Erin M. Cline
This article discusses Confucian views on childhood moral development, focusing especially on accounts of moral cultivation in the classical and Han periods. Beginning very early, Confucians exhibited an understanding of the unique influence that parent–child relationships have on children’s moral development during the earliest stages of development, which led them to argue for the importance of moral cultivation and moral education not only during infancy and childhood, but even during the prenatal period. Through an examination of texts, including the Analects, Mengzi, Discourse on the States, Record of Ritual, Collected Biographies of Women and Protecting and Tutoring, as well as secondary literature on this topic, this article focuses on how we should understand Confucian accounts of the roles of parents, the family, ritual, and filial piety in the moral development of children.
The sciences of evolution, ecology, and environment are ushering in a new understanding of the time, place, and responsibilities of human beings within nature. Evolution tells us that humans share the same genetic roots as other animals; ecology tells us that human life depends on plants, trees, and bacteria in a whole host of interlocking ecosystems; and environmental science makes it abundantly clear why we owe ethical obligations to the nonhuman world. This article examines the ways in which the religious and philosophical thinking of Daoism intersects more fruitfully than monotheistic religion or liberal secular humanism with the sciences of evolution, ecology, and environment. It demonstrates the possibility for a radically alternative worldview that can help human beings symbolize their time, place, and obligations in a way that accords more closely with science and can help nurture a sustainable future. The article concludes by discussing Daoism and nature in contemporary China.
What does it mean to be an atheist in Japan and what do the Japanese understand to be the difference between being non-religious and being atheist? When and under what conditions do such questions become relevant for the Japanese to consider? In order to answer such questions, one must go back to a time and place where the Japanese begin to consider atheism as a cultural concept. This work explores the topic of intellectual atheism as both product and agent of sweeping cultural changes in a rapidly modernizing Meiji Era Japan. It considers the influences of various social forces upon traditional modes of living and thinking as well as the response of these forces to challenges presented by modernization and by the enduring aspects of traditional Japanese life. The essay addresses these historic events through the lens of the agents of these social forces and examines their influence and legacies with regard to various aspects and institutions of Japanese life including politics, education, research, economics, and religious traditions in modern Japan.
Philosophy and religious studies are becoming more global in scope, and therefore projects constructing comparative philosophy and theology are emerging as thinkers from the historic cultural regions of the North Atlantic world and west, south, and east Asia become aware of each others' histories and concerns. If Confucianism is to play an active role in the intellectual life of China and the world, it must learn how to address new as well as traditional issues that go beyond traditional concerns for conservation, though this is a good place to start. While it is hard to conceive of any form of New Confucianism that does not take personal self-cultivation and social ethics seriously, it is also now impossible to envision a New Confucianism that does not deal with questions of international human rights and responsibilities, the changing roles of women, and the ecological crisis. Any future Confucian ecology must be based on acceptable elements or motifs of the tradition, ideal types that are amenable to the search for a Confucian method for constructing a responsible ecology.