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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Front. Philos. China    2018, Vol. 13 Issue (2) : 207-216     https://doi.org/10.3868/s030-007-018-0016-4
Orginal Article |
Principlism, Pragmatism, or Reconstructionist Confucianism? —Some Comments on Ni Peimin’s English Translation of the Analects
FAN Ruiping()
Department of Public Policy, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
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Abstract

This essay provides a few critical points of view on Ni Peimin’s recent English translation of the Analects. It shows that his translations of ren into “human-heartedness” and of li into “ritual propriety” may indicate a willingness to recast these Confucian concepts in the modern ideology of western subjectivism or individualism, whereas Confucianism is not in the direction of such ideologies. Moreover, while Ni seems to offer a “no-rule” view of Confucian virtue ethics, he cannot deny the existence of moral rules and principles in the Confucian system. It is insufficient for him to emphasize the importance of Confucian “instructions” or “methods” as he does without explicating their relations to Confucian rules. Additionally, Ni’s gongfu Confucianism provides a necessary and healthy step back from the contemporary principlism that has been dominant and popular in contemporary politics, ethics, and applied ethics, but Ni goes too far in denying the importance of the moral rules and principles that are implicit or explicit in the Confucian ritual practices and upheld in Confucius’s Analects.

Keywords ren      li      moral rules      Confucian rituals      Confucian principles     
Issue Date: 28 June 2018
 Cite this article:   
FAN Ruiping. Principlism, Pragmatism, or Reconstructionist Confucianism? —Some Comments on Ni Peimin’s English Translation of the Analects [J]. Front. Philos. China, 2018, 13(2): 207-216.
 URL:  
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fpc/EN/10.3868/s030-007-018-0016-4
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fpc/EN/Y2018/V13/I2/207
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