistent things about this relation. Some passages appear to suggest that ren is more fundamental than li, while others seem to imply the contrary. It is therefore not surprising that there have been different interpretations and characterizations of this relation. Using the analogy of language grammar and mastery (...) of a language, it is proposed here that we should understand li as a cultural grammar and ren as the mastery of a culture. In this account, society cultivates its members through li toward the goal of ren, and persons of ren manifest their human excellence through their practice of li. (shrink)
This article compares Confucian ethics of Jen and feminist ethics of care. It attempts to show that they share philosophically significant common grounds. Its findings affirm the view that care-orientation in ethics is not a characteristic peculiar to one sex. It also shows that care-orientation is not peculiar to subordinated social groups. Arguing that the oppression of women is not an essential element of Confucian ethics, the author indicates the Confucianism and feminism are compatible.
At two fronts I defend my 1994 article. I argue that differences between Confucian jen ethics and feminist care ethics do not preclude their shared commonalities in comparison with Kantian, utilitarian, and contractarian ethics, and that Confucians do care. I also argue that Confucianism is capable of changing its rules to reflect its renewed understanding of jen, that care ethics is feminist, and that similarities between Confucian and care ethics have significant implications.
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 .. (shrink)
In recent years, scholars of Confucian ethics have debated on important issues such as whether Confucian ethics embraces, or should embrace, universal values and impartiality. Some have argued that Confucian ethics integrates both care and justice, and that Confucian ethics is both particularistic and universalistic. In this essay, I will defend a view of the relation between care and justice and the relation between care ethics and justice ethics on the basis of the notion of 'configuration of values,' and show (...) why care ethics and justice ethics cannot be integrated. I will support this view by a reading of some pertinent passages in the Mencius. (shrink)
Does morality require the filial obligation of grown children toward their aged parents? First, problems with some accounts of filial morality that have been put forth in recent years in the West are examined (Jane English, Jeffrey Blustein, and others), and then it is shown how Confucianism provides a sensible alternative perspective.
There is an inner thoroughness spirit in traditional Chinese learning of classics—the so-called "Guoxue" in Chinese. Only on this foundation of "thoroughness" spirit can academics show its vigorous culture life and spiritual life, which makes traditional Chinese learning of classics pursue the transcendence of heaven and man and can’t be divided into a religion. Our traditional Chinese values and its original significance exist in our traditional academic system and the enlightenment of propriety and music. As for the self—identification, because of (...) the lost of the "thoroughness" spirit and original significance foundation, the traditional Chinese learning of classics concealed their academic specialties that make the reconstruction of modern Chinese culture lack a solid foundation. Currently, various colleges, institutes and centers of traditional Chinese learning have been set up in many universities, but “Guoxue” should not be taken as one special subject far from the other disciplines, and we should make efforts to reconstruct the traditional Chinese learning of classics ("Guoxue") as a primitive significance-adding foundation or “academic home”. (shrink)
This article offers a study of the early formation and development of the ideal of harmony in ancient Chinese philosophy and ancient Greek philosophy. It shows that, unlike the Pythagorean notion of harmony, which is primarily based on a linear progressive model with a pre-set order, the ancient Chinese concept of harmony is best understood as a comprehensive process of harmonization. It encompasses spatial as well as temporal dimensions, metaphysical as well as moral and aesthetical dimensions. It is a fundamentally (...) open notion in the sense that it does not aim to conform to any pre-set order. This broader, richer, and more liberal understanding of harmony has had a profound influence on Chinese culture as whole in its long history. (shrink)
A major controversy in the study of the "Analects" has been over the relation between two central concepts, ren and li. Confucius seems to have said inconsistent things about this relation. Some passages appear to suggest that ren is more fundamental than li, while others seem to imply the contrary. It is therefore not surprising that there have been different interpretations and characterizations of this relation. Using the analogy of language grammar and mastery of a language, it is proposed here (...) that we should understand li as a cultural grammar and ren as the mastery of a culture. In this account, society cultivates its members through li toward the goal of ren, and persons of ren manifest their human excellence through their practice of li. (shrink)
This essay introduces the philosophy of harmony in Classical Confucianism. In the first part of the essay the author summarizes the concept of harmony as it was developed in various Confucian classics. In the second part, the author offers an account of the Confucian program of harmony, ranging from internal harmony in the person, to harmony in the family, the state, the international world, and finally to harmony in the entire universe.
There is an inner thoroughness spirit in traditional Chinese learning of classics—the so-called "Guoxue" in Chinese. Only on this foundation of "thoroughness" spirit can academics show its vigorous culture life and spiritual life, which makes traditional Chinese learning of classics pursue the transcendence of heaven and man and can’t be divided into a religion. Our traditional Chinese values and its original significance exist in our traditional academic system and the enlightenment of propriety and music. As for the self—identification, because of (...) the lost of the "thoroughness" spirit and original significance foundation, the traditional Chinese learning of classics concealed their academic specialties that make the reconstruction of modern Chinese culture lack a solid foundation. Currently, various colleges, institutes and centers of traditional Chinese learning have been set up in many universities, but “Guoxue” should not be taken as one special subject far from the other disciplines, and we should make efforts to reconstruct the traditional Chinese learning of classics as a primitive significance-adding foundation or “academic home”. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This paper attempts to show that the acorn–oak tree argument against the slippery slope on the personhood of the fetus is valid and William Cooney's attack on this argument fails. I also argue that the slippery slope argument leads to on undesirable conclusion and should not be used as a valid tool in the debate on the personhood of the fetus.
I argue that the nature of the international human rights discourse ("IHRD") is to promote certain moral values across various cultural traditions; as such, this should be done through persuasion; it should not merely be forcing people to change their behavior; it should seek to have people accept certain moral values that they have not embraced or accept certain moral values as more important than they have held them to be. With persuasion as a goal, we need to make strategies (...) suitable for this purpose. The paper has the following sections. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that Fan Ruiping’s explication of the Confucian notion of li 禮 is problematic in several ways. First, his division of human activities into “social” and “natural” is less than illuminating, as human “natural” activities are already inescapably social. Second, I question the appropriateness for him to characterize li in terms of “closed activities,” as some rituals are evidently open-ended. Third, he seems to have overemphasized the constitutive function of li and understated its regulative function. Fourth, (...) contrary to Fan’s claim, Confucian li accomplishes “external goals” in human life as well as “internal goals.” Finally, Fan’s requirement for being a Confucian with respect to the observance of li is unrealistically high and makes it difficult for people to qualify as Confucian. (shrink)
As a genus of philosophy, comparative philosophy serves various important purposes. It helps people understand various philosophies and it helps philosophers develop new ideas and solve problems. In this essay, I first clarify the meaning of “comparative philosophy” and its main purposes, arguing that an important purpose of comparative philosophy is to help us understand cultural patterns. This function makes comparative philosophy even more significant in today’s globalized world.
This essay studies equality and inequality in Confucianism. By studying Confucius, Mencius, Xunzi, and other classic thinkers, I argue that Confucian equality is manifested in two forms. Numerical equality is founded in the Mencian belief that every person is born with the same moral potential and the Xunzian notion that all people have the same xing and the same potential for moral cultivation. It is also manifested in the form of role-based equality. Proportional equality, however, is the main notion of (...) equality in Confucian philosophy. Proportional equality is realized in moral, economic, and political realms. On the basis of these notions of Confucian equality, I propose two Confucian political principles for contemporary society. The first is the inclusive principle of general election by citizenry, and the second is the exclusive principle of qualification for public offices. (shrink)
By investigating the link between the Confucian ideal of longevity and moral cultivation, I argue that Confucian moral cultivation is founded on the ideal of harmony, and, in this connection, it promotes a holistic, healthy life, of which longevity is an important component. My argument is internal to Confucianism, in the sense that it aims to show these concepts are coherently constructed within the Confucian philosophical framework; I do not go beyond the Confucian framework to prove its validity. Finally, I (...) show that if these Confucian beliefs are true, they have serious implications for public policy-making in contemporary societies. (shrink)
: At two fronts I defend my 1994 article. I argue that differences between Confucian jen ethics and feminist care ethics do not preclude their shared commonalities in comparison with Kantian, utilitarian, and contractarian ethics, and that Confucians do care. I also argue that Confucianism is capable of changing its rules to reflect its renewed understanding of jen, that care ethics is feminist, and that similarities between Confucian and care ethics have significant implications.
The rise of China, along with problems of governance in democratic countries, has reinvigorated the theory of political meritocracy. But what is the theory of political meritocracy and how can it set standards for evaluating political progress? To help answer these questions, this volume gathers a series of commissioned research papers from an interdisciplinary group of leading philosophers, historians and social scientists. The result is the first book in decades to examine the rise of political meritocracy and what it will (...) mean for political developments in China and the rest of the world. Despite its limitations, meritocracy has contributed much to human flourishing in East Asia and beyond and will continue to do so in the future. This book is essential reading for those who wish to further the debate and perhaps even help to implement desirable forms of political change. (shrink)
This volume of new essays is the first English-language anthology devoted to Chinese metaphysics. The essays explore the key themes of Chinese philosophy, from pre-Qin to modern times, starting with important concepts such as yin-yang and qi and taking the reader through the major periods in Chinese thought - from the Classical period, through Chinese Buddhism and Neo-Confucianism, into the twentieth-century philosophy of Xiong Shili. They explore the major traditions within Chinese philosophy, including Daoism and Mohism, and a broad range (...) of metaphysical topics, including monism, theories of individuation, and the relationship between reality and falsehood. The volume will be a valuable resource for upper-level students and scholars of metaphysics, Chinese philosophy, or comparative philosophy, and with its rich insights into the ethical, social and political dimensions of Chinese society, it will also interest students of Asian studies and Chinese intellectual history. (shrink)
In this volume, leading scholars in Asian and comparative philosophy take the work of Joel J. Kupperman as a point of departure to consider new perspectives on Confucian ethics. Kupperman is one of the few eminent Western philosophers to have integrated Asian philosophical traditions into his thought, developing a character-based ethics synthesizing Western, Chinese, and Indian philosophies. With their focus on Confucian ethics, contributors respond, expand, and engage in critical dialogue with Kupperman’s views. Kupperman joins the conversation with responses and (...) comments that conclude the volume. (shrink)
The traditional ontology is a substance-ontology. It is the ontology that an object is primarily a substance, which has a definite being and properties. A lot of philosophical problems are tied to this ontology. I deconstruct the ontology of substance and propose a being-ontology. It is a way to see the world, instead of as a totality of substances, as a totality of ways of being. It has two theses. First, an object is not viewed as a substance which has (...) properties, but as an entity that has various ways of being, among which one may be viewed as prominent in certain circumstances and another in other circumstances. For example, an object is a statue, it is also a piece of marble, and many more; it is itself no more a statue than a piece of marble, nor more a piece of marble than a statue, but can be viewed as prominently a statue or a piece of marble depending on circumstances. Second, the being of an object is contextually constituted. That is, while an object has a variety of being, each being is constituted in a context. Without a context, no being can be constituted. Thus, my ontology may be viewed at two levels. On the being level, each being is contextually constituted; on the entity level, each entity is a totality of its various ways of being. My ontology is feministic and democratic, in a very broad sense of these terms, in that it deconstructs the 'totalitarian' core of objects and allows a variety of being on their own right. My ontology has consequences for other branches of philosophy. For instance, it explains why in aesthetic critiques the same object may be subject to two or more equally well-grounded assessments. Without the conception of substance, my notion of identity is relative and context-dependent. Using this ontology I offer solutions to a number of metaphysical problems, such as individual identity, personal identity, and mind-body identity, etc. (shrink)
Harmony has become a major challenge for modern governance in the twenty-first century because of the multi-religious, multi-racial and multi-ethnic character of our increasingly globalized societies. Governments all over the world are facing growing pressure to integrate the many diverse elements and subcultures which make up modern pluralistic societies. This book examines the idea of harmony, and its place in politics and governance, both in theory and practice, in Asia, the West and elsewhere. It explores and analyses the meanings, mechanisms, (...) dimensions and methodologies of harmony as a normative political ideal in both Western and Asian philosophical traditions. The book argues that in Western political thought - which sees politics as primarily concerned with resolving social conflicts and protecting individual rights - the concept of harmony has often been neglected. In contrast, since earliest times harmony or ‘he’ has been a profound theme in Confucian thought, and current leaders of many East Asian governments, and the Chinese government, have explicitly declared that the realisation of a harmonious society is their aim. The book also assesses how harmony is pursued, jeopardized or deformed in the real world of politics, based upon empirical analysis of a variety of different cultural, social and political contexts, including: China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Denmark, Latin America and the Scandinavian countries. It shows how harmony as an organizing concept can help to promote new thinking in governance, and overcome problems of modern-day governance like distrust, adversarial conflicts, hyper-individualism, coercive state intervention, and free-market alienation. It also discusses the potential problems posed by the pursuit of harmony, in particular in the grave threat of totalitarianism, and considers how these risks could best be mitigated. (shrink)
Graduate studies at Western
Using PhilPapers from home?
Create an account to enable off-campus access through your institution's proxy server.
Monitor this page
Be alerted of all new items appearing on this page. Choose how you want to monitor it: