Category Archives: Ritual

Olberding on the Confucian role for etiquette in resisting injustice

Amy Olberding’s “The Moral Gravity of Mere Trifles” at LSE’s The Forum. She begins:

“Some of the most heated critiques of etiquette emphasize a tension between progressive political values and conformity to polite norms. Insistence on polite rules of interaction may, so the worry goes, stifle righteous dissent, suppress critique of the powerful, and mire us all in hidebound tradition. Better to forcefully call out injustice when we see it than abide by polite rules that sacrifice moral progress to surface social accord. In these critiques, etiquette can seem an enemy of salutary change and a barrier to justice. This reasoning, the early Confucians would argue, misses much about how etiquette works and what it contributes to moral life….”

Analects 1.6, and how Confucius envisioned moral progress

Confucius’ remark at Analects 1.6 is often cited to show that he thought proper moral development begins with filial piety and then extends that attitude to ever-larger groups of people (ever less intensely).  I shall argue that the remark does not display such a view.  Confucius did not in general envision moral progress as extension.

Continue reading →

Ruist Retreat in Boston

Bin Song, a graduate student at BU, writes:

We Boston Ruists will host a Ruist retreat this summer, July 1-3rd, at Boston University. Attached is the schedule, including all details of the retreat and logistics. 

The initiative of this retreat was proposed by some friends in the Facebook group ‘Friends from Afar: a Confucianism group.’ I hope the retreat can be organized as a ‘middle’ sort of Ruism, aiming to propagate Ruist wisdom among ordinary American people but still not losing its scholarly virtuosity.  

Anyone interested in learning more about the retreat, or in registering, should contact Bin Song (the information is on the attachment). Comments on this undertaking are of course welcome here.

Conference on Ritual

People in the New York area might be interested in the following conference which, while not about China, is concerned with an area of central importance to much Chinese philosophy: namely, ritual.

Exploring Ritual in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean: Performance, Texts, and Material Culture

Friday, May 16, 2014, 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Seating is limited, please email isaw@nyu.edu to register.

Continue reading →