Toward a Harmonic Relationship between Humans and Nature

A Humanist Reinterpretation of Early Confucian Philosophy

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2023.11.3.129-147

Keywords:

Cosmos, harmony, Confucius, Dao, Tian, Tianxia

Abstract

We are living in an era in which the world is being turned into an object to be exploited and nature into a storehouse. From environmental pollution and deforestation to toxic waste and the depletion of resources, the Earth is in trouble and we need to act. To address this environmental crisis, I propose to recover early Confucian philosophy because it can be used to develop a more desirable way of interacting with the environment. Confucian philosophy conceives a kind of humanism that promotes a harmonious relationship between people and nature. Thus, this article attempts to describe a distinctive attitude towards nature and the role of humans that we can find in early Confucianism as a way of rethinking our current ecological concerns.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Ames, Roger T. 2020. “Yu Jiyuan 余紀元 and Retrofitting ‘Metaphysics’ for Confucian Philosophy: Human ‘Beings’ or Human ‘Becomings’?” Asian Studies 8: 169–81. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2020.8.1.169-181

Ames, Roger T. 2021. Human Becomings. Theorizing Persons for Confucian Role Ethics. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Bahn, Archie J. 1969. The Heart of Confucius. Interpretations of Genuine Living and Great Wisdom. New York, Tokyo: A Weathermark Edition.

Confucius. 1998. The Analects of Confucius: A Philosophical Translation. Toronto: Ballantine Books.

Cheng, Chung-ying. 1998. “The Trinity of Cosmology, Ecology, and Ethics in the Confucian Personhood.” In Confucianism and Ecology. The Interrelation of Heaven, Earth, and Humans, edited by Mary Evelyn Tucker, and John Berthrong, 211‒36. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Christensen, Jan Erik. 2014. “Building an Environmental Ethics from the Confucian Concepts of Zhengming and Datong.” Asian Philosophy: An International Journal of the Philosophical Traditions of the East 24 (3): 279‒93. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09552367.2014.960297

Düring, Dascha. 2021. “Harmony as Hermeneutic Openness.” In Harmony in Chinese Thought, edited by Chenyang Li, Sai Hang Kwok, and Dascha Düring, 141‒60. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group.

Fang, Thomé H. 1931. Chinese Philosophy. Its Spirit and Its Development. Taipei: Linking Publishing Co.

Fung, Youlan. 1991a. “A Comparative Study of Life Ideals [1922].” In Selected Philosophical Writings of Fung Yu-Lan. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press.

———. 1991b. “A Short History of Chinese Philosophy [1948].” In Selected Philosophical Writings of Fung Yu-Lan. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press.

Granet, Marcel. 1968. La pensée chinoise. Paris: Editions Albin Michel.

Hahn, Lewis E. 1998. Enhancing Cultural Interflow Between East and West: Collected Essays in Comparative Philosophy and Culture. Anhui: Thomé H. Fang Institute.

Hall, David A., and Roger T. Ames. 1987. Thinking through Confucius. Albany: State University of New York Press.

———. 1998. Thinking from the Han. Self, Truth and Transcendence in Chinese and Western Culture. Albany: State University of New York Press.

———. 2000. Focusing the Familiar: A Translation and Philosophical Interpretation of the Zhongyong. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Henderson, John B. 2010. “Cosmology and Concepts of Nature in Traditional China.” In Concepts of Nature: A Chinese-European Cross-Cultural Perspective, edited by Hans Ulrich Vogel, and Günter Dux, 181‒97. Leiden: Brill. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/ej.9789004185265.i-566.55

Ivanhoe, Philip J. 1998. “Early Confucianism and Enviromental Ethics.” In Confucianism and Ecology. The Interrelation of Heaven, Earth, and Humans, edited by Mary Evelyn Tucker, and John Berthrong, 59‒76. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

———. 2007. “Heaven as a Source for Ethical Warrant in Early Confucianism.” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 6 (3): 211‒20. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11712-007-9013-1

Li, Chenyang. 1999. The Tao. Encounters the West. Albany: State University of New York, Press.

———. 2006. “The Confucian Ideal of Harmony.” Philosophy East & West 56 (4): 583‒603. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/pew.2006.0055

———. 2014. The Confucian Philosophy of Harmony. New York: Routledge.

———. 2021. “Active Harmony, Passive Harmony, Freedom, and Domination.” In Harmony in Chinese Thought, edited by Chenyang Li, Sai Hang Kwok, and Dascha Düring, 41‒55. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group.

Li, Zehou. 1999a. “Subjectivity and ‘Subjectality’: A Response.” Philosophy East and West 49 (2): 174–83. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1400201

———. 1999b. “Human Nature and Human Future: A Combination of Marx and Confucius.” In Chinese Thought in a Global Context. A Dialogue Between Chinese and Western Philosophical Approaches, edited by Karl-Heinz Pohl, 129‒44. Leiden: Brill. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004501676_010

———. 2020. The Chinese Aesthetic Tradition. Honolulu: Hawaii University Press.

Mencius. 2009. Mencius. New York: Columbia University Press.

Mote, Frederick W. 1971. Intellectual Foundations of China. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Needham, Joseph. 1956. Science and Civilisation in China, vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ni, Peimin. 2021. “Life as Aesthetic Creativity and Appreciation.” In Human Beings or Human Becomings? A Conversation with Confucianism on the Concept of Person, edited by Peter D. Hershock, and Roger T. Ames, 169‒86. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Nylan, Michael. 2019. “Humans as Animals and Things in Pre-Buddhist China.” Religions 10: 1‒22. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10060360

Rošker, Jana S. 2021. Interpreting Chinese Philosophy. A New Methodology. London: Bloomsbury Academic. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5040/9781350199897

———. 2023. “Models of Humanism in Ancient China: An Explanation Centered on Early Confucian Ethics.” Religions 14: 83. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14010083

Tu, Weiming. 1985. Confucian Thought: Selfhood as Creative Transformation. Albany: State University of New York Press.

———. 1989. “The Continuity of Being: Chinese Visions of Nature.” In Nature in Asian Traditions of Thought: Essays in Environmental Philosophy, edited by J. Baird Callicott, and Roger T. Ames, 35‒50. Albany: State University of New York Press.

———. 1998. “Beyond the Enlightenment Mentality.” In Confucianism and Ecology. The Interrelation of Heaven, Earth, and Humans, edited by Mary Evelyn Tucker, and John Berthrong, 3‒21. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Tucker, Mary Evelyn. 2001. “Deep Ecology and World Religions.” In New Essays on Sacred Ground, edited by David Landis Barnhill, and Roger S. Gottlieb, 127‒52. Albany: State University of New York Press.

———. 2020. “Confucian Cosmology and Ecological Ethics. Qi, Li, and the Role of the Human.” In Living Earth Community. Multiple Ways of Being and Knowing, edited by Sam Mickey, Mary Evelyn Tucker, and John Grim, 109‒19. Cambridge: Open Book Publishers. DOI: https://doi.org/10.11647/obp.0186.09

United Nations (UN). 2020. World Social Report 2020. Inequality in a Rapidly Changing World. United Nations Publications. https://www.un.org/development/desa/dspd/world-social-report/2020-2.html.

United Nations Department in China (UNDC). 2021. “Why Humanity Must Save Nature to Save Itself.” UNDC, October 11, 2021. https://www.undp.org/china/blog/why-humanity-must-save-nature-save-itself.

Walker, Corey D. B. 2021. “Humanism and the Moder Age.” In The Oxford Handbook of Humanism, edited by Anthony. B. Pinn, 206‒21. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190921538.013.17

Wong, Pak-Hang. 2012. “Dao, Harmony and Personhood: Towards a Confucian Ethics of Technology.” Philosophy & Technology 25: 67‒86. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13347-011-0021-z

Yi Jing [Book of Changes]. s.d. Chinese Text Project. Translated by James Legge. https://ctext.org/book-of-changes/yi-jing.

Zhao, Tingyang. 2021. All Under Heaven. The Tianxia System for a Possible World Order. Oakland: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv1n9dkth

Downloads

Published

7. 09. 2023

How to Cite

Luque-Moya, Gloria. 2023. “Toward a Harmonic Relationship Between Humans and Nature: A Humanist Reinterpretation of Early Confucian Philosophy”. Asian Studies 11 (3): 129-47. https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2023.11.3.129-147.

Similar Articles

1-10 of 49

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.