Educational Philosophy and Theory 51 (11):1152-1163 (2019)

Recent studies have recognised the Confucian holistic perspective as transformative in addressing the ecological concerns. This article complements and complicates this line of argument. The aforementioned literature has seldom examined whether or not the Confucian ideal is attainable. Centring on cheng, a Confucian metaphysical concept, this article highlights the struggle between the ideal and the real. The discussion is based on the premise that essential to the current ecological crisis is a need to reconfigure the meaning and purpose of humanity on the planet; utopianism, evoking images of a society radically different from the existing one, has the potential to instigate transformations. Utopias of all kinds encounter the tension between ideal and practice. Webb proposes an analytical framework of utopia-as-system and utopia-as-process. The former stresses an idealised blueprint and the latter attends to localised practice. For any radical change to occur, it is imperative to adopt both. Drawing on the research of ecotopia and edutopia, this article argues that Confucianism has a utopian impetus. As ecological self-understanding, cheng challenges modern assumptions regarding humanity and ecology. The concept represents a model of both utopia-as-system and utopia-as-process, and it has the potential to inspire change. It is, however, not without complication.
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DOI 10.1080/00131857.2018.1564662
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References found in this work BETA

A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy.Wing-Tsit Chan - 1963 - Princeton: Princeton University Press.
The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement. A Summary.Arne Naess - 1973 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 16 (1-4):95 – 100.

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