Abstract

This essay argues that if Confucian familism, which has been blamed as the single greatest obstacle to achieving a civil society, is creatively repossessed, the potential looks very promising for constructing a Confucian civil society that is qualitatively different from a liberal civil society predicated on moral individualism, and for underpinning its unique mode of civility ("sociability") and citizenship ("strangership"). This essay first shows that the intrinsic value of the Confucian family consists in "filial and fraternal responsibility" (xiaodi 孝悌), then contends that a Confucian self-cultivation (xiushen 修身) that involves a double transformation of individuality and relationality (due to the very nature of the Confucian self being a relational self) engenders a responsible moral agent that is at once filial and civil. It concludes by proposing "relational strangership" as the backbone of a Confucian civil society.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1898
Print ISSN
0031-8221
Pages
pp. 476-498
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-27
Open Access
No
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