Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Frontmatter

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. vii

read more

Preface

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-xii

Chinese culture is often characterized as a culture of obligation rather than individual freedom. This characterization is not just a stereotype; it is rooted in various nineteenth- and twentieth-century constructions of Chinese identity, as such an identity is compared to that of the “West.” 2 ...

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xiii-xiv

This project has assumed more than a dozen different guises, and working on it has undoubtedly taken its toll on many individuals besides myself. I am indebted to all the great mentors, guides, friends, and family members in my life who gave critical input and who helped support me emotionally, intellectually, and financially over the years. ...

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xv-xxx

The imperial beginnings of China tell a story not just of concrete changes in state structure, policy, and military power but also of important developments in ideology. Well before the First Emperor of the Qin proclaimed sovereignty over a unified empire in 221 BCE, the concept that all should be united under a single great cosmic authority ...

read more

CHAPTER ONE Individual Agency and Universal, Centralized Authority in Early Mohist Writings

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-28

In searching for the roots of individualism, we begin with an unlikely source: the writings of the early Mohists. Unlike the Confucian Analects—a rough contemporary of the early Mohist writings—which focuses deeply on the cultivation of individual moral autonomy, early Mohist writings underscore the importance of an individual’s conformism to Heaven’s will.1 ...

read more

CHAPTER TWO Centralizing Control: The Politics of Bodily Conformism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 29-53

Conformist ideologies were also popular in fourth-century BCE texts such as the Laozi, Guanzi, Zhuangzi, and even some Ru texts, uncovered from tomb excavations at Guodian, that were in circulation around the same time. In the following two chapters we examine a diversity of viewpoints on conformism that date roughly to this period, ...

read more

CHAPTER THREE Decentralizing Control and Naturalizing Cosmic Agency: Bodily Conformism and Individualism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 54-76

In the textual record we also find ideologies dating to the fourth century BCE that went beyond the sovereign to address bodily conformism at a more universal level. Zhuangzi in particular spoke of spiritual attainment in terms of the relatively decentralized power of the Dao that might obtain in each individual, and not merely in leaders of the state. ...

read more

CHAPTER FOUR Two Prongs of the Debate: Bodily Agencies vs. Claims for Institutional Controls

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 77-103

Starting from about the third century BCE, authors ubiquitously grounded their proposed programs for education, self-cultivation, and legal and political reform in arguments concerning the natural biological conditions of humankind. Hardly a thinker existed who did not have some opinion concerning the relationship between innate, universal human functions ...

read more

CHAPTER FIVE Servants of the Self and Empire: Institutionally Controlled Individualism at the Dawn of a New Era

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 104-120

Having distinguished between individualistic writings that more fully idealize one’s natural, internal sources of authority and writings that idealize institutional, external controls in society, we now proceed to examine writings from the third through second centuries BCE that at once idealize both types of control.1...

read more

CHAPTER SIX Conclusion

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 121-130

In an environment of increasing social mobility and political centralization, intellectuals from the fifth through the third centuries BCE put forth competing conceptions of human agency, each of which presented a different view of the sources of authority and power that underlie an individual agent’s actions. ...

read more

Postscript: A Note on Chinese Individualism, Human Rights, and the Asian Values Debate

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 131-135

Translating concepts from one cultural, historical context to the next is never an easy task. In using the term “individualism” in my analysis of intellectual developments related to the self, I show readers that certain early Chinese views can justifiably be compared with, or translated as, “individualism.” ...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 137-188

Works Cited

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 189-200

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 201-207