The Ghostly Other: Understanding Racism from Confucian and Enlightenment Models of Subjectivity

Asian Philosophy 25 (4):384-401 (2015)


The overwhelming motif of nineteenth century anti-Semitic discourse is the metaphor of the Jew as a ghost. In all cultures, the ghost represents the antithesis of what is categorically human: it represents the other par excellence. By using the heuristic of the ghost to interpret how Enlightenment discourse has dealt with the other, this article will argue that the Enlightenment model of the self and its relation to others was a contributing factor to Modern Racism. Enlightenment discourse on subjectivity finds its counterpart in Confucian notions of subjectivity. By looking at how ghosts are understood within Confucian discourse and how they are evoked in popular literature, I argue that Confucian philosophy’s model of subjectivity contributed to the success of the Chinese empire’s assimilation project

Download options


    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,855

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

27 (#428,380)

6 months
1 (#386,001)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Similar books and articles

Riding the Third Wave: Tu Weiming’s Confucian Axiology.John B. Berthrong - 2008 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 7 (4):423-435.
The Dialectic of Enlightenment: A Contemporary Reading.Yvonne Sherratt - 1999 - History of the Human Sciences 12 (3):35-54.
Is Tu Wei-Ming Confucian?Eske Møllgaard - 2007 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 6 (4):397-411.
Nietzsche as Critic and Captive of Enlightenment.Lewis W. Call - 1996 - Dissertation, University of California, Irvine
The Enlightenment and Modernity.Norman Geras & Robert Wokler (eds.) - 1999 - St. Martin's Press.
The Historical Formation of Confucian Doctrines and the Possible Transfigurations in the Future.Li Weiwu - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 9:93-113.
A Confucian Theory of Leadership.Cha Bong Kim - 1990 - Dissertation, Brigham Young University