Confucianism and the spirit of our time

Philosophers and scholars of Chinese philosophies have engaged in a heated debate on the relationship between Confucianism and the spirit of our time, as well as Confucianism and globalization. This is timely significant. I believe that Confucianism is compatible to the spirit of our time, as it was compatible to the spirit of various times in the past, and can be an inspiring force in globalization today. Indeed, I claim, and will continue to claim, that Confucianism is globalized today, though those universal claims which it makes need to be sifted out or universalizing some of its claims still has a long, bumping road to travel. Here, we should draw a distinction between globalization and universalization. Globalization is a process of having a global presence and marked by spatial expansion. Universalization is a process in which the universality or universal acceptability of a claim is recognized and consented. Confucian ethics has a globalized presence today, not merely being a system of beliefs and values operating only in Asian cultures. This does not mean that the world is confucianalized. Rather, it is to say that Confucianism has joined other globalized ethics such as Western liberal ethics or Christian ethics, becoming a significant voice in the world today. Thus, Confucian ethics is globalized, but not yet universalized.


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