Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
SagehoodThe Contemporary Significance of Neo-Confucian Philosophy$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Stephen C. Angle

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195385144

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195385144.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 October 2020

The Political Problem

The Political Problem

Chapter:
(p.179) 10 The Political Problem
Source:
Sagehood
Author(s):

Stephen C. Angle (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195385144.003.0011

Sagehood is not just a matter of personal ethics: on any traditional Confucian's view, it is intimately involved in shaping one's broader community both unofficially and through participation in government. In other words, to aim at sagehood is to aim at some sort of political involvement and impact; this is expressed on the slogan “inner sageliness—outer kingliness (neisheng waiwang).” However attractive such an orientation may sound, the political dimension of sagehood seems to have many unfortunate consequences. Critics like Chang Hao and Thomas Metzher have argued that the ideal of sagehood has led to despotism and authoritarianism, has provided the foundation for a problematic utopianism and perfectionism in Chinese social theory, and today undermines democracy and/or support for piecemeal (but genuine) progress. This chapter reviews ways in which Neo-Confucians historically struggled with these issues in their discussions of abstract and institutional limits on rulers. It then turns to some solutions proposed by more recent Confucians like Yu Yingshi, Xu Fuguan, and Mou Zongsan. It concludes that the latter's idea of “self-negation (ziwo kanxian)” offers a promising approach to balancing the different demands of moral and political values.

Keywords:   politics, Chang Hao, Thomas Metzger, authoritarianism, democracy, institutions, law, Yu Yingshi, Mou Zongsan, self-negation

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .