New Confucianism

New Confucianism

Discussion
Ask a question about 'New Confucianism'
Start a new discussion about 'New Confucianism'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
New Confucianism is an intellectual
Intellectual
An intellectual is a person who uses intelligence and critical or analytical reasoning in either a professional or a personal capacity.- Terminology and endeavours :"Intellectual" can denote four types of persons:...

 movement of Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

 that began in the early 20th century in Republican China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, and revived in post-Mao
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 era contemporary China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

. It is deeply influenced by, but not identical with, the Neo-Confucianism
Neo-Confucianism
Neo-Confucianism is an ethical and metaphysical Chinese philosophy influenced by Confucianism, that was primarily developed during the Song Dynasty and Ming Dynasty, but which can be traced back to Han Yu and Li Ao in the Tang Dynasty....

 of the Song
Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...

 and Ming
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 dynasties. It is a neo-conservative movement of various Chinese traditions and has been regarded to contain religious overtones; it advocates for certain Confucianist elements of society - such social, ecological, and political harmony - to be applied in a contemporary context in synthesis with Western philosophies such as rationalism
Rationalism
In epistemology and in its modern sense, rationalism is "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification" . In more technical terms, it is a method or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive"...

 and humanism
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

. Its philosophies have emerged as a focal point of discussion between Confucian scholars in mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United States.

History


The first generation of New Confucians (1921–1949) came about as a response to the May Fourth movement
May Fourth Movement
The May Fourth Movement was an anti-imperialist, cultural, and political movement growing out of student demonstrations in Beijing on May 4, 1919, protesting the Chinese government's weak response to the Treaty of Versailles, especially the Shandong Problem...

 and its iconoclastic stance against Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

. Confucianism was attacked as unscientific and contrary to the progress of a modern China. One notable figure during this time was Xiong Shili
Xiong Shili
Xiong Shili was a modern Chinese philosopher whose major work A New Treatise on Consciousness-only is a Confucian critique of the Buddhist "consciousness-only" theory popularized in China by the Tang Dynasty pilgrim Xuanzang....

, who studied Buddhism in depth in his youth but later sought for a reformation of the Confucian philosophical framework. Borrowing from the school of Wang Yangming
Wang Yangming
Wang Yangming was a Ming Chinese idealist Neo-Confucian philosopher, official, educationist, calligraphist and general. After Zhu Xi, he is commonly regarded as the most important Neo-Confucian thinker, with interpretations of Confucianism that denied the rationalist dualism of the orthodox...

, Xiong developed a metaphysical
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

 system for the New Confucian movement and believed Chinese learning was superior to Western learning. Another figure, Feng Youlan
Feng Youlan
Feng Youlan or Fung Yu-Lan was a Chinese philosopher who was important for reintroducing the study of Chinese philosophy.-Early life, education, & career:...

, following the Neo-Confucian school of Zhu Xi
Zhu Xi
Zhū​ Xī​ or Chu Hsi was a Song Dynasty Confucian scholar who became the leading figure of the School of Principle and the most influential rationalist Neo-Confucian in China...

, sought a revival of Chinese philosophy based on modern Western philosophy.

With the start of the communist regime in China in 1949, many of the leading intellectuals left the mainland to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United States. Notable figures of this second generation (1950–1979) include individuals like Tang Junyi
Tang Junyi
Tang Junyi was a Chinese philosopher, who was one of the leading exponents of New Confucianism. He was influenced by Plato and Hegel as well as by earlier Confucian thought....

, Mou Zongsan
Mou Zongsan
Mou Zongsan was a Chinese New Confucian philosopher. He was born in Shandong province and graduated from Peking University. In 1949 he moved to Taiwan and later to Hong Kong, and he remained outside of Mainland China for the rest of his life...

, and Xu Fuguan
Xu Fuguan
Xu Fuguan is a Chinese intellectual historian and philosopher. He made notable contributions in Confucianism studies, and he is attached to the contemporary New Confucianism, a philosophical movement initiated by Xiong Shili.- Biography :Xu is born in 1902 or 1903 in a family of farmers in Hubei...

, all three students of Xiong Shili
Xiong Shili
Xiong Shili was a modern Chinese philosopher whose major work A New Treatise on Consciousness-only is a Confucian critique of the Buddhist "consciousness-only" theory popularized in China by the Tang Dynasty pilgrim Xuanzang....

. Mou Zongsan
Mou Zongsan
Mou Zongsan was a Chinese New Confucian philosopher. He was born in Shandong province and graduated from Peking University. In 1949 he moved to Taiwan and later to Hong Kong, and he remained outside of Mainland China for the rest of his life...

, in particular, was well-versed in the ancient Chinese philosophical traditions and argued that Kant
KANT
KANT is a computer algebra system for mathematicians interested in algebraic number theory, performing sophisticated computations in algebraic number fields, in global function fields, and in local fields. KASH is the associated command line interface...

 was, in many ways, a Western Confucius. These three, together with Zhang Junmai, issued in 1958 the New Confucian Manifesto consolidating their beliefs and drawing attention to their philosophical movement.

In the last few decades, the most vocal representatives of the New Confucian movement have been the students of Mou Zongsan
Mou Zongsan
Mou Zongsan was a Chinese New Confucian philosopher. He was born in Shandong province and graduated from Peking University. In 1949 he moved to Taiwan and later to Hong Kong, and he remained outside of Mainland China for the rest of his life...

. Perhaps one of the most prominent, Tu Wei-ming
Tu Wei-ming
Tu Weiming , b.1940, is an ethicist and a New Confucian. He is Lifetime Professor of Philosophy and founding Dean of the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Peking University...

, has promoted the idea that Confucianism saw three epochs: the classical Han
Han Dynasty
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...

 Confucianism, Song
Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...

-Ming
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 Neo-Confucianism
Neo-Confucianism
Neo-Confucianism is an ethical and metaphysical Chinese philosophy influenced by Confucianism, that was primarily developed during the Song Dynasty and Ming Dynasty, but which can be traced back to Han Yu and Li Ao in the Tang Dynasty....

, and New Confucianism. This third generation has been instrumental in grounding Confucianism in non-Asian contexts, as can be seen through Boston Confucianism and other Western Confucians like Wm. Theodore de Bary
Wm. Theodore de Bary
William Theodore de Bary is an East Asian studies expert at Columbia University, with the title John Mitchell Mason Professor of the University and Provost Emeritus....

.

Terminology


Whereas the English rendering of the movement is generally New Confucianism, there is a variety of translations in the Chinese. Many Taiwan-based writers will tend to use the term Contemporary New Confucianism ( or ) to emphasize the movement's continuity with the Song
Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...

-Ming
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 Neo-Confucianism
Neo-Confucianism
Neo-Confucianism is an ethical and metaphysical Chinese philosophy influenced by Confucianism, that was primarily developed during the Song Dynasty and Ming Dynasty, but which can be traced back to Han Yu and Li Ao in the Tang Dynasty....

. However, many within Mainland China prefer the term Modern New Confucianism ( or ) with an emphasis on the period of modernization after May Fourth
May Fourth Movement
The May Fourth Movement was an anti-imperialist, cultural, and political movement growing out of student demonstrations in Beijing on May 4, 1919, protesting the Chinese government's weak response to the Treaty of Versailles, especially the Shandong Problem...

. Whereas the misnomer "Neo-Confucianism" in English referring to the Song Dynasty Confucian school ought to be termed "meso-Confucianism", the contemporary New Confucianism in Chinese is synonymous with "Neo-Confucianism", therefore the English term "Neo-Confucianism" has already found its identification in some "New Confucians" today.

New Confucian Manifesto


The term itself was first used as early as 1963 (in two articles in the Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 journal Rensheng). However, it did not come into common use until the late 1970s. New Confucianism is often associated with the essay, "A Manifesto on Chinese Culture to the World," which was published in 1958 by Tang Junyi
Tang Junyi
Tang Junyi was a Chinese philosopher, who was one of the leading exponents of New Confucianism. He was influenced by Plato and Hegel as well as by earlier Confucian thought....

, Mou Zongsan
Mou Zongsan
Mou Zongsan was a Chinese New Confucian philosopher. He was born in Shandong province and graduated from Peking University. In 1949 he moved to Taiwan and later to Hong Kong, and he remained outside of Mainland China for the rest of his life...

, Xu Fuguan
Xu Fuguan
Xu Fuguan is a Chinese intellectual historian and philosopher. He made notable contributions in Confucianism studies, and he is attached to the contemporary New Confucianism, a philosophical movement initiated by Xiong Shili.- Biography :Xu is born in 1902 or 1903 in a family of farmers in Hubei...

 and Zhang Junmai. This work is often referred to as the "New Confucian Manifesto," although that phrase never occurs in it. The Manifesto presents a vision of Chinese culture as having a fundamental unity throughout history, of which Confucianism is the highest expression. The particular interpretation of Confucianism given by the Manifesto is deeply influenced by Neo-Confucianism, and in particular the version of Neo-Confucianism most associated with Lu Xiangshan
Lu Jiuyuan
thumb|200px|Lu JiuyuanLu Jiuyuan was a Chinese scholar and philosopher who founded the school of the universal mind, the second most influential Neo-Confucian school...

 and Wang Yangming
Wang Yangming
Wang Yangming was a Ming Chinese idealist Neo-Confucian philosopher, official, educationist, calligraphist and general. After Zhu Xi, he is commonly regarded as the most important Neo-Confucian thinker, with interpretations of Confucianism that denied the rationalist dualism of the orthodox...

 (as opposed to that associated with Zhu Xi
Zhu Xi
Zhū​ Xī​ or Chu Hsi was a Song Dynasty Confucian scholar who became the leading figure of the School of Principle and the most influential rationalist Neo-Confucian in China...

). In addition, the Manifesto argues that while China must learn from the West modern science and democracy, the West must learn from China (and the Confucian tradition in particular) "a more all-encompassing wisdom."