On the Re-conceptualization of Confucianism: A Contemporary Neo-Confucian Perspective Faculty of Arts
Speaker: Prof. Cheng Chung Yi (Department of Philosophy)
Date: 7 June 2013 (Fri)
Time: 4:00pm
Venue: Activities Room, 2/F, Art Museum East Wing, Institute of Chinese Studies, CUHK
Language: English
Abstract: Abstract: Confronting the challenge by Western ideas such as those of philosophy and religion and the attacks on traditional Chinese culture during the twentieth century, contemporary Neo-Confucian scholars (dangdai Xinrujia當代新儒家, also named Tai Gang Xinrujia臺港新儒家) were committed to revive Confucianism. Their strategy for showing Confucianism not an archaic irrelevance is in a way to reconceptualize Confucianism that involves reinterpretations of its core ideas with the appropriation of Western ideas. It is easily to make assumption that scholars comprise this specific school share the same or at least similar reconception of Confucianism, but that is not true. Liang Shuming characterized Confucianism as a teaching of self-cultivation, emphasizing practice rather than theory or discourse. Accordingly, Confucianism is essentially different from the speculation of philosophy and the renunciation of religion. On the contrary, Xiong Shili insisted that the goal of doing philosophy is beyond mere theorization so as to deal with the nature of original substance (benti本體) and ontology, and that Confucianism should be conceived as the authentic philosophy for it provides the access to original substance through practitioners’ existential testimony (shizheng實證). While Xiong’s students Tang Junyi and Mou Zongsan further proclaimed the religiosity of Confucianism in addition to Xiong’s construction of metaphysics, another Xiong’s student Xu Fuguan had voiced reservations about reconceptualizing Confucianism in terms of philosophy and religion. Despite the fact that there are different views of what Confucianism really is among contemporary Neo-Confucian scholars, it is not impossible for these dividing views to be integrated through clarification and exchange, generating a new conception of Confucianism with strong theoretical base, which using the words of Tang Junyi is this: Confucianism is a combination of philosophy, morality and religion.


on the re conceptualization of confucianism 1  on the re conceptualization of confucianism 2


For the powerpoint presentation of the talk, please click here.