Confucianism in our Postmodern Era
Last week we discussed the idea of Confucianism becoming a world philosophy. Through proponents of Boston Confucianism we learned that Confucianism could play an integral role in a world philosophy. Neville argued that, “Leaders from all the world’s cultures know that the world society will never be civilized until a genuine world culture is developed that respects the diverse cultures and harmonizes them to make crucial responses to such issues as environmentalism, distributive justice and the meaning of human life in the cosmos.” Indeed. Unfortunately Confucianism has many offshoots and we learned that within the Boston school two rationales have been followed: the first, is the Mencian tradition of ren which presupposes that we are born ‘good’ and must improve our minds and characters through scholarly pursuits to maintain this ‘good’ and the second, Xunzi’s concern for li which believes the opposite, that we are essentially born into sin and must atone for this through ritual prostration. Personally, probably because I was brought up in a Christian household I subscribe to Xunzi’s belief that we are all born sinners and must live a life according to the edicts that will assure us entry to ‘heaven’ or whatever afterlife is provided chaste and kind people.
Returning to Neville’s belief that Confucianism could be a global philosophy we learn similarly in ‘In Search of the Good Life’ that Fred Dallmayer evokes Elise Boulding in her assertion that a ‘global civic culture’ needs to be attained that is, “…dialogical and even multilogical.”. Dallmayer goes on to suggest that in our global world we need education that, “…draws on resources that are available all around the world; such resources include religious and ethical traditions, the accumulated treasures of literature and the arts and ordinary life practices and experiences garnered from communal relations.”. I am in agreement with...