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An Existential Reading of the Confucian Analects By Andrew Zhonghu Yan ...

Chapter 1:  The Rationale for Reading the Analects Existentially
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An Existential Reading of the Confucian Analects

Chapter 1

The Rationale for Reading
the Analects Existentially

Recent decades have witnessed a resurgent interest in Confucius’s thought both in China and the West. Apparently, the explicit causes for this resurgence differ across cultures and social contexts. In China the moral vacuum left by the great social and cultural transition is quickly being filled by the teachings of religions and cults of varied sorts. It is natural for intellectuals, sometimes dubbed the “conscience of society,” to step in and reclaim the resources of the cultural tradition in order to meet the needs of the times. In the West, especially in the United States and Canada, cultural diversity poses a great challenge to traditional Western views about humankind and society, especially with respect to living with one’s neighbors.1 Cultural resources from Confucius’s tradition are certainly too great to neglect. Thus the implicit motivation for this rejuvenated interest in Confucianism in China and the West is, I believe, existential.