Palindrome Mordnilap's Reviews > The Trouble with Confucianism

The Trouble with Confucianism by William Theodore de Bary
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's review
Sep 17, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: philosophy-books

In this unassuming volume, de Bary attempts to outline what he believes to be a central contradiction inherent in Confucian philosophy. In essence, he argues that the very nature of Confucian ethics dictates that those who adhere to them are prohibited, by the nature of their beliefs, from actively carrying them out to their fullest extent. The argument is clear, concise and well grounded. It draws comparisons between Confucian scholars on the one hand and Old Testament prophets on the other. Far from undermining Confucianism as a philosophy, de Bary succeeds in explaining why such a positive system of ethics failed to truly take hold in the manner in which it was espoused by the likes of Confucius and Mencius. A fascinating piece of scholarship.

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