5]3]12 Tu WeI-mIng address, The ConIucIan WorId - CC's 125th AnnIversary SymposIum

1]6 www2.coIoradocoIIege.edu]academIcs]annIversary]TranscrIpts]TuTXT.htm
The Confucian World
Colorado College's 125th Anniversary Symposium
Cultures in the 21st Century: Conflicts and Convergences
Delivered at Colorado College on February 5, 1999 at 11:00 AM
in a discussion forum with the same title.
by
Tu Wei-ming

My response to Sam Huntington`s coming clash of civilizations [concerns] the
desirability and necessity of a dialogue of civilizations. Hegel, Marx, and Max
Weber shared an ethos that, despite all its shortcomings, the modern West informed
by the Enlightenment mentality was the only arena where the true difference for the
rest of the world would be made. Confucian East Asia, Islamic Middle East, Hindu
India, or Buddhist Southeast Asia were on the receiving end of this process.
Eventually, modernization with homogenization or convergence will make cultural
diversity inoperative if not totally meaningless. It was inconceivable that
Confucianism, or, for that matter, any other non-Western spiritual tradition, could
exert a shaping influence on the modernizing process. The development from
tradition to modernity was irreversible and inevitable. In the global context, some of
the most brilliant minds in the modern West assumed this to be self evidently true,
but nowadays it has turned out to be only part of the big picture. In the rest of the
world, and arguably in Western Europe and North America, the anticipated clear
transition from tradition to modernity never occurred. As a norm, traditions continue
to make their presence in modernity, and indeed the modernizing process itself is
constantly shaped by a variety of cultural forms rooted in distinct traditions. The
eighteenth century recognition of the relevance of radical otherness to one`s own
self-understanding seems more applicable to the current situation in the global
community than the attention to any challenges to the modern Western mindset of
the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century.
For example, the outstanding Enlightenment thinkers, such as Voltaire, Rousseau,
and, of course, Diderot and the encyclopedists, took China as their major reference
society and Confucianism as their major reference culture. If the coming clash of
civilizations is likely, if not inevitable, then the need for civilizational dialogues and
for exploring a global ethic is more compelling. I think Sam Huntington basically
agrees with this position.
Among the enlightenment values advocated by the French Revolution, fraternity, the
functional equivalent of community, has received scant attention among modern
political theorists. The preoccupation, since Locke`s Treatise on Government, with
fixing the relationship between the individual and the state is not, of course, the full
5]3]12 Tu WeI-mIng address, The ConIucIan WorId - CC's 125th AnnIversary SymposIum
2]6 www2.coIoradocoIIege.edu]academIcs]annIversary]TranscrIpts]TuTXT.htm
picture of modern political thought in the West, but it is undeniable that
communities, notably the family, have not been sufficiently emphasized in the
mainstream of Western political discourse. If we can imagine the possibility of
something called East Asian modernity, especially the form of modernity under the
influence of Confucian traditions, it suggests the possibility of an alternative model.
Mind you, it is a highly idealized way of looking at it, but it helps us to make some
of the points that Roger Ames and Professor Li have made-to add some footnotes
to the ideas. In this form of the modern world, there are a number of assumptions;
again, it is highly idealized.
First, government leadership in a market economy is not only necessary but also
desirable. The doctrine that government is an unnecessary evil and the market, in
itself, can provide an invisible hand for ordering society is antithetical to modern
experience, East or West. A government that is responsive to public needs,
responsible for the welfare of the people, and accountable to society at large is
vitally important for the creation and maintenance of order. One assumption.
Second assumption. Although law is essential as the minimum requirement for social
stability, organic solidarity can only resort from the implementation of humane rights
of interaction, therefore the idea of civility. The civilized mode of conduct can never
be communicated simply through coercion. According to one account, we have in
the United States now maybe one half million or more prisoners in jail, more than
China as a whole with four times the population. Exemplary teaching, as a standard
of inspiration, invites voluntary participation. Law alone cannot generate a sense of
shame to guide civilized behavior. It is the ritual act that encourages people to live
up to their own aspirations.
The third assumption, family as the basic universal society, is the locus from which
the core values are transmitted. Of course, we can look at the family variously rather
than just the normal family-any kind of family, five different styles of family. The
didactic relationship within the family differentiated normally by age, gender,
authority, status, or even hierarchy provides a richly textured natural environment for
learning the proper way of being human. The principle of reciprocity as a two-way
traffic of human interaction defines all forms of human relatedness in the family: age
and gender, potentially two of the most serious gaps in the primordial environment
of the human habitat, are brought into a continuous flow of intimate sentiments of
human care; and, of course, the full recognition that family could also turn out to be
an extremely coercive and abusive unit of interaction.
Fourth. Civil society flourishes not because it is an economist`s arena above the
family and below the state. Its inner strength lies in its dynamic interplay between
family and state. The nature of the family as a microcosm of the state, and the idea of
the state as an enlargement of the family, indicate that family stability is vitally
important for the body politic, and a vitally important function of the state is to
ensure organic solidarity of the family. Civil society provides a variety of mediating
cultural institutions that allow a fruitful articulation between family and state. The
dynamic interplay between the private and public enables the civil society to offer
diverse and enriching resources for human fruition. I know how difficult this is to be
even entertained as an important agenda for discussion, but still it is a very important
5]3]12 Tu WeI-mIng address, The ConIucIan WorId - CC's 125th AnnIversary SymposIum
3]6 www2.coIoradocoIIege.edu]academIcs]annIversary]TranscrIpts]TuTXT.htm
area that we need to at least explore.
Fifth. Education ought to be the civil religion of society. The primary purpose of
education is character building. Intent on the cultivation of the full person, schools
should emphasize ethical as well as cognitive intelligence; schools should teach the
art of accumulating "social capital" through communication. In addition to the
acquisition of knowledge and skills, schooling must be congenial to the development
of cultural competence and appreciation of spiritual values. The cultural competence
is in terms of language, history, and even philosophical reflection.
Then, sixth. Since self-cultivation is the root for the regulation of family, governance
of state and peace under heaven-the quality of life of a particular society-depends
on the level of self-cultivation of its members. A society that encourages self-
cultivation as a necessary condition for human flourishing is a society that cherishes
value-centered political leadership, mutual exhortation as a communal way of self-
realization, the value of the family as a proper home for learning to be human,
civility as the normal pattern of human interaction, and education as character
building.
It is, of course, far-fetched to suggest that these societal ideas are fully realized or
actually realized in any of the existing East Asian societies. Actually, East Asian
societies often exhibit behaviors and attitudes just the opposite of the supposed
salient features of modernity defined in Confucian humanistic terms. Indeed, having
been humiliated by imperialism and colonialism for decades, the rise of East Asia,
on the surface at least, blatantly displays some of the most negative aspects of
modernism, either East or West, with a vengeance-exploitation, mercantilism,
commercialism, materialism, greed, egoism, and, of course, brutal competitiveness.
Nevertheless, as the first non-Western region to become modernized, the cultural
implications of the rise of East Asia are far reaching.
The modern West, as informed by the Enlightenment mentality, provided the initial
impetus for worldwide social transformation. The historical reasons that prompted
the modernizing process in Western Europe and North America are not necessarily
structural components or constitutive aspects of modernity, especially imagined
modernity. Enlightenment values, such as liberty, rights consciousness, due process
of law, instrumental rationality, privacy, and individualism, are all universalizable
modern values. But the Confucian example suggests some humanistic values, such
as sympathy, distributive justice, duty consciousness, ritual, public spiritedness, and
group orientation, are also universalizable modern values. Just as the former ought to
be incorporated into East Asian modernity, this is how we define East Asian
modernity. China has to struggle to be more hospitable to human rights-has to
struggle to be more hospitable to liberties, equalities, or these great ideas. But the
latter, distributive justice, sympathy, duty consciousness, ritual, public spiritedness,
may also turn out to be a critical and timely reference for the American way of life or
for the Western way of life.
An urgent task for the community of like-minded persons, deeply concerned about
ecological issues and the disintegration of communities at all levels, is to ensure that
we actively participate in a spiritual venture to rethink the Enlightenment heritage. In
5]3]12 Tu WeI-mIng address, The ConIucIan WorId - CC's 125th AnnIversary SymposIum
4]6 www2.coIoradocoIIege.edu]academIcs]annIversary]TranscrIpts]TuTXT.htm
other words, this is not simply the problem of Western philosophers; this is the
problem of anyone who is concerned about our global situation. The paradox is that
we cannot afford to uncritically accept its inner logic in light of the unintended
negative consequences it has engendered for the community as a whole, nor can we
reject its relevance with all of the fruitful ambiguities it entails for our intellectual
self-definition, present or even future. There`s no easy way out. We do not have an
either/or choice.
The possibility of a radically different ethic or a new value system separate from and
independent of the Enlightenment mentality is neither realistic nor even authentic. It
may even appear to be either cynical or hypocritical. We need to explore the spiritual
resources that may help us to broaden the scope of the enlightenment project, deepen
its moral sensitivity, and, if necessary, creatively transform its genetic constraints or
historical constraints in order to fully realize its potential as a world view for the
human community as a whole. And, of course, the key to the success of this spiritual
joint venture is to recognize the conspicuous absence of the idea of community, let
alone the global community, in the Enlightenment project. Of course, the idea of
fraternity, as many of you know, the fundamental equivalent of community in the
three cardinal virtues of the French Revolution, has received scant attention in
modern Western economic, political, and social thought. This is a major task for
most of us.
Industrial East Asia, under the influence of Confucian culture, seems to have
developed a different kind of modern civilization, less adversarial, less
individualistic, and less self-interested. So you see there the coexistence of market
economy and government leadership, democratic parity with meritocracy and
individual initiatives with group orientation. All this has made the region-
economically, politically-the most dynamic, both in the negative and in the positive
sense, since the Second World War, including the current situation of the financial
crisis. The significance of the contribution of Confucian ethics to the rise of
industrial East Asia, for the possible emergence of Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic
forms of modernity, is profound. In other words, we`re not talking about shifting
from the Western model to the East Asian model; we`re talking about shifting from a
singular model to a pluralistic model, and the pluralistic model could share some
basic value orientations. The Westernization of Confucian Asia, including Japan, the
two Koreas, mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and Vietnam, may
have forever altered its spiritual landscape. But its indigenous resources, including
Mahatma Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism, Shamanism, and other folk traditions, have
the resiliency to resurface and make their presence known in the new syntheses. The
caveat, of course, is that, having been humiliated and frustrated by the imperialist
and colonial domination of the modern West for more than a century, the rise of
industrial East Asia symbolizes the instrumental rationality of the Enlightenment
heritage with a vengeance. The mentality of Japan-and for many dragons-is
precisely, as I characterized earlier, characterized by mercantilism, commercialism,
and fierce international competitiveness. The Peoples` Republic of China, the
motherland of the cynical world, has blatantly opted for the same strategy of
development and has, thus, exhibited the same mentality since the reform was set in
motion in 1979. Surely, the possibility of their developing a more humane and
5]3]12 Tu WeI-mIng address, The ConIucIan WorId - CC's 125th AnnIversary SymposIum
5]6 www2.coIoradocoIIege.edu]academIcs]annIversary]TranscrIpts]TuTXT.htm
sustainable community should not be exaggerated. Nor should we simply undermine
the broad implications of the re-emergence of a major civilization in terms of its own
understanding, in terms of its own direction.
We are beginning to develop a kind of spiritual resource from the core of the
Enlightenment project itself. Our disciplined reflection, a communal act rather than
simply an isolated struggle, is a first step to the possibility of what may be called a
kind of creative zone, envisioned by religious leaders, ethical teachers, public
philosophers. Simply, I want to note that the feminist critique of tradition, the
environmental concern, the discourse on communitarian ethics, and the persuasion
of religious pluralism are obvious examples of this corporeal critical self-awareness.
The need to go beyond the Enlightenment mentality without either deconstructing or
abandoning its commitment to rationality, liberty, equality, human rights, and
distributive justice, requires a thorough re-examination of modernity as the signifier
and modernization as a process.
Underlying this re-examination is the intriguing issue of traditions in modernity. The
dichotomist thinking of tradition and modernity as two incompatible forms of life
will have to be replaced by a much more nuanced investigation of the continuous
interplay between modernization as the perceived outcome of rationalization. This is
Max Weber`s term, defined in Weberian terms-tradition as habits of the heart, as de
Tocqueville understood it. In this particular interplay, a new form of cultural self-
understanding will emerge. The traditions in modernity are not merely historical
sedimentation, passively deposited in modern consciousness. Nor are they, in
functional terms, simply inhibiting factors to be undermined by the unilineal
trajectory of development. On the contrary, they are both constraining and enabling
forces capable of shaping the particular contour of modernity in any given society. It
is, therefore, conceptually naive and methodologically fallacious to relegate
traditions to the residual category in our discussion of the modernizing process.
Indeed, an investigation of traditions in modernity is essential for our appreciation of
modernization as a highly differentiated cultural phenomenon rather than a kind of
homogeneous integral process of Westernization or, more recently, modernization.
The final point. The Islamic-Confucian dialogue initiated in Malaysia in 1995
provided Confucians with a rare opportunity to explore the feasibility of a Confucian
ecumenicalism in encountering other civilizations. Since Confucianism is not strictly
a religion, we often come across spiritual self-definitions and scholarly designations
as Confucian Christians, Confucian Buddhists, and even Confucian Muslims. What
kind of role can Confucians play in the dialogue of civilizations? Can Confucians
facilitate inter-religious dialogues as the sympathetic third party? The Confucian life
orientation has been grossly misconceived as adjustment to the world, yet the crisis
of the world demands that we do not escape from it. The Confucian ethic of
responsibility, embedded in the specific circumstances of East Asia, must be
extended to the global community. Only then can it become an active partner of the
Enlightenment mentality. It is in this sense that the Confucian resources are
particularly relevant to the idea of the public intellectual in the modern world. A
public intellectual is someone who is politically concerned, socially engaged, and
culturally informed and sensitive-who is interested in this broader issue not as an
isolated professionalist or an isolated culturalist, but as an isolated human being
5]3]12 Tu WeI-mIng address, The ConIucIan WorId - CC's 125th AnnIversary SymposIum
6]6 www2.coIoradocoIIege.edu]academIcs]annIversary]TranscrIpts]TuTXT.htm
concerned with the fate of the earth.

© 1999 by Tu Wei-ming
Return to Transcripts Page

to add some footnotes to the ideas. Of course. and. Civil society flourishes not because it is an economist's arena above the family and below the state. and a vitally important function of the state is to ensure organic solidarity of the family. authority. we can look at the family variously rather than just the normal family . The principle of reciprocity as a two-way traffic of human interaction defines all forms of human relatedness in the family: age and gender. The third assumption. status. According to one account. The dynamic interplay between the private and public enables the civil society to offer diverse and enriching resources for human fruition. indicate that family stability is vitally important for the body politic.5/3/12 Tu Wei-ming address. or even hierarchy provides a richly textured natural environment for learning the proper way of being human. of course. again. government leadership in a market economy is not only necessary but also desirable. the full recognition that family could also tum out to be an extremely coercive and abusive unit of interaction. it suggests the possibility of an alternative model. Fourth. A government that is responsive to public needs. Law alone cannot generate a sense of shame to guide civilized behavior. Exemplary teaching. East or West. but it is undeniable that communities. have not been sufficiently emphasized in the mainstream of Western political discourse. it is a highly idealized way of looking at it. but still it is a very important www2. especially the form of modernity under the influence of Confucian traditions. gender. It is the ritual act that encourages people to live up to their own aspirations. The doctrine that government is an unnecessary evil and the market. it is highly idealized. and accountable to society at large is vitally important for the creation and maintenance of order. In this form of the modem world. The nature of the family as a microcosm of the state. notably the family.any kind of family. more than China as a whole with four times the population. invites voluntary participation. organic solidarity can only resort from the implementation of humane rights of interaction. Its inner strength lies in its dynamic interplay between family and state.CC's 125th Anniversary Symposium picture of modem political thought in the West. The didactic relationship within the family differentiated normally by age. and the idea of the state as an enlargement of the family. in itself. there are a number of assumptions. Mind you. Second assumption. First. family as the basic universal society. I know how difficult this is to be even entertained as an important agenda for discussion.edu/academics/annive rsary /Transcri pts /TuTXT. If we can imagine the possibility of something called East Asian modernity. is the locus from which the core values are transmitted.coloradocollege. potentially two of the most serious gaps in the primordial environment of the human habitat. responsible for the welfare of the people. are brought into a continuous flow of intimate sentiments of human care. we have in the United States now maybe one half million or more prisoners in jail. can provide an invisible hand for ordering society is antithetical to modem experience. Although law is essential as the minimum requirement for social stability. as a standard of inspiration. htm 2/6 . Civil society provides a variety of mediating cultural institutions that allow a fruitful articulation between family and state. The civilized mode of conduct can never be communicated simply through coercion. but it helps us to make some of the points that Roger Ames and Professor Li have made. therefore the idea of civility. The Confucian World . One assumption. five different styles of family.

mercantilism. privacy.edu/academics/annive rsary /Transcri pts /TuTXT. rights consciousness. and group orientation. may also tum out to be a critical and timely reference for the American way of life or for the Western way of life. sixth. equalities. and individualism. brutal competitiveness. The historical reasons that prompted the modernizing process in Western Europe and North America are not necessarily structural components or constitutive aspects of modernity. But the Confucian example suggests some humanistic values. commercialism. and education as character building. schooling must be congenial to the development of cultural competence and appreciation of spiritual values. Fifth. instrumental rationality.5/3/12 Tu Wei-ming address. and. Just as the former ought to be incorporated into East Asian modernity. are also universalizable modem values. It is. An urgent task for the community of like-minded persons. sympathy. is to ensure that we actively participate in a spiritual venture to rethink the Enlightenment heritage. especially imagined modernity. distributive justice. the value of the family as a proper home for learning to be human. schools should emphasize ethical as well as cognitive intelligence. of course. In addition to the acquisition of knowledge and skills. the cultural implications of the rise of East Asia are far reaching. such as liberty. blatantly displays some of the most negative aspects of modernism. Actually. with a vengeance-exploitation. Enlightenment values.coloradocollege. or these great ideas. ritual. ritual. Education ought to be the civil religion of society. duty consciousness. the rise of East Asia. either East or West. as the first non-Western region to become modernized. are all universalizable modem values. having been humiliated by imperialism and colonialism for decades. due process of law. The Confucian World . governance of state and peace under heaven . and even philosophical reflection. materialism. public spiritedness. China has to struggle to be more hospitable to human rights-has to struggle to be more hospitable to liberties. civility as the normal pattern of human interaction. A society that encourages selfcultivation as a necessary condition for human flourishing is a society that cherishes value-centered political leadership. history. mutual exhortation as a communal way of selfrealization. In www2. distributive justice. far-fetched to suggest that these societal ideas are fully realized or actually realized in any of the existing East Asian societies. schools should teach the art of accumulating "social capital" through communication.depends on the level of self-cultivation of its members. duty consciousness.the quality of life of a particular society . The modem West. greed. East Asian societies often exhibit behaviors and attitudes just the opposite of the supposed salient features of modernity defined in Confucian humanistic terms. htm 3/6 .CC's 125th Anniversary Symposium area that we need to at least explore. The cultural competence is in terms of language. provided the initial impetus for worldwide social transformation. But the latter. Then. on the surface at least. Intent on the cultivation of the full person. such as sympathy. Nevertheless. Indeed. The primary purpose of education is character building. of course. this is how we define East Asian modernity. deeply concerned about ecological issues and the disintegration of communities at all levels. egoism. as informed by the Enlightenment mentality. public spiritedness. Since self-cultivation is the root for the regulation of family.

we're talking about shifting from a singular model to a pluralistic model. as I characterized earlier. if necessary. and Vietnam. Taiwan.the most dynamic. And. creatively transform its genetic constraints or historical constraints in order to fully realize its potential as a world view for the human community as a whole. The Peoples' Republic of China. in the Enlightenment project. The possibility of a radically different ethic or a new value system separate from and independent of the Enlightenment mentality is neither realistic nor even authentic. We need to explore the spiritual resources that may help us to broaden the scope of the enlightenment project. Singapore. democratic parity with meritocracy and individual initiatives with group orientation. The Westernization of Confucian Asia. and less self-interested. both in the negative and in the positive sense. Industrial East Asia. But its indigenous resources. and social thought. as many of you know. present or even future. and fierce international competitiveness. less adversarial.edu/academics/annive rsary /Transcri pts /TuTXT. including the current situation of the financial crisis.coloradocollege. for the possible emergence of Hindu. exhibited the same mentality since the reform was set in motion in 1979. thus. politically . the motherland of the cynical world. having been humiliated and frustrated by the imperialist and colonial domination of the modem West for more than a century. seems to have developed a different kind of modem civilization. since the Second World War. this is the problem of anyone who is concerned about our global situation. is profound. may have forever altered its spiritual landscape. the possibility of their developing a more humane and www2. let alone the global community. The mentality of Japan-and for many dragons-is precisely.5/3/12 Tu Wei-ming address. the key to the success of this spiritual joint venture is to recognize the conspicuous absence of the idea of community. deepen its moral sensitivity. has blatantly opted for the same strategy of development and has. including Japan. the fundamental equivalent of community in the three cardinal virtues of the French Revolution. and the pluralistic model could share some basic value orientations. The caveat. has received scant attention in modem Western economic. and other folk traditions. characterized by mercantilism. political. The significance of the contribution of Confucian ethics to the rise of industrial East Asia. the rise of industrial East Asia symbolizes the instrumental rationality of the Enlightenment heritage with a vengeance. we're not talking about shifting from the Western model to the East Asian model. It may even appear to be either cynical or hypocritical. this is not simply the problem of Western philosophers. the two Koreas. In other words. nor can we reject its relevance with all of the fruitful ambiguities it entails for our intellectual self-definition. commercialism. including Mahatma Buddhism. mainland China. Shintoism. Surely. under the influence of Confucian culture. have the resiliency to resurface and make their presence known in the new syntheses. So you see there the coexistence of market economy and government leadership. Buddhist and Islamic forms of modernity. Hong Kong. Shamanism. less individualistic. the idea of fraternity. of course. All this has made the regioneconomically. Taoism. of course. Of course. is that. The Confucian World . This is a major task for most of us.CC's 125th Anniversary Symposium other words. htm 4/6 . There's no easy way out. and. We do not have an either/or choice. The paradox is that we cannot afford to uncritically accept its inner logic in light of the unintended negative consequences it has engendered for the community as a whole.

The final point. a new form of cultural selfunderstanding will emerge. defined in Weberian terms-tradition as habits of the heart. The Islamic-Confucian dialogue initiated in Malaysia in 1995 provided Confucians with a rare opportunity to explore the feasibility of a Confucian ecumenicalism in encountering other civilizations. is a first step to the possibility of what may be called a kind of creative zone.edu/academics/annive rsary /Transcri pts /TuTXT. yet the crisis of the world demands that we do not escape from it. What kind of role can Confucians play in the dialogue of civilizations? Can Confucians facilitate inter-religious dialogues as the sympathetic third party? The Confucian life orientation has been grossly misconceived as adjustment to the world. the discourse on communitarian ethics. and even Confucian Muslims. Our disciplined reflection. It is in this sense that the Confucian resources are particularly relevant to the idea of the public intellectual in the modem world. Simply. human rights. embedded in the specific circumstances of East Asia. The dichotomist thinking of tradition and modernity as two incompatible forms of life will have to be replaced by a much more nuanced investigation of the continuous interplay between modernization as the perceived outcome of rationalization. We are beginning to develop a kind of spiritual resource from the core of the Enlightenment project itself.coloradocollege. equality. in terms of its own direction. as de Tocqueville understood it. the environmental concern. htm 5/6 .who is interested in this broader issue not as an isolated professionalist or an isolated culturalist. requires a thorough re-examination of modernity as the signifier and modernization as a process. The Confucian World . an investigation of traditions in modernity is essential for our appreciation of modernization as a highly differentiated cultural phenomenon rather than a kind of homogeneous integral process of Westernization or. Only then can it become an active partner of the Enlightenment mentality. passively deposited in modem consciousness. The need to go beyond the Enlightenment mentality without either deconstructing or abandoning its commitment to rationality. Since Confucianism is not strictly a religion. a communal act rather than simply an isolated struggle. modernization. It is.CC's 125th Anniversary Symposium sustainable community should not be exaggerated. envisioned by religious leaders. and the persuasion of religious pluralism are obvious examples of this corporeal critical self-awareness. Nor should we simply undermine the broad implications of the re-emergence of a major civilization in terms of its own understanding. This is Max Weber's term. public philosophers. liberty. Nor are they. The traditions in modernity are not merely historical sedimentation. In this particular interplay. A public intellectual is someone who is politically concerned. they are both constraining and enabling forces capable of shaping the particular contour of modernity in any given society. On the contrary. in functional terms. more recently. must be extended to the global community. ethical teachers. socially engaged. conceptually naive and methodologically fallacious to relegate traditions to the residual category in our discussion of the modernizing process. The Confucian ethic of responsibility. Underlying this re-examination is the intriguing issue of traditions in modernity. therefore. Confucian Buddhists.5/3/12 Tu Wei-ming address. we often come across spiritual self-definitions and scholarly designations as Confucian Christians. Indeed. and culturally informed and sensitive. and distributive justice. simply inhibiting factors to be undermined by the unilineal trajectory of development. I want to note that the feminist critique of tradition. but as an isolated human being www2.

htm 6/6 .edu/academics/annive rsary /Transcri pts /TuTXT. © 1999 by Tu Wei-ming Return to Transcripts Page www2.CC's 125th Anniversary Symposium concerned with the fate of the earth.5/3/12 Tu Wei-ming address.coloradocollege. The Confucian World .

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