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“HARMONY” (HE和) AND “COHERENCE” (LI 理) IN NEO-CONFUCIANISM

This paper offers a comparative study of two fundamental Confucian concepts, namely, “harmony” (he) and “coherence” (li). After presenting and interpreting the two characters – with reference to both classical thought and Neo-Confucianism – the paper examines how these concepts relate in the specific context of Neo-Confucian thought. While considering their differences in historical development, the study takes account of important characteristics shared by the two concepts as well as the ways in which they differ: in particular, it is argued that “harmony” is primarily relational while “coherence” is primarily constitutional. The common ground relating these two notions, in light of their differences, is to be found in their shared aspects of creativity and dynamism.

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