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Apr. 7:'Progressive Confucianism and Contemporary Society'

Progressive Confucianism and Contemporary Society

Time & Date: April 7, 2017, Friday 18:30-21:00
Location: Room 422, Teaching Building 2, Peking University

Lecturer: Prof. Stephen Angle

2016-2017 Berggruen Scholar at Tsinghua University Department of Philosophy, Professor and Former Director of Wesleyan University Department of Philosophy, and Former Director of College of East Asia Studies; Angle’s research focuses on Chinese philosophy, Confucianism, Neo-Confucianism, Political Philosophy, Ethics, and Comparative Philosophy; Selected books: Human Rights and Chinese Thought (Renmin University Press, 2012), Contemporary Confucian Political Philosophy (Jiangxi People’s Publishing House, 2015), Contemporary Significance of Neo-Confucianism (China Social Sciences Press, 2017)

Commentator: Prof. GAN Chunsong (Professor of the Department of Philosophy, Peking University)


The thesis of this lecture is that human roles are central to contemporary society and are embraced by progressive Confucians. Progressive Confucianism recognizes the intimate relationship between social structures and personal development, and therefore emphasizes that we must attend to both. Although progressive Confucians argue that some roles must be redefined around the idea of equality, it still accepts many traditional Confucian insights into the values of hierarchy and deference. While it therefore has an important place for roles, progressive Confucianism does criticize one-sided or overly rigid understandings of this concept for two major reasons: such interpretations fail to capture crucial insights of Confucianism, and they undermine the possibility of Confucianism’s playing a positive role in the contemporary world.


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