A critique of Confucius’ philosophy (English)

In: Asian Philosophy   ;  26 ,  4  ;  354-374  ;  2016

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Throughout the millennia since the composition of the Analects, orthodox scholars have maintained that Confucius faithfully passed down the thought of early eras, particularly those of Yao and Shun: ‘I transmit but do not create ideas.’ This paper shows that Confucius actually subverted the essence of orthodox thought represented mainly by Yao and Shun. His subversion of orthodox thought compels perforce the idea of ‘ren (humanity),’ which concerns itself with the human world, to stand out with the near exclusion of otherworldliness in his teaching. As a result of the misunderstanding of Confucius’ heritage, scholars in the past tended to equate Confucius’ idea of ‘ren’ with specific moral attributes. Again taking exception to the interpretations of bygone eras, this essay demonstrates that humanity in Confucius’ theory signifies a dynamic process rather than a specific attribute or a static rule, changing constantly with different people, different places, and different times.

Table of contents – Volume 26, Issue 4

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Gender and early Chinese cosmology revisited
Jia, Jinhua | 2016
Zhuangzi’s philosophy of thing
Kwok, Sai Hang | 2016
Desire: The unfolding of the other
Lan, Fei | 2016
From criticism to approval: A reconsideration of Ji’s Yogācāra position on Madhyamaka
Lee, Sumi | 2016
A critique of Confucius’ philosophy
Yang, Michael Vincent | 2016
Editorial Board
| 2016