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date: 18 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Perhaps the most important international relationship in the twenty-first century is that between America and China. Given the often delicate and sometimes underproductive history of the relationship between America and China broadly, this chapter argues that American pragmatism might serve as a vocabulary to promote a positive dialogue between these cultures at a moment in history when such a conversation is imperative. These commonalities provide a language introducing Confucian philosophy to the Western academy and also an external perspective from which to examine the presuppositions of our own worldview and common sense. The chapter compares the central Confucian notion of relationally constituted persons (ren 仁)— or human “becomings”—with Dewey’s technical term, “individuality.” It explores the centrality of moral imagination in Confucian role ethics and in Deweyan ethics and also concludes that these two traditions share the idea of a human-centered religiousness.

Keywords: ren, individuality, dialogue, human becomings, China, pragmatism, Confucian, Dewey

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