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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Front. Philos. China    2015, Vol. 10 Issue (4) : 579-600     https://doi.org/10.3868/s030-004-015-0047-0
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The Priority of “Liberty” or “Ping An ”: Two Different Cultural Value Priorities and Their Impacts
XU Keqian()
School of Chinese Literature and Culture, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210097, China
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Abstract

“Liberty” is a core, prior value of modern Western culture, and particularly of Anglo-American political and economic discourse. For more than a century, the US and other Western countries have been doing their utmost to promote the value of liberty around the world. However, different nations and cultures have different value priorities. Considering “liberty” as the essential, unassailable prior value is an Anglo-American cultural particularity without universal applicability. In China, “liberty” as a high value is a new idea imported from the West at the beginning of the modern era which never enjoyed a very important position in ancient China. Generally speaking, in Chinese culture, the value of “ping an,” with its connotations of peace, safety, equality, health, harmony, and tranquility, is obviously a prior value. Different value priorities have different impacts on culture. This paper tries to compare the American value priority of “liberty” with the Chinese value priority of “ping an,” while discussing their different historical backgrounds and cultural impacts. It argues that values and value priorities are neither absolute nor universal, but that they are rather historical, situational, and dynamic. Value priority in a society should be based on that society’s particular social reality and on the stage of development and the life requirements of its people, rather than on an outside imperative. In the era of globalization, different and even sometimes contradictory human values may actually mutually complement and counterbalance one another.

Keywords value priority      liberty      freedom      liberalism      ping an     
Issue Date: 26 January 2016
 Cite this article:   
XU Keqian. The Priority of “Liberty” or “Ping An ”: Two Different Cultural Value Priorities and Their Impacts[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2015, 10(4): 579-600.
 URL:  
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fpc/EN/10.3868/s030-004-015-0047-0
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fpc/EN/Y2015/V10/I4/579
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