Date

4-28-2020

Description

Many scholars tend to have the belief that most Western philosophy theories are incompatible with those of Eastern, specifically Confucianism, as they emphasize on completely opposite values. For example, western philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle, highly value justice and rationality, while the Confucian School seems to appreciate those virtues that seem irrational and incompatible with modern social values, such as li (ritual propriety), Xiao (filiality). For example, Margery Wolf, an American anthropologist, claims that Confucianism is a useless ideology of Old China, which is nearly synonymous with patriarchy and misogyny. However, in my research, I'd like to talk about how some ideas in Confucianism that seem to contradict western social conventions do not actually stand entirely on the opposite of it. For instance, some western scholars, such as Simon Keller, view the idea of Xiao, or filiality, as a value that conflicts with personal autonomy because in book 2.5 of the Analects, when Confucius was asked to explain the meaning of filiality, he said, "Never Disobey." However, such interpretation of the phrases "bù weí" is only inferred by readers, but not explicitly stated in the original Chinese. More precisely, what Confucius means by filiality is perhaps always try to act in accordance with yì, or appropriateness. Indeed, a lot of these seemingly contradictory Confucian values were only interpreted by scholars, and it is by no means clear that Confucius is prescribing such absolute certainty in his explanation. Thus, I'd like to explain such complications in the symposium further.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 28th, 12:00 AM

How to Reconcile the Seemingly Contradictory Relationship Between Ancient Chinese Values and Modern Social Convention: a Further Look at the Compatibility of Confucianism

Many scholars tend to have the belief that most Western philosophy theories are incompatible with those of Eastern, specifically Confucianism, as they emphasize on completely opposite values. For example, western philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle, highly value justice and rationality, while the Confucian School seems to appreciate those virtues that seem irrational and incompatible with modern social values, such as li (ritual propriety), Xiao (filiality). For example, Margery Wolf, an American anthropologist, claims that Confucianism is a useless ideology of Old China, which is nearly synonymous with patriarchy and misogyny. However, in my research, I'd like to talk about how some ideas in Confucianism that seem to contradict western social conventions do not actually stand entirely on the opposite of it. For instance, some western scholars, such as Simon Keller, view the idea of Xiao, or filiality, as a value that conflicts with personal autonomy because in book 2.5 of the Analects, when Confucius was asked to explain the meaning of filiality, he said, "Never Disobey." However, such interpretation of the phrases "bù weí" is only inferred by readers, but not explicitly stated in the original Chinese. More precisely, what Confucius means by filiality is perhaps always try to act in accordance with yì, or appropriateness. Indeed, a lot of these seemingly contradictory Confucian values were only interpreted by scholars, and it is by no means clear that Confucius is prescribing such absolute certainty in his explanation. Thus, I'd like to explain such complications in the symposium further.