T. H. Jiang & Shuan O’Dwyer, “The Universal Ambitions Of China’s Illiberal Confucian Scholars,” has been published in the on-line journal Palladium. It begins:
Amid today’s talk of a coming civilizational clash between China and the West, it is easy to find philosophical experts on China holding forth on the cultural contours of Sino-Western civilizational difference. “China has always been and always will continue to be a communitarian society,” some have insisted; and its Confucian ethos is not a doctrine like America’s liberal individualism, but is instead the “ongoing narrative of a specific community of a people, the center of an ongoing ‘way’ or Dao.”
Such explanations amount to orientalist fantasies. How an industrialized society like modern China, transformed by both Communism and market reforms could still be defined by primordial cultural characteristics is not explained. Moreover, far from being a continuous, deeply organic narrative of the Chinese people, Confucianism is a diverse set of doctrines that have been ideologically contested, marginalized, reinvented and imposed as state dogmas at different times in Chinese history. This point holds for a brand of illiberal, statist Confucianism being promoted today in some of China’s leading universities, a brand whose future is still uncertain, but whose proponents hold out great hopes for its adoption into Chinese Communist Party orthodoxy. Moreover, this reinvented nationalist Confucianism is not without precedent in the modern history of East Asia; over a century ago, Japanese scholars educated in Europe were the pioneers of such a reinvention. This precedent, its cross-cultural inspirations, and its present day historical parallels in contemporary Chinese intellectual life merit examination, in view of the claims made by scholars for the cultural centrality of Confucianism in a morally renewed, globally rising China….
I will be giving a talk on the future of Confucianism in America at the San Francisco City Library on Sunday, September 29. It will be on the third floor at 1:30pm. All are welcome.
The editors are delighted to announce the publication of Volume 32 of The Journal of Confucian Philosophy and Culture (JCPC), the inaugural issue of the revised format of the journal. JCPC is published biannually (in February and August) and welcomes contributions of both articles and book reviews by qualified authors from around the world. This attached file contains the front matter, including a complete table of contents, of Volume 32. The complete volume will be available on line, within the week at our web site: http://jcpc.skku.edu/.
SUNY Press has published Shaun O’Dwyer, Confucianism’s Prospects: A Reassessment. SUNY’s website is here.
The publisher’s blurb: In Confucianism’s Prospects, Shaun O’Dwyer offers a rare critical engagement with English-language scholarship on Confucianism. Against the background of historical and sociological research into the rapid modernization of East Asian societies, O’Dwyer reviews several key Confucian ethical ideas and proposals for East Asian alternatives to liberal democracy that have emerged from this scholarship. He also puts the following question to Confucian scholars: what prospects do those ideas and proposals have in East Asian societies in which liberal democracy and pluralism are well established, and individualization and declining fertility are impacting deeply upon family life? In making his case, O’Dwyer draws upon the neglected work of Japanese philosophers and intellectuals who were witnesses to Japan’s pioneering East Asian modernization and protagonists in the rise and disastrous wartime fall of its own modernized Confucianism. He contests a sometimes Sinocentric and ahistorical conception of East Asian societies as “Confucian societies,” while also recognizing that Confucian traditions can contribute importantly to global philosophical dialogue and to civic and religious life.
Sam Crane has just published “Prolegomenon to a Theory of Philosophical Transposition, with Reference to Confucianism in America” in Metaphilosophy 50:4. I’ve pasted the abstract below.
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A brief article from the South China Morning Post that is relevant for anyone interested in the uses and abuses of Confucianism in the modern world: “China runs Confucian culture courses for religious leaders in bid to boost control.”
The May 2019 issue of the Journal of Chinese Religions is now online. Dessein reviews the volume, Confucianisms for a Changing World Cultural Order, edited by Ames and Hershock. The review can be found here.
The latest issue of Contemporary Chinese Thought (49:2) has just been published: an issue that I guest edited called “The Adolescence of Mainland New Confucianism.” The Table of Contents for the issue is here, and I believe you can freely download my introduction (also called “The Adolescence of Mainland New Confucianism”). The essays translated in the issue are:
- Li Minghui, I Disapprove of the Phrase “Mainland New Confucianism”
- Zeng Yi & Fang Xudong, Hong Kong/Taiwan New Confucianism Affirms Too Little of Traditional Chinese Politics (Parts 1 and 2)
- Chen Ming, Mainland New Confucianism’s Problematique, Discourse Paradigm, and Intellectual Pedigree Have Already Taken Shape
- Tang Wenming, Welcoming a New Stage of Confucian Revival
- Chen Yun, The Mainland Confucian Revival and Its Problems as Seen from the Perspective of “Civilizational Theory”
- Huang Yushun, Confucian Liberalism’s Judgment of “New Confucian Religion”
- Guo Qiyong, How to Properly View the New Developments of Mainland Confucianism
For the abstract of my Introduction, read on!
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The first conference on Confucianism that I have attended in which men were in the minority: last weekend’s “Women as Exemplary Persons in The Ru (Confucian) Tradition”; program here.
Call for papers: Taiwanese Philosophy and the Preservation of Confucian Tradition
International Conference organized by University of Ljubljana, EARL Ljubljana, and TRCCS (Taiwan Research Center for Chinese Studies) in Taipei
10-12 October 2019
Although the philosophical currents in modern and contemporary Taiwan belong to the most influential and important streams of thought in contemporary East Asian theory, they are still unrecognized as specifically Taiwanese. The main reasons for the immense importance of Taiwanese philosophy for East Asia and the contemporary world are twofold. First, they can be found in its contributions to the preservation of traditional Chinese, especially Confucian thought. Secondly, its development of specific innovative philosophical approaches and systems profoundly influenced the theoretical discourses in the entire East Asian region. The philosophical currents in modern Taiwan were mainly developed during the second half of 20th century, in which the philosophical theory in mainland China was largely limited to the Sinization of Marxist thought. Hence, for many decades, Taiwanese philosophy represented the only driving force of developing, modernizing and upgrading traditional Chinese thought and its syntheses with Western thought. Hence, they soon also gained a wide spread popularity in most of the other East Asian societies that were traditionally influenced by classical Confucian thought, as for example Japan and South Korea.
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