Earlier in the fall, Sam Crane posted a conference paper of his called “Confucianism in Modern American Life” at his blog. There was a bit of discussion there, as well as a longer response here. This is a subject in which I am very interested, and would certainly welcome any further thoughts anyone wants to share.
Perhaps one reason Confucianism as a formal body of ideas doesn’t get more uptake is precisely that some of its most pronounced “ways” and “practices” are ways and practices that can exist absent specific doxastic commitments or special practices. By the latter, I just mean that unlike, say, meditative practices that one might undertake deliberately as a particular life practice, one can “do” Confucian-esque practices in the midst of ordinary life among others. One doesn’t set aside time to do this; instead it just occurs in the midst of life itself, with something like Confucian “sensibilities” nearer to more people than might be obvious. Maybe another way to put this is I never feel more “Confucian” myself than when I’m with my extended rural southern family, people who are, simultaneously, in no measure consciously Confucian and also the most Confucian people I’ve ever encountered in the US. Of course, I’m thinking here not of the political ideas but of filial practice, role identification, li….