Elitism in Modern Confucian Philosophy: Panel at European Chinese Studies Conference
Yim Fong Chan, Philippe Major and Milan Matthiesen have participated at the 24th biennial conference of the European Association for Chinese Studies (EACS) with a joint panel. The three members of the project "The Exterior of Philosophy" presented works investigating whether the elitism found in historical Confucian works is also central to modern Confucian philosophy. The conference took place on August 24 to 27 in Olomouc, Czech Republic.
The panel was titled "Elitism in Modern Confucian Philosophy: Sociohistorical Perspectives". Adopting sociohistorical approaches, it analyzed what modern Confucians say about the elite and the non-elite, as well as how elitist perspectives are performed (or not) in their writings. The results show that elitism is not equally shared by all modern Confucians. While some draw resources from democratic principles to challenge the idea that Confucianism is inherently elitist, in others elitism takes the form of self-portrayals that reshape the modern Confucians into the heirs of the former scholar-officials (shi 士). In other cases, elitism finds expression in the form of distinctions between the philosophers as a cultural elite and the “common people” or between sages having access to transhistorical truths and commoners defined by their socio-historical setting. The panel was chaired by Philippe Major.
Philippe Major: "The Two Truths of Social Distinctions: 'Ordinary People' in Xiong Shili’s New Treatise on the Uniqueness of Consciousness"
Yim Fong Chan: "Attempting to Realize the Confucian Ideal: Liang Shuming’s Scholar-Official Mentality and Confucian Elitism"
Milan Matthiesen: "Confucianism = Elitism? Evaluating the Work of Mou Zongsan"
About the presenters
Yim Fong Chan is an SNSF fellow in the project The Exterior of Philosophy at the Institute for European Global Studies. In her dissertation, she investigates Confucian philosophy in China between 1949 and 1976. Her general research interests lie in the area of New Confucianism and Chinese intellectual history.
Philippe Major is a postdoctoral researcher in the SNSF-funded project The Exterior of Philosophy at the Institute for European Global Studies. His research interests include Modern Chinese Philosophy, Modern Chinese Intellectual History, New Confucianism, Sociology of Philosophy, The Relationship between Modernity and Tradition, as well as Textual Authority.
Milan Matthiesen is a research fellow in the SNSF-funded project The Exterior of Philosophy at the Institute for European Global Studies. His research interests include New Confucianism in Taiwan and Hong Kong, the development of modernity in the 19th and early 20th century in Europe and Asia, the history of philosophy, conceptual history, and the sociology of philosophy, as well as contemporary political theory.