You are on page 1of 19

Confucianism as Political Philosophy: A Postmodern Perspective Author(s): Hwa Yol Jung Reviewed work(s): Source: Human Studies, Vol.

16, No. 1/2, Postmodernity and the Question of the Other (1993), pp. 213-230 Published by: Springer Stable URL: . Accessed: 20/11/2012 16:23
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .

JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact

Springer is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Human Studies.

This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:23:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Human Studies ? 1993 Kluwer

16: 213-230, 1993. Academic Publishers.


in the Netherlands.

Confucianism perspective

as political philosophy: A postmodern

of Political

Science, Moravian



PA 18018


is neither

a first



a last word.



of dialogue are without limit. They extend into the deepest

past and most distant future. Even meanings born in

dialogues of the remotest past will never be finally grasped once and for all, for they will always be reviewed in later

Mikhail Bakhtin

1. Postmodernity The


the hermeneutics

of dialogue

to pluralism - that is, decentered mood is well disposed postmodern of all kinds whose principium to difference.1 is ready receptivity pluralism even to Above it focus and the other all, brings marginalized preeminence in philosophical discourse: it delegitimates the center and legitimates the margin. Occident the perspective of this essay, the marginalized other of the in philosophical is the Orient. Armed with the Foucaul? discourse dian genealogy, the literary theorist Edward W. Said (1978) brought to our the marginalization nexus attention of the Orient in the Western of He calls the phenomenon of this marginalization For

and power. knowledge "Orientalism." The

deconstructs the modern. In the context of this essay, postmodern as the of modernity counter-discourse is post postmodernity philosophical Western it intends to (see Jung, 1989). By calling for the end of modernity, or deregulate loosen on truth. By the hegemonic grip by the West deconstruction "a critical I wish process be employed, drawn." rules the life and times of postmodernity. Zygmunt to convey Heidegger's in which the traditional are de-constructed formulation concepts, down that is, (1982:23): at first must which to the sources from

necessarily which they were Hermeneutics

This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:23:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Bauman the "jesterly" metaphor relegates the whereas played by postmodernist, is reserved for the modernist. "legislator" between autonomous cates the to the role of an "interpreter" the "priestly" of a metaphor The com? interpreter facilitates the legislator authenti? while


participants, of opinions (Bauman, validity by his superior knowledge As the art of interpretation, hermeneutics is the way of under? 1987:4-5).2 in the plural. the world In Philosophy and the Mirror standing of Nature which is a noble attempt to formulate hermeneutics-centered postmodernity in Descartes, by overcoming epistemology-centered modernity particularly and Kant, the American Richard Locke, (1979:325) neo-pragmatist Rorty as "what we get when we are no longer defines hermeneutics simply epistemological." of continuing

It is the "edifying" way, as he puts it loosely and bluntly, which conversation is nothing other than a humanity's in hand. a radical

of dialogues. multiple Hermeneutics and Dialogue difference the Western former Bakhtin. dialogism "interpreting" Dialogism, momentous dialogical of thou. cardinal is In "unfinalizable" between

are inseparable, they go hand dialogue is in truth the soul of hermeneutics.3 There is, however, hermeneutics tradition truly the

as dialogue in and dialectics (dialogism) The of philosophy from Plato to Hegel Marx. and is while the latter is not. Dialogism open-ended, to use the expression of of comparative of "legislating" known holier as thou to us the Russian philosophy, dialogist Mikhail the question of but of


is not

a matter


comparability.4 as it has become

is the soul of dialogue. The is the (Cartesian) Cogito primarily by because it is In the first place, the Cogito is inherently monologic twofold. an ideal model of the "I think") ego cogito (the always and necessarily and other invisible man in splendid isolation from others, both other minds

discovery by Ludwig there is nothing ontology, In other words, the other sin of modernity committed


is the result of the today, or of a "thou." In dialogism than the uneliminable presence

In the second place, the mind as a thinking substance (res cogitons) is independent of the body (res extensa), it needs nothing more than itself to in intellection exist. The Cogito is a magisterial system of disembodied as the marginalized other of the mind. Once which the body is abandoned bodies. as disembodied two self substances, - or even in extremis is contained substances, monologism solipsism as the mind disembodied For moreover, Descartes, Cogito inescapable. cacoon weaves of "clear and distinct ideas." Cartesian the privatized the self and the other metaphysics hegemony metaphysics is identifiable with the panoptic is the Cogito epicenter As a matter of fact, visual of vision or ocularcentric metaphysics. of the Cogito because with the in hand hand goes monologism whose are viewed

This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:23:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

vision the in denying but also anaesthetic is not only isolating or distancing a senses: of amnesia there is and social the of narcissism (other) sociability the "I" and the "eye." and in all vision. In short, there is an identity between I is the mind's is video ergo sum or the mind's eye. Heidegger as that the "I" (or the "eye") of the Cogito contends (1977:115-154) center "I of from which the the substance becomes thought thinking or subjectivism "the subjectivity of modern thought originates: viewpoint" For the

The Cogito

of the subject is determined (Ichheit) of the T think.'" by the T-ness' and heightens of the Cartesian Cogito highlights him, the "I-viewpoint" modern age as "the age of the world picture" (Weltbild).

is in the structure of dialogue, What is often overlooked unfortunately, It is the structure of the other as the primacy of the other as alterity. - to (1987) concept interesting "altarity" appropriate Mark C. Taylor's of the other as alterity. Thus which the sanctifying presence signifies of dialogue. In this regard, it becomes the regulative principle heteronomy of the 1961 Adolf that in her controversial reporting to the issue of Hannah Arendt attends in Jerusalem, or the "banality of evil" in his crimes against humanity. "thoughtlessness" refer to man's for does not, Arendt, special gift and ability for Thinking for abstract and theoretical her, it is the natural gift for reasoning. Rather, men as or prudential common-sense and women, humans, of all "rational" is worth Eichmann noting trial wisdom in the original Latin is uncovered of which (the true meaning sensus Most Arendt faults communis). (1965:49) expression importantly, or Eichmann's for his lack absence of other-directed thoughtlessness is, heteronomic inability to think from that is identified thinking: his thoughtlessness the standpoint others also Arendt, (see of to the issue of Eichmann's "banality of evil" in dialogism, a the event of The dialogue. in the horizon the the gives dialogue too, the word formulation, difference and the between in Bakhtin's

thinking, with his

1971). This point in relation has rarely been noticed. Be that as it may, the primacy of the answer dictates particular, of the answer presence anticipated sense of pragmaticity. In Heidegger's assured Unterschied has the double of meaning

it works like a hinge that connects and conserves difference (Unter/schied): as dif/ference and the relational, as that is, difference (Differenz Cf. also Jung, 1987). The relational is (see 1971:202-203. Unter/schied) marked by the play of difference: more the more difference, the reciprocity and the more the other, the more the self. In the world of identity, which is the opposite of difference, without the otherness of the other, the question of ethics reciprocity. imaginable is also there would be no genuine simply because - were In the universe of one person unpopulated it by others there would be no need for ethics. unthinkable

This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:23:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

2. Confucianism Confucianism know, specify Chinese. or The as political defines philosophy Sinism is, as far as I to H. G. Creel (1929) are uniquely which

the term

that was


the quintessence of Sinism. coined by the Sinologist that cluster of characteristics

of Sinism, phenomenon a geographical It encompasses region. as Taiwan, and Japan as well Hong

have been ideograms embodies and expresses the Sinitic mindscape whose outlook is manifestly and than other? rather concrete, inductive, this-wordly, practical, particular and deductive, abstract, (see Nakamura, worldly, speculative, general and Suzuki, is manifested in 1964:173-294 1959). This Sinitic mindset and Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism alike. Confucianism, Taoism, I go on further, two preliminary Before remarks are in order. First, my in particular, was rooted of Sinism, of Confucianism in my rediscovery response and reaction to the reading of the marginalization by Occidental of the Orient Hulin, (see 1979). As the Hegel philosophers specifically true value of the hammer, according to Heidegger, will not be grasped until it is broken, subjected Confucianism so the value to a Eurocentric of Confucianism cannot critique.5 I mean the long is essentially By logocentrism logocentric. itself into the word process of (logos) transforming purely specula? spoken tive reason and culminating itself in the "calculative of the thinking" 1977). quotidian logocentric philosophy Second, of tradition, minimized. Received moment age which technological It is also the disembodied concerns is called The Eurocentric be appreciated until it is or of Sinism critique


to China as I suggest, is not confined all the geographical Korea regions and where the Kong, Singapore and are in use. The ideographic language


for the authority should be the world Confucianism's changing event. hermeneutics envisions truth as a dialogical However, at of the the truth is the coming the and past present together relevance for interpretation. There in because is indeed the "fusion of is horizons" "effective" or the idea own and history interpretation, tradition effectuates the

critique as such but only a social ethics. one may contend that because of its reverence

Gestell by Heidegger (Heidegger, reason which itself from the disengages In other words, the of the sociocultural life-world. that Confucianism is not a of Confucianism concludes


(Horizontverschmelzung) (Wirkungsgeschichte) at the moment interlocutor of "horizon" defines


of interpretation (see Gadamer, 1991). The of from his/her the interlocutor's vision" "range

as a dialogical event, there is no "last word." vantage point. In hermeneutics the birth of the reader at the death of hermeneutics celebrates Postmodern and 1977:142-148 the author Confucius (see Barthes, notwithstanding sums 1977:113-138. Cf. Jung, 1985). Paul Ricoeur Foucault, (1974:27) up

This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:23:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

the living dynamics of tradition itself when he writes:

... tradition as the transmission ..., even understood of a depositum, remains a dead tradition if it is not the continual package we pass from ever opening, but rather a treasure from which we hand to hand, without draw by the handful and which by this very act is replenished. Every lives by grace of interpretation, and it is at this price that it tradition that is, remains living.^ continues, it should be said from the two preliminary remarks, Having completed is the basic cornerstone of Confucianism, the very outset that reciprocity own distinct characterizes man's indeed of Sinism itself.7 Reciprocity and points to the basic precept of Confucianism. Man is said to be a to relation? of relationships: he/she is condemned network nothing but then language itself is a communica? ships. If man is defined as language, to the tive system basic of relationships. of Con? precept According humanity self nor a collective self is neither an individual fucianism, however, man as a relationship of social proximity, is the but is a "familial self'8 which, to the level of religiosity, root of all other relationships. When it is elevated of reciprocity, becomes moreover, reciprocity piety. As the sanctification Saintliness may be defined as the quality of piety is always heteronomic. one's other and performed for the sake of the exclusively no doubt Confucian (see Wyschogrod, 1990).9 jen (humaneness) an such ethical ideal. As the pillar of Confucian humanism, jen approaches of is jen: humaneness defines the human Without (jen) quality being (jen). moral deed desired

not be fully human. In the Analects, it, man would jen, without practicing as righteousness is the of such virtues (i), propriety (//), jen apotheosis or wisdom (hsin). (chih), and faithfulness fidelity The political has always been the architectonic in the form of reciprocity tradition of Sinism, particularly of Confucianism. As it is made up of three lines connected line, the Chinese by one vertical ideogram king which is the stands for the unifier of (or ruler), supreme political symbol, three "cosmic" elements: heaven, earth, and man (Granet, 1950:319).10 text Even in the most Tao Taoist Te that the represents important Ching or of wei Sinism and inactivism the (wu "no-action"), heterodoxy political horizontal as is portrayed king the Chinese moreover, satellite one of the ideogram ear, mouth, ideograms: unifier of heaven, and listening earth, and man by speaking truthfully or with fidelity. Lastly, The Art ofRulership is one of the central treatises in the anthology of diverse philosophico-political discourses called Huai Nan Tzu which Aristotle's political in the Han dynasty. Like Plato's Republic and compiled in ancient Greece, The Art ofRulership is "a systematic of the Confucian, based on the "creative philosophy" syncretism" Politics was "greats." Interestingly, is of three sage (hypogram) composed and king. Thus the sage stands for the four cosmic

This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:23:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

and Legalist traditions of ancient China. It is interesting to observe Taoist, that the concept of li min ("benefiting the people") is decisively Confucian and constitutes the "unifying of in spirit" political philosophy propounded

The Art ofRulership (Ames, 1983).

the remaining pages a postmodern which is, I submit, (see performance already concept Benamou and Caramello, 1977; Poirier, 1971; and Scheduler, 1988).n is indeed the regulative Performance of Confucianism, of Sinism. principle The "inter(dis)course" of performance may be said to have the fourfold Having fucianism, stressed the utmost of political importance of this essay will focus in Con? philosophy on the conception of

characteristic: (1) pragmatic, (2) linguistic, (3) corporeal, and (4) ethical.
Performance action. We have is egocentric is a pragmatic already or monologic. However, In it reason and heteronomic. is the human sarily dialogic sensus communis. Performance promotes prudential knowledge, in action it is the field field, that the Cartesian argued of dialogue in "I the (or think") Cogito the "I do" as performance is neces? that faculty as dialogue of doing

is inseparable from the idea of cultivation, of self-cultivation with to matters the of both the mind and it most the As is such, regard body. as cultivation the defies important to note that the concept of performance determination of human events and affairs by physis, God, or nature (as in or sociobiology). ethology The ancient Greek conception

as the family of performing arts included oral poetry, drama, and dance as well as music (see Geor a is web of Performance whose Nietzsche, 1973). inter(dis)courses. giades, career began as a Greek philologist, academic is the master of unmasking of mousike the "performative self." In his first opus The Birth of Tragedy, the juvenes? as an cent Nietzsche and 141) declared that "it is only aesthetic (1967:52 are is that existence and the world Music phenomenon eternally justified." the aesthetic it directly: of making and grasping intelligible an idea can us beside the world, "Quite generally, only music, placed give as an aesthetic of what is meant of the world by the justification of music and noted a close too, was a devotee Confucius, phenomenon." the between humaneness and music because (jen) kinship presumably at the harmony of relationships.12 former, like the latter, aims to that it is impossible by saying the of words power By understanding (language). or the power of words, he surely means words as "performative utterances" are as The identified acts" which "speech "doing things with words." Chinese Ezra Pound American describes Kenner, (see 1951:38) poet Confucius concludes the Analects understand man without as "a discipline The Con? of morale and of morals." writing ideographic fucian formulation of the "rectification of names" (cheng ming) the "rite" of calling things by their right names the of ethics exemplifies language as for him one way

This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:23:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

to moral it points by the use of orthographies of speaking as of names is the accountability which is also affiliated with fidelity moral performance (hsin) etymologi his both words." "man moreover, Interestingly, cally speaking, standing by are same to to the and govern (i.e., cheng) pronounced ideograms rectify "performative "rite words." utterances": The rectification the latter as its radical. the former contains ideography, as a it is rectitude: defines politics Cheng ming politico-jurisprudential it is no doubt an that is, truly a "re(s)publican" concept, principle. Although and, in Chinese

influential concept in the Chinese body politic and the history of Chinese
political directly conduct and of names is mentioned the rectification explicitly thought, - in once in with the the Analects conjunction proprietary only the first necessary of the ruler in the affairs of the body politic: Confucius

thing the ruler (ofWei) had to do in administering the affairs of govern?

ment, is "to rectify names," for "if names be not pronounced, not in with the of accordance truth is rectified, things. If language language is not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success" 13:3, 2-5) (cf. Hu, 1963:24-27). (Analects, the fabric of Chinese (ch yeng) is the moral fibre that produces Sincerity

or thread that weaves the warp of knowledge and the woof of philosophy of action in Chinese the Sinitic way and, for that matter, philosophy consummates ideal It the and embodies and Confucian thinking doing.13 of of action and action is the completion is the beginning and action i.e., the unity of knowledge (chih hsing ho i). knowledge, as a pragmatic in other the embodiment of is, words, Sincerity performance and field. It is the most that moral precept important underpins, motivates, a means mean what the thought and action of "we Sinitic soul. It governs we in action what we promise in words." The say" or "we perform that knowledge sincerity ideogram Vico's Giambattista "word" and "achievement" (in spells syntactically sense of factum). That is to say, the word as "achieved" an index of moral value. The idea of embodies actually the fulfillment the dualism of one's from of mind in and/or of the spoken word and body. For perfor?

or "performed" not only denotes performance as action but also transcends mance The as the consummation following statements as moral nor ideal:

performance to their men

deed requires corporeal completion. the Analects, for example, exemplify the superior man "is heard to speak, (1) When (15:7);

his language is firm and decided" (19:9); (2) "Thewise err neither in regard
(3) "The virtuous will be sure to but those whose is good may not always be vir? speak correctly, speech tuous" (14:5); (4) "The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in to their words"

his actions" (14:29); and (5) Friendship with the "glib-tongued" is injurious (16:4). All in all, the purpose of sincerity buttressed by fidelity is to bond a
"fiduciary community"14 based on prudentia and sensus communis. In

This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:23:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Confucianism, saying things with words sides of performance. the two reversible Performance Shoshana the carnal "corporeal is an Felman and doing things without words are

a corporeal in action. inter(dis)course, dialogue or sense of the evokes (1983) corporeality psychoanalytic as she views dimension of language when (parole) speech promise" between a conjugal which beckons corporelle) (promesse as of John Austin's speech acts language philosophy as discourse "talking cure." The psychotherapeutic to Felman (1987:56 structure et passim), lies in his in psychotherapeutic

relationship and Freudian/Lacanian originality dis/covery discourse

dialogic" is the the unconscious like language, and knowledge: structured Felman of Lacan's of the other. Speaking discourse theory, psychoanalytic stresses the fact that the "true thrust" of the psychoanalytic (1987:118-119) is illocu the therapist and the client as "talking bodies" between dialogue discourse the dialogic psychoanalytic tionary: "fundamentally, as and thus is by necessity it is performative"15 much informative well. Corporeal movement, I suggest, is most elemental to the well. is not ethical so as

of Lacan, according of an "irreducibly

Indeed, very ideograms "perform" performance. Emerson (n. d.: 10) sounds as if he were speaking about them when he says: and "words are actions, actions are a kind of words." Vico had the keenest most

as ideogram Waldo Ralph

sense of the anatomy of language. Not only does he define perceptive man as "only mind, body and speech" but also he locates speech as standing the somewhere "midway between mind and body." As he (1984:78) writes, is that "words are carried over from bodies universal principle of etymology of the mind and to signify the institutions of bodies and from the properties and the that the human and 78) observes (1984:129-130 spirit." Vico we means of words: natural as well as mind and body are linked by signify our in? from terms of in natural inanimate, body metaphor things all found in be could he of numerable claims, which, rightly examples of a thing is the metaphor languages. As a matter of fact, every ideogram it is human or natural. An ideogram may be a gesture and as a gesture into a it is silencing speech speech." To put it in another way, that insists Blackmur a R. P. into moving (1952:4) gesture, anthropogram. roots and to language; and "if you cut it out you cut is indigenous gesture "mute a rotting if indeed not a petrifying language."16 get a sapless and gradually is silence: it speaks and the "language" "Silence," The body speaks, Norman O. Brown [(m) other] tongue," and says, "is the mother (1960:264) ... What ... is to recover the human body is "to recover the world of silence or a silent is the body." The body as "mute speech" speaking sum of to of gestures, up, is the "silent spring" language. dialogue has been in Chinese Indeed, particular which (calligraphy ideography always

This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:23:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

revered as much as painting in China) is a kinetic art: it is the human body In very significant Chinese is a measure, ideography of human gestures.17 Doing as be described calligraphy may

in fluid motion.

choreography the dancing of the hand whereby an equilibrium the calligrapher maintains with his brush.18 Marshall McLuhan who fancied (1968:39), reportedly his The in the medium of magnum opus, writing Gutenberg Galaxy, - so it have been called The Ideographic \ -, ideograms might Galaxy the ideogram as "a vortex that responds to line of force" and "a considers mask equally of corporate poignant energy." St?phane in characterizing and the "visual Mallarm? the dance

or calligraphy as the frolicking of Ideographic writing to well be likened Paul gestures may very (1956:27-62) Val?ry's of the dance as the "intense festival of the body in the presence description of our souls." In this sense, the ideogram is a metaphor of the human body or embodied soul in motion. Picasso's Swimmer and Acrobat (1929) (1930) are two choreographs or dancing of the human body in graceful motion are approaching which or calligraphy. are kinegraphs ideography They human the ideogram man is an anthropogram calligraphed ideograms when or in the abstract form of the body's "upright posture" (or shaped simplified as the pianissimo, and the other as "rectitude"). One may be characterized indeed of bodily movement. fortissimo, the eloquent of expressivity James Joyce identical. An that in its own way, Each, the miraculous body. bursts with Samuel and "mute vigor Beckett in is are or a

(?criture corporelle) visuelle de l'id?e).

is (see Kermode, 1962:25) as "corporeal writing" embodiment of idea" (incorporation

incontrovertible when he (1929:11) says in his discussion of Vico and

speech" it to "speaking picture" because "you don't have to be able to pronounce as know what it means." R. G. Collingwood If, (1939:243-244) says St. Augustine, Imight add), every natural language is a special? (following ized form of bodily gesture, Chinese to be - naturally, ideography deserves of course the "mother tongue" of all languages. or "performs," When it inescapably and gesture "speaks" "speaks" an the language of ethic: there is indeed an ethic of gesture (see "performs" Schmitt, or orthog? 1989). As the language of gesture, Chinese ideography to said be be "didactic" term the that has its root raphy may etymological in the Latin didax signifying the teacher's forefinger 1991). It is (Murray, of the ethic Such as gesture in language the spoken as stated, may be ideogram, already the written

of a fiduciary an ethic, I believe, is embodied in the "meontology" of Emmanuel Levinas based on the primacy of the other (VAutrui) or heteronomy. In Levinas's meontology, "Being" and "value" are chiasmic as value. It is an is defined twins; in it Being embodied ethic because it is an ethic with a human face. The face is an

to the ethic of language, truly a testimony19 an of ethic with a human face. community,

This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:23:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

(Levinas, of the face (visage) is an ethic of the I 1969:83). Levinas's phenomenology or who is capable of facing - or, to put it negatively, incapable of de/facing as an to the other "thou." The face face the other be called may ef/facing "interface" In Levinas's heteronomic ethic (Levinas and Kearney, 1986:20). epiphany is affirmed never for itself (i.e., it is never proximity, subjectivity comes but for another (Vautre) (i.e., it is dialogic). monologic) Subjectivity into being as "heteronomic": "it is my and incontrovertible inescapable me an individual" to the other that makes and (Levinas answerability of social Kearney, coincides sibility (das Man should or answerability Thus the notion of responsibility 1986:27).20 in respon? with the ethical or the ethics of proximity itself. Only we as / the isolated is the the midterm between and no/body placed or the "anonymous be emphasized, conception "sincerity" self-cultivation of are of other" in Heidegger's faceless. equally sense) both of which, In essence, Levinas's to the "moral the Confucian it ethic, a human ethic: "the of the face is ethical"

"meontological" metaphysics" of program moral

subjectivity corresponds in consonance with (cWeng) and self-realization which

requirements the ethic of political To sum up: Confucianism of the ethical and of hand

It becomes, of a fiduciary community. as or rectitude." power "politics over

to the is integral when extended,

primacy individual,

is thoroughly heteronomic. It celebrates the over the of the relational the epistemological, of Confucian the other over the self. As the apogee in hand with personhood and self-fulfillment.

ethics, jen epitomizes the ethics of responsibility in which the primacy of

the other goes

3. On While

the way modernity

to dialogue is the stands between for

as lateral condition the

universal which has marginalized and hope of the Orient, an opening

postmodernity inter(dis)course what itmeans or plea otherwise to decenter The

opportunity the Orient and the Occident. To be sure, any centrism

for - violates

to be post-Western. For Sinocentrism.

This is, in essence, it is not and cannot be a call or whether Sinocentric which endeavors

the privileged

the esprit de corps center.

of postmodernity

is also a devoted who (1990:41), poet, Gary Snyder to an in Zen in general and cultures student of Eastern points particular, toward uniformity, truth when he faults Eurocentric elemental prejudices American universality, monotheism." which great and centralization Merleau-Ponty in the "ideology of deeply ingrained of that the Eurocentric contends Hegel, path and draws a thought from universal knowledge and non-philosophy, also marginalizes a

Oriental disprivileges divide between philosophy

This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:23:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

as a perpetual is past. Philosophy beginning good part of the Western to examine its own idea of truth again and again because destined truth is not divided and doctrines is but, instead, among preformulated dogmas life-world prior to all in the deep sediments of the preconceptual discovered formuli and determinations. conceptual to not only the reexamination subject related matters politics and institutions Thus Western of its own itself is philosophy idea of truth but also of economy, and

such as science,


(see Merleau-Ponty, 1964:133-140). to be a postmodern is meant project Comparative political philosophy which must be carried out in the true spirit of dialogue. As such it will be an in the plural based on mutual of the world arduous search for the politics one in is awakened in the echoes of the other. It is a which recognition search and research that allows formulation and and but calls the "lateral universal" for what Merleau-Ponty across To invoke Arendt's boundaries. cultural interpretation


envisaged the primacy acknowledges in that it is neither munal individualist rectitude and

in the combined idea of "equality" plurality grounded human communication is impossible without equality, Postmodern be it is unnecessary. for distinction, may politics on the firm ground of a new ethic, of an ethic of heteronomy that of human It is com? and respects difference. nor collectivist, individualist that is, it is post Postmodern is the politics of and post-totalitarian. politics of the other

is never wherein freedom absolutely responsibility or else nothing or autonomous It is dialogic sovereign but always relational. at all. To conclude with an unforgettable of the dialogist Mikhail passage

Bakhtin (1984:252):
... is not the threshold to action, it is action itself. It is not a dialogue means to the surface the already ready-made for revealing, for bringing a person not only shows himself character of a person; no, in dialogue for the time that which he is but he becomes first and, we outwardly, as well. to To be means repeat, not only for others but for himself When dialogue ends (italics communicate ends, everything dialogically. added).21

Notes 1. Jean-Fran?ois Lyotard (1984:xxv) contends that "Postmodern knowledge is not simply a tool of the authorities; it refines our sensitivity to differences and Its principle is not the reinforces our ability to tolerate the incommensurable. but the inventor's expert's homology, paralogy." 2. I added the terms priestly and jesterly which are borrowed from Leszek a Kolakowski. He writes that "The antagonism between (1968:33-34) that perpetuates that questions the absolute and a philosophy philosophy

This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:23:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

accepted absolutes seems incurable ... This is the antagonism between the priest and the jester, and in almost every epoch the philosophy of the priest and the philosophy of the jester are the two most general forms of intellectual ... The culture. The priest is the guardian of the absolute; jester's constant effort is to consider all the possible reasons for contradictory ideas. It is thus dialectical by nature - simply the attempt to change what is because it is. He is motivated not by a desire to be perverse but by distrust of a stabilized system." the footsteps of his mentor Hans-Georg Gadamer, Gianni Vattimo Following treats hermeneutics as dialogue. (1988) Bakhtin (1984:252) speaks of the "unfinalizability of dialogue." Cf. Gary Saul that "Bakhtin accuses Morson and Caryl Emerson (1989:47) who write 'theoretism' of 'transcribing' events in such a way that they lose their 'eventness.' Later in his life, the concept of monologization replaced that of transcription: abstract systems, such as Marxist or Hegelian dialectics, remove the dialogue from dialogue, and monologize the world." In this connection, I should mention two fascinating views on being Chinese out of China: Tu Wei-Ming (1991) and Leo Ou-fan Lee (1991). It is noteworthy that Herbert Fingarette (1972:7), who is an astute Western student of Confucius, comments on the contemporary relevance of Confucius and Confucian philosophy: "When I began to read Confucius, I found him to be a prosaic and parochical moralizer; his collected sayings, the Analects, seemed to me a archaic irrelevance. Later, and with increasing force, I found him a thinker with profound insight and with an imaginative vision of man equal in its grandeur to any I know. Increasingly, I have become convinced that Confucius can be a teacher to us today - a major teacher, not one who merely gives us a slightly exotic perspective on the ideas already current. He tells us things not being said elsewhere; things needing to be said. He has a
new lesson to teach."

3. 4.

5. 6.

7. On the subject of reciprocity in Sinitic thought, see Jung (1965, 1966, 1969, 1986 and 1991). 8. The term familial self is borrowed from Alan Roland's study of the Oriental self (1988). I am grateful to Kazuhiko Okuda for bringing to my attention this fine book. 9. The Confucian philosopher of jen would give the seal of approval to Edmund as the "civil servant of humanity" Husserl's conception of the philosopher der Menschheit). (Funktion?r 10. Here the importance of "etymosinology," which was "discovered" by the cannot be overlooked. Ernest Fenollosa American (1964), philosopher is a hermeneutic of deciphering the Sinitic cultural mindset by Etymosinology for "decomposing" ideograms (see also Jung, 1984). To apply etymosinology: to The words." the of the refers "enshrining activity example, ideogram poetry scholar Tai T'ung produced a jem of Chinese thirteenth-century Chinese etymology called The Six Scripts or the Principles of Chinese Writing (1954). In Visible Speech (1989), John DeFrancis is insistent on proving that writing is nothing but "visible speech" or the transcrip? including Chinese ideography tion of speech. He (1989:248) writes that "The concept of writing as visible the insistence speech summarizes throughout this book that the primary is the representation of speech. The dichotomy defining feature of writing between full and partial writing is intended to sort out graphic symbols which are capable of conveying any and all thought from those which can convey

This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:23:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

only limited areas of thought, chiefly ones that are picturable. No end is served by lumping the two kinds of symbols together. The pervasive confusion which has resulted from doing so needs to be cleared up by stressing the empirical fact that all full systems of writing are based on representation of sounds, and that no sets of symbols not based on representation of sounds have been shown capable of conveying anything more than a limited range of thought." 11. A postmodern focus on performance would benefit particularly the develop? ment of the body politic (e.g., feminism and ecology) and ethical theory. There is a plethora of literature on both subjects. For the theory of the ethical, see particularly Charles E. Scott (1990). 12. Let me quote a superb passage from Fingarette (1972:53) on performance as an integrating and consummately "Acts that are // concept in Confucianism:
are not mere rote, formula-conforming performances; they are subtle and

intelligent acts exhibiting more or less sensitivity to context, more or less integrity in performance. We would do well to take music, of which Confucius was a devotee, as our model here. We distinguish sensitive and intelligent musical performances from dull and unperceptive ones; and we detect in the performance confidence and integrity, or perhaps hesitation, conflict, 'faking,' 'sentimentalizing.' We detect all this in the performance; we do not have to look into the psyche or personality of the performer. It is all 'there,' public. it is apparent to us when we consider it is there in the performance, Although the performance not as 'the Beethoven Opus 3' (that is, from the composer nor as a 'post nor as a 'public concert' (the // perspective), perspective), Mozartian but primarily as this particular (the style perspective), opus' person's performance (the personal perspective)." 13. Tu Wei-Ming (The Doctrine of the Mean) propounds ch'eng in Chung-yung as "moral Tu, (see 1989:67-91). broadly metaphysics" 14. The is borrowed from Tu Wei-Ming community phrase fiduciary I was reading some years ago Ivan Morris's (1989:39-66). While fascinating study of the Japanese mind and tradition called The Nobility of Failure (1962), I was deeply moved by the fact that this is the essence of the Sinitic moral
soul. This phenomenon emanates from the Confucian moral ideal of sincerity

the influence of the philosophy (makoto in Japanese), and one cannot minimize of the sixteenth-century Chinese neo-Confucianist (O Wang Yang-ming Yomei in Japanese) who accentuated the unity of knowledge and action as well as the unity of mind and body. The apotheosis of a tragic hero is Saigo Takamori from the Meiji Restoration, who was also influenced by Wang
Yang-ming. Saigo was a corpulent, "death-defying" hero whose eyes, legs,

hands, and fingers were depicted as ready "tools for action." Here I should the forgotten work by the American philosopher Josiah Royce, The mention Philosophy of Loyalty (1908) in which he defines the concept as "the willing and practical thoroughgoing devotion of a person for a cause." For him, loyalty is a central principle of our moral life and the other moral concepts such as justice, charity, industry, wisdom, and spirituality are definable in terms of it. 15. Cf. Daelemans and Maranh?o who write that "Therapeutic (1990:237) discourse is primordially dialogic, and that dialogicality is not merely a 'formal of the therapeutic requirement' 'talking cure': the therapeutic dialogue constitutes the evocative meeting place where the unconscious speaks both in and between the analyst and the analysand, but only when they meet; that is, only when there is an Other." Cf. also Donald P. Spence (1982:272) who says

This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:23:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

that "A pragmatic statement is a certain kind of speech act, and it might be argued that the analyst making an interpretation is performing a certain kind of speech act in the analytic situation." See Pratt (1977) for an applied theory of speech act for literary discourse. 16. Blackmur (1952:3^4) also contends that "Language is made of words, and is made of motion. There is one half the puzzle. The other half is gesture if only because it is an equally familiar part of the baggage self-evident equally of our thought. It is the same statement but the other way around. Words are made of motion, made of action or response, at whatever remove; and gesture ismade of language of words ...When the language of words fails we resort to the language of gesture. If we stop there, we stop with the puzzle. If we go on, and say that when the language of words most succeeds it becomes gesture in its words, we shall have solved the verbal puzzle with which we began by discovering one approach to the central or dead-end mystery of meaningful expression in the language of the arts." 17. For a detailed discussion on the subject, see Tchang Tcheng-ming (1937). There is an interesting interview with Jacques Derrida (Derrida and McDonald, on thinking the feminine which begins with his reflection on 1982:66-76) that "If I can't dance I don't want to be part Emma Goldman's pronouncement and unilateralism, of your revolution." Confucian patriarchical monologism is notorious. that is, the Confucian deformation and displacement of women, To say that the body is the "mother" of all languages or the body "invaginates" is not to say that etymosinology all languages "gynesis" or privileges with two "woman mother The Chinese represents ideogram gynogenesis. role as of "mother" that defines the mother's breasts." The etymosinology a scathing For not the feminine. or valorize does babies nurturing nursing and of Confucius monologism critique of the masculine postmodernist see Kristeva Confucianism, (1977). 18. In Chinese Calligraphy (1973), Chiang Yee regards calligraphy as "the most the of the Chinese mind. He discusses fundamental artistic manifestation" aesthetic philosophy of calligraphy and its relation to painting, sculpture, and architecture. In the Chinese (Sinitic) tradition of art, calligraphy has been blended with painting. Interestingly, moreover, Chiang also relates calligraphy to dance and speaks of the style of one calligrapher as "the dancing of the writes: "It is not unprofitable to compare corps de ballet." He (1973:126-127) The with calligraphy of a great master is not the piecing dancing. calligraphy written symbols to convey meaning, but an of certain and lining up together adventure in movement very similar to good dancing. A skater, preoccupied with the evolution of his legs and feet, will sometimes forget to balance his arms and hands, but a dancer's whole body and all his limbs must be woven into a harmonious rhythmic movement. The pleasure derived from looking at a good calligraphy, or felt in practicing it, is exactly this delight of watching beautiful dancer. We are told that the writing of Chang Hsu ..., a calligrapher was suddenly improved and highly esteemed for his Grass Style characters, ... the 'Dance the watched had perform[ing] Lady Kung-Sun inspired after he Sword'." Cf. Foucault (1983:21) who writes that "... the of the Two-Edged our alphabetical calligram aspires playfully to efface the oldest oppositions of to show and to name; to shape and to say; to reproduce and to civilization: articulate; to imitate and to signify; to look and to read." InMartin Heidegger's What Is Called Thinking? there is an irresistible passage which describes the

This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:23:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

uniqueness of the human hand and links thinking with the action of the hand. He (1968:16-17) writes: "We are trying to learn thinking. Perhaps thinking, too, is just something like building a cabinet. At any rate, it is a craft, a 'handicraft.' 'Craft' literally means the strength and skill in our hands. The hand is a peculiar thing. In the common view, the hand is part of our bodily organism. But the hand's essence can never be determined, or explained, by its being an organ which can grasp. Apes, too, have organs that can grasp, but they do not have hands. The hand is infinitely different from all grasping - different organs paws, claws, or fangs by an abyss of essence. Only a being who can speak, that is, think, can have hands and can be handy in achieving works of handicraft. But the craft of the hand is richer than we commonly imagine. The hand does not only grasp and catch, or push and pull. The hand - and not reaches and extends, receives and welcomes just things: the hand in the hands of others. The hand extends itself, and receives its own welcome holds. The hand carries. The hand designs and signs, presumably because man is a sign. Two hands fold into one, a gesture meant to carry man into the great oneness. The hand is all this, and this is the true handicraft, and commonly we go no further. But the hand's gestures run everywhere through language, in their most perfect purity precisely when man speaks by being silent. And only when man speaks, does he think - not the other way around, as metaphysics still believes. Every motion of the hand in every one of its works carries itself through the element of thinking, every bearing of the hand bears itself in that element. All the work of the hand is rooted in thinking. Therefore, thinking itself is man's simplest, and for that reason hardest, handiwork, if it would be accomplished at its proper time." 19. For Shoshana Felman (1991:39-81), testimony is "to bear witness" which, in turn, is "to take responsibility for truth." 20. In this connection, see O'Connor (1988) for a brief discussion of the ethical and political implications of Levinas's formulation of the absolute alterity of the other. See also Liberman (1989) for a glimpse of the non-egocentric formation of the self from a non-Western perspective. 21. See Smith (1991) for a thoughtful exploration of Gadamer's hermeneutics as the unending continuum of dialogue commensurate with human finitude and its ethical implications, which are not discordant with the tradition of Con? fucianism and Bakhtin's formulation of "unfinalizable" dialogism.

References Ames, R. T. (1983). The art ofrulership. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. in Jerusalem: A report on the banality of evil. Rev. Arendt, H. (1965). Eichmann and enl. ed. New York: Penguin. Arendt, H. (1971). Thinking and moral considerations: A lecture. Social Research

Bakhtin, M. (1984). Problems of Dostoevsky's poetics. Ed. and trans. C. Emerson. of Press. Minnesota Minneapolis: University Barthes, R. (1977). Image-music-text. Trans. S. Heath. New York: Hill andWang. Bauman, Z. (1987). Legislators and interpreters. Oxford, UK: Polity Press. ... Bruno. Vico .. Joyce. In S. Beckett et al., Our Beckett, S. (1929). Dante round his incamination in progress. exagmination factification for of Work

This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:23:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

London: Shakespeare. C. (Eds.) (1977). Performance in postmodern Benamou, M. and Caramello, culture. Madison, WI: Coda Press. Blackmur, R. P. (1952). Language as gesture. New York: Harcourt, Brace. Brown, N. O. (1960). Love's body. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 3rd, rev. and enl. ed. Cambridge, MA: Chiang, Y. (1973). Chinese calligraphy. Harvard University Press. Collingwood, R. G. (1939). The principles of art. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press. Creel, H. G. (1929). Sinism. Chicago: Open Court. S. and Maranh?o, T. (1990). Psychoanalytic Daelemans, dialogue and the dialogi? cal principle. In T. Maranh?o The (Ed.), interpretation of dialogue. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. DeFrancis, J. (1989). Visible speech. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. 12. Derrida, J. and McDonald, C. V. (1982). Choreographies. Diacritics Emerson, R. W. (N. d.). Essays: Second series. New York: Lovell, Coryell. Felman, S. (1983). The literary speech act. Trans. C. Porter. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Felman, S. (1987). Jacques Lacan and the adventure of insights. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Felman, S. (1991). In an era of testimony: Claude Lanzmann's Shoah. Yale French Studies No. 79. Fenollosa, E. (1964). The Chinese written character as a medium for poetry. Ed. E. Pound. San Francisco: City Light. - The secular as sacred. New York: Fingarette, H. (1972). Confucius Harper and

Foucault, M. (1977). What counter-memory, practice.

Foucault, M. (1983). This

is an author? In D. F. Bouchard (Ed.), Language, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

a pipe. method. Crossroad. Trans, and ed. J. Harkness. Berkeley, J. Weinsheimer CA:

is not

Gadamer, and D.

of California

2nd, rev. ed. Rev. trans.

and H.-G. Truth (1991). G. Marshall. New York:

Georgiades, T. (1967). Greek music, verse and dance. Trans. E. Benedikt and M. L. Martinez. New York: Da Capo Press. Granet, M. (1950). La pens?e chinoise. Paris: Michel. Heidegger, M. (1968). What is called thinking? Trans. F. D. Wieck and J. G. Gray. New York: Harper and Row. Heidegger, M. (1971). Poetry, language, thought. Trans. A. Hofstadter. New York:
Harper and Row.

(1977). The question concerning technology and other essays. Heidegger, M. Trans. W. Lovitt. New York: Harper and Row. Trans. A. Hofstad? Heidegger, M. (1982). The basic problems of phenomenology. ter. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Hu, S. (1963). The development of the logical method in ancient China. 2nd ed. New York: Paragon. Hulin, M. (1979). Hegel et VOrient. Paris: Vrin. and existential (1965). Wang phenomenology. Jung, H. Y. Yang-ming International Philosophical Quarterly 5. Jung, H. Y. (1966). Jen: An existential and phenomenological problem of intersub? jectivity. Philosophy East and West 16. and existentialism: Intersubjectivity as the way Jung, H. Y. (1969). Confucianism

This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:23:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Research 30. of man. Philosophy and Phenomenological to Derrida and the Y. H. (1984). Misreading ideogram: From Fenollosa Jung, 13. McLuhan. Paideuman Jung, H. Y. (1985). The edification of oral hermeneutics and the ecology of the text. In Proceedings of the International Comparative of the Xth Congress Literature Association, Vol. 2: C. Guillen (Ed.), Comparative poetics. New York: Garland. and action: A postscript to Wang Jung, H. Y. (1986). The unity of knowledge Journal existential of Chinese Studies 3. phenomenology. Yang-ming's with sinitic H. Y. way (1987). Heidegger's thinking. In G. Parkes (Ed.), Jung, of Hawaii Press. Asian Honolulu: and University Heidegger thought. Jung, H. Y. (1989). The question of rationality and the basic grammar of intercul? tural texts. Niigata, Japan: International University of Japan. Jung, H. Y. (1991). The way of ecopiety: An essay in deep ecology from a sinitic 1. perspective. Asian Philosophy Kenner, H. (1951). The poetry of Ezra Pound. Norfolk, CT: New Directions. Kermode, F. (1962). Puzzles and epiphanies. New York: Chilmark Press. Kolakowski, L. (1968). Toward a Marxist humanism. Trans. J. Z. Peel. New York: Grove Press. Kristeva, J. (1977). About Chinese women. Trans. A. Barrows. New York: Urizen. Lee, L. O.-f. (1991). On the margins of the Chinese discourse: Some personal 120. thoughts on the cultural meanings of the periphery. Daedalus Levinas, E. (1969). Totality and infinity. Trans. A. Lingis. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press. Levinas, E. and Kearney, R. (1986). Dialogue with Emmanuel Levinas. In R. A. Cohen (Ed.), Face to face with Levinas. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. the self: Two perspectives from philosophical Liberman, K. (1989). Decentering anthropology. In A. B. Dallery and C. E. Scott (Eds.), The question of the other. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. condition. Trans. G. Bennington and B. Lyotard, J.-F. (1984). The postmodern
Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.



and Parker, H.

(1968). Through

the vanishing

point. New


and Row.

Merleau-Ponty, M. (1964). Signs. Trans. R. C. McCleary. tern University Press. Morris, I. (1962). The nobility of failure. New York: Holt, Morson, G. S. and Emerson, C. (1989). Introduction. IL: Emerson (Eds.), Rethinking Bakhtin. Evanston,


IL: Northwes?

Rinehart andWinston. In G. S. Morson and C. Northwestern University

Murray, A. (1991). Review of Jean-Claude Schmitt, La raison des gestes dans VOccident m?di?val. TLS. 26 April. Nakamura, H. (1964). Ways of thinking of Eastern peoples. Ed. P. P. Wiener. Honolulu: East-West Center Press. F. (1967). The birth of tragedy. Trans. W. Kaufman. New York: Nietzsche, Random House. O'Connor, N. (1988). The personal is political: Discursive practice of the face-to face. In R. Bernasconi and D. Wood (Eds.), The provocation of Levinas. New York: Routledge. Poirier, R. (1971). The performing self. New York: Oxford University Press.

This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:23:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Pratt, M. L. (1977). Toward a speech act theory of literary discourse. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. IL: Ricoeur, P. (1974). The conflict of interpretations. Ed. D. Ihde. Evanston, Northwestern University Press. Roland, A. (1988). In search of self in India and Japan. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. and the mirror of nature. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Rorty, R. (1979). Philosophy University Press. Royce, J. (1908). The philosophy of loyalty. New York: Macmillan. Said, E. W. (1978). Orientalism. New York: Pantheon. Schechner, R. (1988). Performance theory. Rev. ed. New York: Routledge. Schmitt, J.-C. (1989). The ethics of gesture. In Fragments of a history of human body, Part 2. Trans. I. Patterson and ed. M. Feher with R. Naddaff and N. Tazi. New York: Urzone. IN: Indiana University Scott, C. E. (1990). The question of ethics. Bloomington,

and human finitude. New York: Fordham Smith, P. C. (1991). Hermeneutics University Press. Snyder, G. (1990). The practice of the wild. San Francisco: North Point Press. truth. New York: W. W. truth and historical Spence, D. P. (1982). Narrative

Suzuki, D. T. (1959). Zen and Japanese culture. New York: Pantheon. Tai, T. (1954). The six scripts or the principles of Chinese writing. Trans. L. D. Hopkins. Cambridge, UK: University Press. Taylor, M. C. (1987). Altarity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Tchang, T.-m. (1937). L'?criture chinoise et le geste humain. Paris: Geuthner. of Tu, W.-M. (1989). Centrality and commonality. Albany, NY: State University
New York Press.

120. Tu, W.-M. (1991). Cultural China: The periphery as the center. Daedalus Val?ry, P. (1956). Dialogues. Trans. W. M. Stewart. New York: Pantheon. as koine. Theory, Culture and Society: G. Vattimo, (1988). Hermeneutics
Postmodernism 5.

Vico, G. (1984). The new science. Trans. T. G. Bergin NY: Cornell University Press. E. (1990). Saints and postmodernism. Wyschogrod, Press. Chicago

and M. H. Fisch. Chicago:

Ithaca, of


This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:23:57 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions