Abstract

Attributing a notion of “free will” to Confucian philosophy has serious limitations; it will be more fruitful to draw on contemporary feminist theories of freedom and autonomy, particularly the notion of autonomy competency, in explicating Confucian freedom. Here, the Confucian notion of freedom in terms of choosing (ze 擇) is articulated, and a Confucian conception of freedom as choosing the good (ze shan 擇善) is advanced. Under such a conception, freedom is competence-based, and its realization is liberating and fulfilling. The political implications of Confucian freedom are elaborated and it is argued that while Confucianism leaves plenty of room for civil liberties, a key consideration of the boundaries of individual liberty is the good of humanity.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1898
Print ISSN
0031-8221
Pages
pp. 902-919
Launched on MUSE
2014-11-05
Open Access
No
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