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SagehoodThe Contemporary Significance of Neo-Confucian Philosophy$
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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

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Conclusion: The Future of Contemporary Confucianisms

Conclusion: The Future of Contemporary Confucianisms

(p.223) Conclusion: The Future of Contemporary Confucianisms

Stephen C. Angle (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The conclusion aims to situate the book's arguments in a larger context of contemporary concern with “Confucianism” in various senses. “Confucianism” has been—and may continue to be, or become again—more than a philosophical tradition. It bears complicated relations to Chinese (and broader East Asian) cultural identity and political, religious, and spiritual practices. These are highly contested matters at the present moment, with no likelihood of a simple solution. It is important for philosophers to recognize these complexities, and not to claim to be able to solve every question related to the status of “contemporary Confucianism” simply by looking at texts or making arguments. Still, progress can be made even in these broader debates if we come to see the value of a contemporary Confucian philosophy based in Neo-Confucianism. The chapter also seeks to reply to readers who may be very skeptical about the relevance of Neo-Confucianism's talk of harmony in our present day. Building on an argument made by Liang Shuming a century ago, the book concludes by sketching reasons that even a “possessive individualist” should see, in Neo-Confucianism, both a significant challenge and suggestions of a way forward.

Keywords:   Confucianism, tradition, culture, identity, Liang Shuming, possessive individualism

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