Preparation Seminar for UT-UH Summer Residential Institute for Comparative Philosophy (5)

2 August, 2012 RUI Xue, L1 Dialogical Practice between Eastern and Western Philosophy

We had a discussion about the third chapter of Professor Ames' new book "Confucian Role Ethics: A Vocabulary" on 7/22.

At the very beginning of this chapter, Professor Ames brings forward a question "Human beings" or "Human becoming" which focuses on the differences between Western philosophy and traditional Chinese philosophy, especially Confucianism.

Professor talks about the importance of "relationship" in figuring out one's identity and emphasizes the role that family plays in our life, from the aspect of Confucianism, covering various concepts like Ti, Li and Duan, etc.

Among the arguments, we shared our distinct ideas about friendship, family and the relationship between individual and society. The ideal friendship in traditional Chinese society is exactly like what Professor Ames has stated in his book, however, in Japanese society, there's no such routine and the concept of friend seems to be introduced from western culture. And whether a true friend is only a friend who can help to improve ourselves remains disputable by seen from different point of views. Moreover, we doubt that whether family is the most significant and basic item in the life or among all relationships. Family is absolutely the starting point of every other relationship, but even in ancient China, the relationship between Jun 君 and Chen 臣 is more seriously considered. We all know that Confucianism is sort of political, and Confucius always advocates that officials should be loyal and contributing to the state. Therefore why can't we say this relationship is ultimately important?

All in all, reading this chapter with totally varied knowledge backgrounds broadens the vision and maybe breaks the thinking stereotype more or less. And I assume it's also prepared us for the coming lectures given by Professor Ames.

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