Tu Wei-ming is the foremost exponent of Confucian thought in the United States today. Over the last two decades he has been developing a creative scholarly interpretation of Confucian humanism as a living tradition. The result is a work of interpretive brilliance that revitalizes Confucian thought, making it a legitimate concern of contemporary philosophical reflections.
The primary purpose of Confucian education is character-building, and the starting point and source of inspiration for character-building is self-cultivation. This deceptively simple assertion is predicated on the vision of the human as a learner, who is endowed with the authentic possibility of transforming given structural constraints into dynamic processes of self-realization. The true function of education as characterbuilding is learning to be human. Paideia or humanitas is, in its core concern, educating the art of embodiment. Through embodiment we realize (...) ourselves (body, mind-heart, soul, and spirit) in community, nature, and Heaven. (shrink)
This is an excerpted version of a plenary address entitled “Beyond the Enlightenment Mentality Humanity and Rightness: Exploring Confucian Democracy”, presented at the 7th East-West Philosophers' Conference held at the East-West Center, Honolulu, January 1995. Published with permission of the author.