Self-Realization through Confucian Learning: A Contemporary Reconstruction of Xunzi's Ethics (SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture)
Self-Realizationthrough Confucian Learning reconstructs Confucian thinker Xunzi’s moralphilosophy in response to the modern focus on self-realization. Xunzi (bornaround 310 BCE) claims that human xing (“nature”or “native conditions”) is without an ethical framework and has a tendency todominate, leading to bad judgments and bad behavior. Confucian ritual propriety(li) is needed to transform thesehuman native conditions. Through li,people become self-directing: in control of feelings and desires and in commandof their own lives. Siufu Tang explicates Xunzi’s understanding of thehierarchical structure of human agency to articulate why and how li is essential to self-realization.Ritual propriety also structures relationships to make a harmonious communallife possible. Tang’s focus on self-realization highlights how Confucianism canaddress the individual as well as the communal and serve as a philosophy forcontemporary times.
SiufuTang is Associate Professor in the School of Chineseat the University of Hong Kong.
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