Friday, July 15, 2011

Tu Weiming and Confucius Respond to Samuel Huntington

Andrew Cusack posts a fascinating 1999 lecture questioning "Hegel, Marx, and Max Weber['s] shared... ethos that, despite all its shortcomings, the modern West informed by the Enlightenment mentality was the only arena where the true difference for the rest of the world would be made" — Towards a Confucian Modernity.

Reminding us that "the outstanding Enlightenment thinkers, such as Voltaire, Rousseau, and, of course, Diderot and the encyclopedists, took China as their major reference society and Confucianism as their major reference culture," Professor Tu later says,
    Enlightenment values, such as liberty, rights consciousness, due process of law, instrumental rationality, privacy, and individualism, are all universalizable modern values. But the Confucian example suggests some humanistic values, such as sympathy, distributive justice, duty consciousness, ritual, public spiritedness, and group orientation, are also universalizable modern values.
"Since Confucianism is not strictly a religion, we often come across spiritual self-definitions and scholarly designations as Confucian Christians, Confucian Buddhists, and even Confucian Muslims," he notes, concluding with some questions: "What kind of role can Confucians play in the dialogue of civilizations? Can Confucians facilitate inter-religious dialogues as the sympathetic third party?" Tolle, lege.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Confucianism is a codification of what had already existed. As the Master stated, "I do not create, but only transmit."

So it's no surprise that such statements can be made.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Wolfe said...

What proof is there of the assertion of this guy that the Enlightenment gang had Chinese culture as their major reference? Sounds fishy to me.

4:06 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

The word "major" is in dispute here. Voltaire hung a picture of the Sage, and Confucian ideas, which came to Europe via the Jesuits, were in vogue. Civil service examinations are an example of Chinese influence on the West.

9:36 PM  
Blogger hoihoi51 said...

Confucianism changed to sinocenterism in china. In Japan it changed to Bushido..
the Japanese psyche pillar is Confucism.
However, a Chinese and Japanese civilizations are the furthest.
as the moral education of China and Japan, " Dont make a trouble to others"first and "The liar is thief's start" in Japan. On the other hand, as teach where it lives in the society where the lie spreads in China, it is "Do not be cheated by others".

Confucianism is interpreted in the way of the Chinese people is"Do not throw pearls to swine”.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Wolfe said...

I suppose you're right. The West got gunpowder from China, but nobody's talking about the Chinese influence on the Western way of war.

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It's rather ironic that historical events and Confucianism fueled Korean Nationalism of today. When the Ming dynasty fell, Korean scholars thought that they were the last remnants of the great Chinese civilization. They looked down on the Qing dynasty as being barbaric. In fact, if you go to my blog, and look at some of my translations, Koreans even used era name of the last Ming Emperor to date the year.

Also, when the Japanese were modernizing, Japanese Confucians started to think themselves as the "better" Chinese and started looking down upon the Chinese. Their ideas influenced the Korean populous during their occupation.

These developments are perhaps the root of Anti-Chinese sentiments today in Korea.

11:36 AM  

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