Hans-Georg Moeller and Dan Sarafinas discuss contemporary debates on “political correctness” and related moral and social issues. They point to concepts such as virtue speech (“virtue signalling”), civil religion, and the role of critique to better understand their nature.
The phenomenon of virtue speech (“virtue signalling”) has become a central feature in recent outrage movements pervasive throughout the West. Virtue speech, which is implicitly tied to accusations of hate speech, is a form of moralistic discourse setting speech examples that make it difficult to openly discuss elements of our culture without falling into the trap of moralizing.
Civil religion plays a central role in the virtue speech, or political correctness, discourse. The history of the concept is discussed as well as the structure of the American form of civil religion and how tenets of civil religion are constantly being performed and re-enacted, particularly in current social media outrage movements.
Confucianism is often criticized for being misogynistic and patriarchal in ways that go beyond similar critiques of other intellectual traditions by implying that Confucianism is inconceivable apart from these elements. Two more recent works begin to challenge this way of thinking by drawing on nuances and elaborating the contexts of traditional Confucian teachings on women: Ann A. Pang-White’s translation of The Confucian Four Books for Women (2018) and Robert C. Neville’s “Confucianism and the Feminist Revolution: Ritual Definition and the Social Construction of Gender Roles” in The Good is One, Its Manifestations Many (2016). Also, Anna Sun’s sociological work in progress on women in the global revival of Confucianism is quite promising in indicating a very positive trajectory for women in the tradition.
The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Chinese Philosophy Methodologies, edited by Sor-hoon Tan, is due to be published later this week. Details are here, and I’ll paste the very rich Table of Contents below. This is another in the Bloomsbury Research Handbooks in Asian Philosophy series, on which more is available here. So far, the only other title concerned with Chinese philosophy is The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Chinese Philosophy and Gender, edited by Ann-Pang White, which appeared earlier this year; see further below for its Table of Contents, and more details here. The series also contains several books focusing on the philosophies of India.
I’d like to recommend Ian Sullivan’s recently published article, “Simone de Beauvoir and Confucian Role Ethics: Role-Relational Ambiguity and Confucian Mystification,” which has just been published in Hypatia 31:3. Abstract follows….
Journalist Qian Jianghua writes: “A leading Confucian academic’s defense of polygamy and arranged marriage continues to stoke tensions, months after he made the comments last year in an article titled ‘Only Confucianism can settle modern women.'” More here.
Erin Cline of Georgetown University has published a new book with Columbia University Press, Families of Virtue: Confucian and Western Views on Childhood Development. Congratulations, Erin! The Columbia U. P. website is here; read on for a description.
Co-editors: Mathew A. Foust (Central Connecticut State University) & Sor-hoon Tan (National University of Singapore)
Chenyang Li’s path-breaking The Sage and the Second Sex (2000) challenged the traditionally received notion of Confucianism abetting the oppression of women in three ways. With studies of a wide range of Confucians, including Mencius, Xunzi, and Li Zhi, and historical periods stretching from fifth century BCE to sixteenth century, contributions to the edited volume suggested that women’s situations in Chinese history were not as bad as has been supposed; that core Confucian teachings have had little to do with anything bad about their situations; and that Confucianism offers an ethical vision compatible with Feminism.