Filiality versus sociality and individuality: On confucianism as "consanguinitism"

Philosophy East and West 53 (2):234-250 (2003)
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: Confucianism is often valued as a doctrine that highlights both the individual and social dimensions of the ideal person, for it indeed puts special emphasis on such lofty goals as loving all humanity and cultivating the self. Through a close and critical analysis of the texts of the Analects and the Mencius, however, it is attempted to demonstrate that because Confucius and Mencius always take filial piety, or, more generally, consanguineous affection, as not only the foundation but also the supreme principle of human life, the individual and social dimensions are inevitably subordinated to and substantially negated by the filial precisely within the Confucian framework, with the result that Confucianism in essence is neither collectivism nor individualism, but "consanguinitism."



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