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date: 25 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses types of Confucian humanism in East Asia, their manifestations, functions, and shared core value. First of all, it differentiates two types of Confucian humanism: (a) ethno-historical humanism, and (b) culturo-philosophical humanism. The former was baptized in the spirit of temporality while the latter stressed a return to the spontaneity of one’s mind-heart, which was considered to be supra-temporal and supra-spatial. Both types of Confucian humanism took humanity or ren (仁) as their core value. Throughout the history of Confucian humanism, the meaning of ren fell into four categories, namely: (a) ren as the locale of physical and mental relief; (b) ren as the inner awareness of value judgment: (c) ren as social ethics; and (d) ren as political career. Confucius and Zhu Xi were the two major architects of Confucian humanistic thinking. The spirit of Confucian humanism manifested itself in beliefs in a (a) mind-body continuum, (b) self-other harmony, (c) homo-cosmic resonation, and (d) past-present fusion. Moreover, Confucian humanism functioned as (a) socio-cultural nostalgia, (b) political counter-factuality, and (c) day-to-day “practical learning.”

Keywords: Confucianism, humanism, humanity, ethno-historical humanism, culturo-philosophical humanism, nostalgia, counter-factuality, practical learning

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