Title

Confucianism as anthropological machine

Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

7-1-2010

Abstract

Confucianism is a kind of humanism. Confucian humanism presupposes, however, a divisive act that separates human and nonhuman. This paper shows that the split between the human and the nonhuman is central to Mencius' moral psychology, and it argues that Confucianism is an anthropological machine in the sense of the term used by Giorgio Agamben. I consider the main points of early Daoist critique of Confucian humanism. A comparative analysis of Herman Melville's novella 'Bartleby the Scrivener' reveals the limitation of the moral will in Mencius. Finally, I refer to an incident that recently captured the imagination of Chinese netizens, and shows the contested influence of Confucian humanism in contemporary China. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.

Publication Title

Asian Philosophy

Volume

20

Issue

2

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