Li Zehou's notion of subjectality as a new conception of the human self

Philosophy Compass 13 (5):e12484 (2018)


Li Zehou stands among the most influential Chinese philosophers in the post-Mao era. His notion of subjectality is of paramount importance for current developments in contemporary Chinese philosophy. It belongs to the central concepts in Li's theoretical framework, around which his entire philosophical system is constructed. With his elaboration of this concept, Li expanded the problem of the self in post-revolutionary modernism. The present article analyzes the theoretical bases of this concept, exposes its importance in the scope of contemporary Chinese theory and shows why and how it represents a call for a new humanism. Through a multidimensional comparative perspective, the author also explains why the human subject, which is based upon Li's notion of subjectality, has the potential not only to transform modern alienation into a real “human condition,” that is, into spiritually fulfilled society of autonomous individuals but also to fill up the prevailing “vacuum of values.”

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