Constructing Confucian East Asia

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Constructing Confucian East Asia economic development and explanatory fictions
Fisher, Robert
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
University of Colorado Denver
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v, 151 leaves : ; 29 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Neo-Confucianism ( lcsh )
Confucianism ( lcsh )
Confucianism ( fast )
Economic history ( fast )
Neo-Confucianism ( fast )
Economic conditions -- China ( lcsh )
Economic conditions -- East Asia ( lcsh )
China ( fast )
East Asia ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 141-151).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, History
General Note:
Department of History
Statement of Responsibility:
by Robert Fisher.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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34628366 ( OCLC )
LD1190.L57 1995m .F57 ( lcc )


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CONSTRUCTING CONFUCIAN EAST ASIA: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND EXPLANATORY FICTIONS by Robert Fisher A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts History 1995


This thesis for Master of Arts degree by .Robert Fisher has been approved Mark Foster t1f) Date


Fisher, Robert (M.A., History) Construpting Confucian East Asia: Economic Development and Explanatory Fictions Thesis directed by Lionel M. Jensen, Ph.D. ABSTRACT This thesis is an overview of the key symbols "Confucianism" and "Nee-Confucianism" as they have been used to describe China and East Asia, especially in reference to the rapid rise of economic development occurring there. Current descriptions of development often ptesume a defining set of underlying cultural values which have facilitated a positive impact on such change and development. In the specific case of Asia these cultural values have been labeled 11Confucian." Though defining China and Asia by the Confucian construct may be traced back to Jesuit missionaries, the more reqent linkage of cultural values and economic development originated with the work of Max Weber. Many of the models he used and directions of inquiry he followed turn up today in popular and scholarly analyses. Understanding Weber's methodology is critical to understanding how his work has influenced current interpretations. . iii


The use of Confucianism as the key to Chinese history and culture is also evident in the writings of Tu and Wm. Theodore de Bary. Both have sought to present the Confucian tradition of China as the defining ethos ofhistorical Asia and as an important tradition for the present. The work of these scholars, while it has Qeen influential in academic circles, also serves to buttress the popular economic arguments for a distinct, defining Confucian heritage. This thesis questions the use of these terms to define cultural China and East Asia. In growing out of the early Jesuit readings of Chinese culture these terms exclude:other native interpretations such as Daoism which have shaped Chinese and East Asia history and culture. Furthermore these terms and the cultural values associated with them reflect western values which are questionable for use in interpreting Asian history, as are the social development models associated with such values. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication.


CONTENTS CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION: QUESTIONING THE CONFUCIAN CONSTRUCT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Notes ................ 19 2. EAST ASIAN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 3. AND CULTURAL : VALUES 2 3 East Asian Modernization?. . . . . . . . . .25 Paths to Asian History . . . . . . . .28 Cultural Development Models 38 Adopting the East Asian Development Model 46 NOtes ......... 51 THE INFLUENCE OF THE WEBERIAN DEVELOPMENT MODEL . . . . . . . Weber's Sociology . . . . . . Confucianism As . . . . . . .55 .59 .77 Confucianism As Reliqion 80 Notes ........ . . . . . . . . . . . . .90 4. NEO-CONFUCIANISM: VITALITY AND CONTINUITY 95 ty . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100 Liberalism . . . . . . . . . . . .104 Individualism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .106 .. . . . . 110 Tu Wei-ming And "New Confucianism ..... .119 Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .131 5. CONCLUSION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135 Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .140 BIBLIOGRAPHY . ...................... 141 v


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I wish to acknowledge the following for their support and guidance in completing this endeavor. I am especially grateful to Lionel Jensen for his guidance, patience and unfailing encouragement and without whom this work would not have been written; to my other professors at the University of Colorado at Denver especially Mark Foster and James Whiteside; to the Graduate School Thesis Advisor, Hannah Kelminson for her comments on this work. And special thanks to my wife Julianne for her love and support. R.S.F.


CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION: QUESTIONXNG THE CONFUCIAN CONSTRUCT The perennial effort of the west to define China and East Asiais the topic of this thesis. Specifically it concerns the current usage of the terms Confucianism and their use in interpreting Chinese .. history and how this relates to the evaluation of economic development in East Asia. The term Confucianism is employed in much of the contemporary discourse on China as a key symbol,1 invoked as a means of unlocking the mysteries of a distant place. Key in this case refers to the work of Andreas Muller and his "Clavis Sinica, 1 ; 1 or "key to Chinese. 11 Muller sought a deciphering "key" to the Chinese language in hopes of finding the evolutionary beginnings of language, just as Confucianism is used today.2 The use of such a reductionist key by contemporary western authors has become more than a method, it has come to represent the essence of Chinese culture, especially as it relates to economic growth. In this thesis I question the viability of this key. 1


As a working definition, our Confucianism, or what the Chinese label refers to the tradition indigenous to China and parts of East Asia, which takes as its founder and guiding sage Konqzi (Master Kong), or in its Latinized form, "Confucius. 11 Through this Latinization the Jesuit community of Asia and Europe, in the sixteenth century, created the term "Confucianism" to define the tradition of the ruling elite of China.3 Since then the term has endured as a dominant western stmbol of Chinese culture. Generally characterized as a moral and ethical system, this tradition may also be termed a philosophy, a political theory or a civil religion. Indeed, Confucianism has many facets of meaning as a key used to gain access to Chinese culture. It may describe the political culture or civil religion of the historical imperial, Chinese state, the essence of what constitutes cultural China, or as a metaphysical tradition with universa;l application. Though usually associated with the higher class of bureaucratic scholar-officials, or "literati," the tradition is also closely associated with the education system China. In this context it is often seen as having a wide influence on all who participated in some 2


type of official training, and over the course of centuries is thought to have filtered down into the structure of Chinese life, becoming nearly synonymous with many of the "family" values of China. Though not an official religion, per se, Confucianism is often grouped together with Daoism and.Buddhism and since the Ming dynasty they ht;ive been referred to as "the.Three Teachings" or San Jiao. Nee-Confucianism, considered a later development of the Confucian tradition, is the western equivalent of such feliowships known as lixue, School of Principle, daoxue,, School.of.the Way, and ruxue, School of Scholars. Nee-Confucianism_, here, to the Confucian tradition after its revival and metamorphosis in the late Tang (618-907 c.e.) and early Song (960-1279 c.e.) periods, especially as it was codified by Zhu Xi (1130-1200 c.e.), the twelfth century teacher, writer and bureaucrat. Following an era dominated both intellectually and culturally by Buddhism, Nee confucianism became, it is often thought, the orthodox tradition, one which guided much of Chinese life up to the twentieth century.4 This broad definition of the Nee-Confucian tradition, covering such an of Chinese history, 3


allows for a sense of continuity; the prefix "neo" reflecting the most recent changes in the tradition, predominantly as a response to Buddhism, and the "Confucian" referring to its continuity as a direct descendent of the:original. Despite significant changes, such as' the incorporation of Buddhist metaphysics, it within the tradition of the founding sage, Kongzi, and his purported concern for correct social and ethical conduct. The term Nee-Confucianism, also a product of Jesuit origin, 5 offers an all encompassing definition which. I tends to be misleading since the various schools and fellowships grouped under it, such as lixue or daoxue, may not be as homogenous as the term would imply. Hoyt Tillman's recent article has shown that there was little uniformity. It follows from his argument that we should question whether various Chinese intellectuals and thinkers, past and present, should be strictly classified as within this definition of Neo-Confucianism, and question what such classification entails ,for our current understanding of Chinese and East Asian history.6 With such misgivings in mind, this thesis will look at the China, and to some.extent East Asia, has been 4


studied under the rubric of "Confucianism." My concern is precisely the representative accuracy and authority of the terms Confucian and Nee-confucian understanding all along that they have served as a bridge to the history. and culture of China. However, the value of this bridge to a different time and through a different language has been exaggerated, as the path has become less of a method and more of a message. In other words, those aspects of the Chinese tradition of ru, chosen by t:ti.e Jesuit fathers because they were able to relate them to their own Christian tradition, and labled "Confucian," has become and entity in and of itself. Though all of the scholarly works under consideration utilize this interpretive path, the reasons:for their doing so vary. Some scholars, such as Tai Hung-chao, as we will see in Chapter Two, to extoll the perceived virtues of Chinese culture in the face of rapid social change, others, examined in Chapter Four, such as :Tu Wei-ming, are looking for a renewed sense of identity and meaning, and Wm. Theodore de Bary, to preserve and expand upon his interpretation of a past culture, but all by this one path. It is my belief that we must :examine this path and some of the ways China and East Asia have been interpret!J!d, to bring to our 5


attention the way we construct other people's history in order to facilitate understanding. Referring to Confucius or Confucianism as "constructs" or as manufactured" does not mean they a:re false, :rather they have been created from a set of bits of information. Theyare "key symbols" constructed so as to give orderand :meaning to our world; to make sense. This tendency to make sense of the world Clifford Geertz has described as the layering of information used to create 11a.stratified hierarchy of meaningful structures 117 This is how we construct-our own world and of our past, and since the sixteenth century. China been very much a part of our world. The appropriation of the construct of Confucianism continues today influences how China and East Asia are defined, both in the west and in Asia. The use of Confucianism to define Chinese.and East Asian culture is as much a phenomenon there. as .it is here, and tJ;ds can be see in the work of early twentieth-century Chinese:scholars such as Kang Youwei and later Hu Shi. An increasing number of works are appearing in China concerning Confucianism and.economic development in the late twentieth-century. Such dual usage reinforces its in both societies . Moreover, it could be 6


argued that many Chinese consider to be fundamental to identity.8 The term Confucianism has been used to such an extent that it has come to define Chinese culture -Confucian China and this definition has more recently begun tp pertain to all of East Asian culture. such definitions must be recognized as being based upon of Asian culture, dating from the sixteenth century, which have been built of successive layers information. Our use of Confucianism and NeeConfucianism may well eXplain more about our historical perceptions of our world than of the world itself. I The recent resurgence of the use of Confucian and Confucianism to define aspects of Chinese culture, past .and present by what has been called the "New Confucianism" by such scholars as Chang_Hao or the "Third Epocl) of Confucian Humanism" by others like Tu Wei-ming,9 is another use of the original invention of the term confucianism. It has been invoked as a key to understanding China and, to a large extent, East Asia as a whole, to define what they are as well as to explain the effort to emulate western industrialism. Indeed, it may be akin to an 11invented tradition," described by Eric Hobsbawm as., 7


a set of practices, normally governed by overtly or tacitly accepted rules and of a ritual or symbolic nature, which seek to inculcate certain values and norms of behaviour by repetition, which automatically implies continuity with the past.10 This invention "New Con.fucianism" or "Postmodern Confucianism"11-as it has developed in the lasttwo decades'has combined various aspects of the Confucian traditic;m to create a single tradition of "Confucian Humanism." For those involved in this endeavor the truth of the Confucian tradition is to be found in its deep spiritual values. These "Confucian" values of home, morality, self-discipline, reciprocity, mutual respect and benevolence provide an antidote to the moral meaninglessness that is one of the consequences of industrialism in the west. Here Confucianism has become the defining ethos of Asian peoples and the force behind Asian economic success. Taken to its philosophical limits by such scho'lars as Tu Wei -ming, it is now a new .ethical religion, continuing the earlier interpretive efforts of the Jesuits as representing the true Chinese moral-value system on par with Christianity.12 The. recent revival of Confucianism as a positive force in the culture of China may _be described as part 8


of a "paradigm" shift, the outline of which was first evident in the decades after the Chinese Revolution in 1949. Prior to this, the interpretation of the incompatibility of Confucianism with economic development was a:dominant theme. In China, the period before after the overthrow of the Qing government, in 1911; witnessed the disillusionment with reforms, and the growing perception that China had to modernize quickly.leading to arialmost total renunciation of the "Confucian" heritage and its values. The iconoclastic May movement, which historically had its beginnings in was indicative of a sense that "traditional," i.e. Confucian, values had failed. If China was to modernize then western democracy and science, with their attendant western values, were needed. This May Fourth reading of Chinese history has come to .affect how we view .that history. views were shared, not only by ma-ny Chinese intellec'tuals but also, to a large extent, by western interpre;ters of China in the middle of the twentiethcentury.: By the 1950s, with the triumph of the Chinese communists, the imperial heritage, including Confucianism, was seen as a thing of the past. China watchers, cut off from knowledge of many of the failings 9


of the 'new regime, remained optimistic for the future. However, within the exiled Chinese intellectual community there emerged a renewed need to preserve what they considered to be their cultural tradition. This was most apparent in the 1958 manifesto issued by four leading Chinese intellectuals -T'ang Chun-i, Mou Tsungsan, Chang Chun-mai and Hsti Fu-kuan, from which there emerged what has been called the "New Confucian" movement. 13 Laying the intellectual foundation for "Postmodern Confucianism," where relevant western tools of modernization, such as science and democracy, can be allied with the native intellectual heritage, especially its Neo.:.confucian branch,. this manifesto called for a reappraisal of Sinology and a reconstruction of Chinese culture saying that, China needs a genuine democratic reconstruction, and scientific and technological skills. For thfs reason, .China must embrace the c;:i vilization of the world; for this will enable her national character to reach higher planes of perfection .and her spiritual life to achieve a more comprehensive development.14 10


This ca'll for the revival of China's heritage, in tandem with concepts, signaled the shift, and it would begin to influence western scholars and interpretations of recent Chinese history.15 In. this thesis my aim is to bring to our attention .the way' in which this view of the Chinese cultural heritage -under the rubric 11Confucian11 -has affected this history. By doing so I hope to also question the assumptions upon is based including, the use of the terms Confucianism and Neo-confucianism, western models of development, the use modern ys. traditional, and the social analysis devised by Max Weber. Two is an overview of recent writings on the phenomenon of rapid economic growth which has occurreq throughout much of East Asia since the 1960's. Focusing on those interpretations that favor the influenqe of cultural values as a criticat factor in economic development, I examine those works which have argued that such cultural values are basically Confucian. This chapter follows the development of this interpretation, from an historical perspective, culminating with the most recent theories which seek to explain East Asian development as uniquely indigenous, 11


though profoundly influenced by the history and economic development of the west. The assumption being that the Confucian values of Asia have, in essence, affected the stunning economic achievements of East Asia. The place of values and their influence on societal development is the subject of Chapter Three. In discussions ofthe connection between cultural value systems and economic development, the work of Max Weber has a central place. His writings on the Protestant contribution to the development of capitalism in Europe is the theoretical basis for many of the recent works concerning East Asian development models. Not only did Weber most fully establish the "Cultural value -Economic development" link, but he also published an influent'ial study on the relationship of the economic developent of China and the ethical value system known to us as Confucianism. In using Confucianism as the "primary" value system responsible for China's development, Weber followed the lead of earlier interpreters of China, yet found China lacking in capitalist development. Thus contrary to recent Weber concluded that Confucianism was not able to foster western style economic development in the manner that Protestantism the west. With the 12


recent economic growth of East Asia, especially those areas a strong ethnic Chinese base, this view has come under scrutiny.l6 The paradigm shift, as outlined above, is in part a response to Weber's unfavorable conclusions and had a profound influence on the endeavors of intellectual historians. Chapter Four looks at two of the historians often identified with this shift -William Theodore de Bary and Tu Wei-minq. Both leading scholars of Confucian studies :in the u.s., deBary and Tu have brought to light a large amount of Chinese intellectual writings and history and have turned around the interpretive stance of much of the academic community. Under this of which de Bary and Tu are Confucianism and Nee-Confucianism have been placed at the forefront of understanding China, and are again a vital and visionary force within Chinese thought.: Though both historians have differing agendas, they have significantly contributed to this revival of confucianism by responding to Weber's argument and by presenting evidence for China's defining Confucian heritage. Understanding their interpretations is critical to understanding how we define China and East 13


Asia and also the theories concerning East Asian economic development. Yet beyond questioning interpretive or perceptive nuances of academic scholarship, why should the use of I as a defining theme of China and East Asia be cause for concern? It is because interpretations such as these have.ramifications far beyond academia, for they influence a wider audience which may not question the underlying assumptions. For example, in a recent article in Foreign Affairs,17 forecasting a future "clash of civilizations," Samuel Huntington described East Asia as an economic region dominated by China, where a "common culture is clearly facilitating the rapid expansion of the relations between the People's Republic of China and Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and overseas Chinese.communities in other Asian countries." The common Huntington speaks of he labels "Confucian," and the arguments in his article are indicative of the interpretive issues raised above, especially in his use of "Confucian" as a means of describing China and his western centered portrayal of non-western "others." .. 14


First, Huntington's article is an analysis based on the political and military history of the west, which leaves out three fourths of world history, yet makes o I o for its findings. This thesis would question the use of assumptions based on the "Western experience" in attempting to make sense of other, "nonwestern" people especially in regards to the phenomena of Asia, and China in particular, has often been portrayed as exotic and mysterious, becoming iri a sense mythical. Perceptions such as these have a long history and to recognize them is often difficult, but it is necessary to try. As Zhang Longxi says, To demythologize the Other is surely not to deny its distance, its alien nature, or the possibility of its poetic charms, but to recuperate real rather than imaginary differences. The beauty of real difference or aesthetic of the Other cannot be.truly appreciated unless various misconceptions are exposed and the false polarity between East and West is totally dismantled.18 Division of the world between us and them leads no closer to understanding and perpetuates those preconceptions which color our vision. By recognizing more of ,our preconceptions and their origins we may better understand how we differentiate China and Asia. 15


Hans-Georg Gadamer describes understanding as a "horizdn," where there is no one absolute truth, but where each perspective contributes to the picture we see. By acknowledging the various horizons, we keep open to the yiewpoints of others.19 Huntington contributes to the continuing perception of China as the mysterious and dangerous "other," a view often seen in other economic works on Asia, especially concerning Japan. Secondly, Huntington's article relies on an evolutionary argument that predicts an inevitable consequence; the "Conflict between civilizations will be the latest phase in the evolutionary conflict in the modern world." In the following chapter I will bring to our attention the use of a "development model" which evolutionary path for humanity, from less developed to more developed, that is from "traditional" agricultural societies to "modern" industrial societies. The Weberian methodology employed to explain East Asian development assumes that various factors, material and ideological, are necessary for such development. The use of Weber's sociological analysis carries with it a number assumptions as to what is necessary for economic development. By using this formula we inadvertently make those we study more like us to. explain such development. 16


As the'ideas concerning economic development and modernization have become questionable, so to do analysis based on their precepts. Is the society of 11moderri11 Europe and America the ultimate goal of the rest humanity? Some would have us believe so, but it is a notion which must be acknowledged and questioned.20 And the third aspect is Huntington's utilization of Confuci'anism as the defining ethos of China and Chinese civilization. As this thesis is primarily concerned with documenting the use of 11Confucianism11 as a means of explaining China and East Asia to others in the historiography of China and in recent writings on. economic development in East Asia, Huntington's use of this term demonstrates the extent of its contemporary usage. Huntington defines a civilization as possessing a common history, language, culture, tradition and religion. In societies outside of the west, this description implies the existence of a type of fundamentalist revival -getting back to cultural roots -where economic modernization and social change have people from local identities. According to this article, it is the 11revival of religion [that has] provided a basis for identity and commitment that .. 17


transcends national boundaries and unites civilizations.1121 It is an argument that echoes many of those found below, and yet this is seen as a threat here, for "a West at the peak of its power confronts non-Wests that increasingly have the desire, the will and the resources to shape the world in non-Western ways. 11 : The tendency to treat "the other" as a threat is a common theme in western writings, an invocation of the fear of,the unknown. This is a habit not easy to .. overcome, but necessary to move closer to the other we seek to:find and understand. Understanding how we have made sense of China in the past, and how we do so today, we may become more aware of our interpretive stances. In what follows I question the assumptions which our usage of Confucianism has placed on our understanding of Chinese history. The use of this key symbol to reach China has become the defining symbol of China and to a large extent of East Asia. In a world preoccupied with economic growth and development, standards set by us define the economic progress of others. Such comparisons, which we thought would shed light on other societies, may ironically reveal more about our own. 18


Notes 1. Sherry Ortner, "On Key Symbols," in American Anthropologist, 75 (1973), pp. 1338-1346. 2. See,D.E. Mungello, Curious Land: Jesuit Accommodation andthe Origins of Sinoloqy, Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1989, Chapter Seven, pp. 208 -246. 3. See-Lionel Jensen, Manufacturing "Confucianism": Chinese and Western Imaginings in the Making of a Tradition,. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, Forthcoming,1996. Page numbers refer to copy. Pp. 1-12; 289-292. 4. This view of a continuous tradition is open to _question, especially with the advent of the kaozheng in the late eighteenth century, see Benjamin Elman, From Philosophy to Philology: Intellectual and Social Aspects of Change in Late Imperial China, Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 1984. 5. The earliest reference to Nee-Confucianism seems to be found in Kund Lundbaek, "Notes Sur !'image du Neo Confuciens dans la litterature Europeene du XIIIe siecle a la fin du XIXe siecle," in Actes du IIIe collogue internationale de Sinologie de Chantilly. (Paris, 1983), pp. 131-176, as cited in D.E.' Mungello, Curious Land. In describing the work of Fr. Charles Le Gobien, History of the Edict of the Emperor of China in Favor of the Christian Religion. (Paris, 1698), Mungello says, on page 345, that Le Gobin never used the terms "Nee-Confucianism" or "Confucianism," but the term "the school of philosophers" which was closer to the Chinese use of Juxue, or School of Scholars. In the footnote Mungello surmises that possibly the first use of the term "neo-confuceens" was by the Chinese missionary and learned Jesuit, Jean-Joseph Marie Aniot in Vol. 2 (1777) of Memoires concernant l'historie . de Chinois. par missionaires de Pekin. 6. Hoyt.Cleveland Tillman, "A New Direction in Confucian in Philosophy East & West, Vol. 42, No. 3 (July, 1992), pp. 455-474. 19


7. Cli+ford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures, New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1973, pp.6-7. 8. For an overview of the Chinese construction of Konazi and,Ru see Jensen, Manufacturing "Confucianism" especially Part Two, Chapter Three, p. 312. For a discussion of current use of Confucius in China see Christian Jochiam, "Confucius and Capitalism: Views of Confucianism in Works on Confucianism and Economic Development," Journal of Chinese Religion. No. 20 (Fall, 1992). Also see, Mabel Lee and A.D. SyrokomiaStefanowska, eds., Modernization of the Chinese Past, Canberra: Wild Peony PTY LTD, 1993. 9. Hao Chang, "New Confucianism and the Intellectual Crisis of Contemporary China," in Charlotte Furth, ed., The Limits of Change, Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 1976. Tu Wei-ming, "Towards a Third Epoch of confucian Humanism, 11 in Irene Eber, ed. Confucianism: The Dynamics of Tradition, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1986. 10. Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition, Cambridge, MA.: Cambridge University Press, 1983. p.1. 11. The term "Postmodern Confucianism" is from Jensen's Manufacturing "Confucianism." It is the intellectual foundation for this thesis and its questioning of our:basic assumptions in regard to Chinese history. 12. Jensen, Manufacturing "Confucianism", p. 12. 13. Hao,Chang, "New Confucianism," maintains that the movement began even earlier with Hsiung Shih-li and Liang Shu-ming. 14. 11A Manifesto for a Re-appraisal of Sinology and Recqnstruction of Chinese Culture," in Carson Chang, The Development of Nee-Confucian Thought, New'York: Bookman Associates, 1962. p. 469. Originally published in 1958, in Min-chu ping-lun, in Hong Kong. 20


15. For an overview of this shift see, Jonathan Spence, 11A Vibrant Doctrine," Chinese Roundabout: Essays in History and Culture, New York: w.w. Norton & co., 1992. For a conservative analysis of this shift see, Ramon H. Myers and Thomas Metzger, ''Sinological Shadows: The State of Modern China Studies in the U.'S.11, The Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs, No.4, (Spring, 1980). The works which came out of this revisionist period include, Charlotte Furth, The Limits of Change: Essays on Conservative Alternatives in Republican China, Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 1976; Thomas Metzger, Escape from Predicament: NeeConfucianism and China's Evolving Political CUlture, New York: Columbia University Press, 1977; Chang Hao, Liang Ch'i Ch'ao and Intellectual Transition in China. 1890-1907, Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 1971; Lin YU-sheng, The Crisis of Chinese Consciousness: Radical Anti-Traditionalism in the May Fourth Era, Madison, WI.: University of Wisqonsin Press, 1979; Guy s. Alitto, The Last Confucian: Liang Shu-ming and the Chinese Dilemma of Modernity, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979. 16. For an overview of comparative research of this nature see,. Gary G. Hamilton, 11Why No Capitalism in China? Negative Questions in Historical, Comparative Research," in Andreas Buss, Max Weber in Asian Studies, Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1985. 17. Samuel P. Huntington, "The Clash of Civilizations?," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 72, No. 3 (Summer,1993). 18. Zhang Longxi, "The Myth of the Other," Critical Inquiry, No. 15, (Autumn, 1988). pp. 130-131. Also on the way we perceive others see, Henri Baudet, Paradise On Earth: Some Thoughts on European Images of Non European Man, Westport, CT.: Greenwood Press, 1965, 1976. An early work on western perceptions of Asia is Harold Issacs, Scratches on Our Minds: American Images of China and India, New York: John Day Company, 1958. 19. Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, New York: Seabury Press, 1975, pp. 17-18, 273. 21


20. For arguments that western society has reached the plateau of its development see Francis Fukuyama, TheEnd of History and the Last Man, New York: The Free Press, 1992. Fukuyama's argument is symptomatic of those celebrating the demise of socialism and praising the triumph of capitalism and liberal democracy, which will now dominate all "traditional" societies, now that the Cold War is over. 21. Huntington, p. 25-26. . 22


CHAPTER TWO EAST: ASIAN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND CULTURAL VALUES In. the last 15 years there has been an enormous amount of interest in the economic performance of the of East Asia. Specifically this interest has centered on Japan, the so called "Four Little Dragons" of Taiwan,Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore, and .. ; more recently, China. This interest has been dueto the incredible economic growth of the area, that has been so astonishingthat it has been labeled a "miracle". And yet this optimistic reporting concerns an area which was, the most part, until quite recently, considered to be nqt economically viable. This change in attitude i has been facilitated by an equal shift-in the historical interpretation of the area and the perceived relationship between "tradition and modernity" as this relates to industrialization. The economic "miracle" may be presented in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GOP) where these East Asian nations have out performed all others. From 1980 1986 Japan posted a 3.7% increase, Taiwan -7.2%, Hong Kong 6.0%, SoUth Korea 8.2%, and.Singapore -5.3%, compared to the United States GOP for the same period of 3.1 %.1 With less than 20% of the developing world's population


the "Fo.ur Dragons" have in the last decade produced 60% of the 4eveloping world's manufactured goods.2 China has had an average annual GOP growth of 7.6% from 1965 -1990, 6;. 4% in 1992 and 11% in 1993.3 And this type of performance is continuing, despite the recent Japanese recession. For the year to March, 1994 the GOP % increase in Japan has been 2. 0%., Taiwan 6. 2%, Hong Kong 5.5%, South Korea -6.5%, Singapore -9.9%, and China's:growth for 1994 was 13.4%.4 In:southeast Asian countries, especially those with large ethnic Chinese communities, :there is also a pattern.of rocketing economic growth. It is estimated . . that in 'Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei, ethnic Chinese control as much as 45 90% I of local assets. Ethnic Chinese in Indonesia and Thailand ow11 and operate 15 of the top 16 firms, and half of:the top 250 in the Philippines.5 Sucp economic growth among East Asian countries, especially those influenced by Chinese culture,. has produced various works, both academic and popular,: that have attempted to explain it. Many have credited the success of East Asian economic growth on a concerted effort by government and industry dedicated to industrialization. However otaers have also entered into 24


the equation indigenous, traditional values, such as I group allegiance, especially within the family, deference to authority, respect for education and the desire for self-improvement or self-cultivation, in an effort :to provide a unique explanation for East Asian development. Generally these values have been labeled Confucian or Nee-Confucian. Keeping these so-called Confucian values in mind, this chapter will look at some of the views of analyzing East Asian history and some of the more recent works which have announced the arrival of a specific "East Asian development model. 11 East Asian Modernization? Prior to thei970s East Asia, with the exception ot Japan, was often seenas aregion held back by traditional forces, which, it was believed, prevented modernization. The success of Japan, not only in industrializing but in actually competing with the west, quickly changed earlier views. Following the Japanese lead, as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea industrialized in the 1960s and 1970s many in the west have become curious and somewhat alarmed that a non-western area is economic competitor. Some of 25


the explanations offered in these works are cautionary and at awakening the u.s. to the Asian threat, to suggest defensive measures, lest they become a second rate economic power. Others are congratulatory, suggest'ing that we may be able to learn some things from these Asian capitalists. Whatever their conclusion, these analyses have formulated their arguments around a definition of "modern economic growth" a sustained, rapid increase in per c;:apita income resulting from the application of technology to production and distribution,6 implying the development of a "modern industrial society" much along the lines of the u.s and western:Europe. our investigation of this "process" is : based our experience in the west, and carries with it much :analytical baggage. . Fox\ example, Gilbert Rozman's definition of economic modernization in The Modernization of China accounts;. for the view of many of these recent works. "We view modernization as the process by which societies have been and are being transformed under the impact of the scientific and technological revolution." This process affects all aspects of a society and can be seen in international independence, relative growth 26


. I in production, movement from hig:p. birth and rates to lower ones, sustained economic growth, a more even income distribution, specialization of ski:+ls, bureaucratization, mass political L participation, and expansion of agriculture.' I Such a 1definition sets the boundaries of which factors we look for inmeasuring and explaining development. Here we must ask if these boundaries are. relevant "to non-western societies? since these factors are seen as : critical to modernization in the west are they critical to els"ewhere? As the economic growth of East Asia iri the last few decades, has promptedsuch measurments and explanations, our definition of modernization hasbeen applied to a number 9fEast Asian states, even though they .have a wide variety of differences geographic, historic, Works which have perceived a pattern of economic development in societies in East Asia have sought acommon link; a Confucian link . They have glossed;over differences of Japan, China and the "little to present an inclusive East Asian culture, which been, apparently, a primary determining factor in the economic and industrial growth of the region. By reviewing the history of interpretations of Asia 27


we may,see how such broad representations began, and how they continue to be influenced by the pattern of western history. Paths to Asian History Paul in Discovering History in China8 discusses three approacbes to recent Chinese history which are relevant to the later interpretations of East Asia. These approaches are the Impact-Response model, the Tradition-Modernity model and the Imperialism Approach. All are on the concept that civilizations are affected by outside forces. Analysis of these approaches will allow us to understand theuse of various models of development. first to be considered is the Impact-Response model, which focuses on the effects of the west on Asia. This approach describes actions taken by China and Japan as a response to the external western impact. Inherent in this:approach is a perception of. China, and Asia as a whole, as a static and stagnant society which would never develop without the intrusion of the European powers . In this approach Japan succeeds in modernizing while China fails. 28


Why did China fail to respond as successfully as Japan? .According to the interpretation put forward by John tqe major determinants of China's response lay within Chinese society, not outside it. Inertia, the most important of these, made efforts at Westernization superficial. China never could have achieved modernization as-Japan did because Chinese society was both so massive in size and so; firm in organization that it could not be rapidly shifted to Western models of organization.9 Critical to this approach was the notion that there was a distinct difference between "traditional" societies and 11modern11 ones and that societies would evolve from traditional to modern. Based on modernization theory a second approach developed which emphasized the gap between traditional and modern. Again, modern in this instance would reflect those aspects such as industrialization and material development which were, in essence, western. As examples of this approach Cohen refers to the work of Mary Wright, .The Last Stand of Chinese Conservatism, and especially that of Joseph Levenson in his trilogy, Confucian China and Its Modern Fate. It is to Levenson's work that we now turn. 29


I am unable to do justice to all of the insights and nuances of Levenson's work, however the general perception of it as signifying the demise of historical Confucianism is one that hashad great influence on later interpretations and conceptions which are central to the constructs of East Asian development and which are necessary to expand upon here. Implicit in Levenson's work is the view that China's encounter with the west compromised the Chinese world view, subjecting the philosophical vitality of Confucianism to history. once China to be the a civilization in the abstract, and it became but one among many, Confucianism lost its virtue and vitality. According to Levenson, :Confucian civilization was the apotheosis of the amateur, while the qenius of the modern age (eyil or not) is for.specialization.. In.the modern world the middle11 character of confucianism was lost; it was no longer a mean among alternatives but an opposite, on the periphery, to a new spirit from a new center of power.10 In this view China had to put aside tradition to make way for western modernity. It was either/or, the middle values of Confucian China were not compatible with the specialized values of the west. Levenson did not believe 30


that China possessed the potential to develop a capitalistic, industrial, democratic.society on its own. Looking at the empirical kaozheng movement of the Qing, and considering its scientific status, he asked, "Does it indicate that the seemingly stable, traditionalistic Chinese society was to develop under its own power, without .a catalytic intrusion of Western industrialism, into a societywith a scientific temper?"11 The answer according to Levenson was no. There were no burgeoning "modern values" in pre-western. Chinese thought. The intrusion of the west in effect ended the course of Chinese history and a total transformation of the Chinese world view was begun. Those that clung to traditional ideas, concerned with establishing a cultura]: and intellectual equivalence with the west were only petrifying tradition; they were "traditionalists." According to this interpretation, the intrusion of the west created an opportunity for a clean break with traditional China, but still China did not develop as did Japan. Why not? Japan has been seen as recognizing the immediate need to modernize and this was facilitated by its traditional system of social contro1.12 Japan's early efforts to modernize were undertaken without direct western involvement. China, the west was more 31


involved in trade, investment, and maintaining order, undermining imperial authority. Furthermore, the activities of Christian missionaries, resented by many Chinese, hindered acceptance of western ideas. Japan, on the hand, was willing to borrow and learn from abroad,.was pragmatic, and able to respond quickly to western influences.13 China, as this interpretation claims, :was burdened by the inertia of a stable and entrenched political and social system, set in an i:rriinense'geographical region, much of which saw no threat from westerners and therefore no sense of urgency to modernize. This ideological and political disequilibrium .. obstructed the development of a modernizing political system. Inherent in this interpretation is the view that Japan was able to become a modern nation, China, in tradition, did not. The earlier paradigm viewpoint -that China's Confucian tradition was holding the country back -is apparent in this modernitytradition split. : But these explanations have not convinced everyone. Following Cohen's work, there is a third interpretation. The first two models, the Impact-Response model, and the Tradition-Modernity model, can be combined into what Frances Moulder14 has called Traditional Society 32


theory;which generally viewed western contact as positive for the development of the so called "Third World". Her view, the World Economy Theory, which Cohen refers to as the Imperialism Approach, blames the lack of development on the blocking effect of the western industrial nations._This theory, based on work of Immanuel Wallerstein, Moulder's mentor, credits Japan's success as due to remaining relatively autonomous within the world system. Japan was able to militarize enough by the late 1800s, not only to deter Europeap immperialism, but to defeat China militarily in 1895. This facilitated Japan's membership among the rather than its subjugation. China, carved up by European imperialism, was unable to initiate its own development. The trend to see the primary factor in the recent I history:of East Asia as the impact of the west continues still. Mark Eivin's work The Pattern of the Chinese Past, while noting China's millennia! advance in from the first to the fourteenth centuries, speaks qf a "high level equilibrium trap" that prevented technological change in late imperial China. He writes: 33


With falling surplus in agriculture, and so per capita income and per capita demand, with cheapening labour but increasingly expensive resources arid capital, with farming and transport technologies so good that no simple improvements could be made, rational strategy for peasant and merchant alike tended in the direction not so of labour-saving machinery as of economizing on: resources and fixed capital. Huge but nearly static markets created no bottlenecks in the production system that might have prompted creatvity. When temporary shortages arose, mercantile versatility, based on cheap transport, was a faster and surer remedy than the contrivance of machines. 15 According to Elvin it was the "historic contribution" of the west to break this "trap." Without western ; technology China .would not have been able to overcome the trap and modernize. The impact of the west continues in promoting explainations. of East Asian. economic development. For example'. Ezra Vogel, in The Four Little Dragons, has emphasized a number of situational factors which he feels contributed to Asian economic development, all occuring in the twentieth century. Vogel argues that leading up to the second World War, Japanese colonialism and wartime occupation destroyed the old political order in much of East Asia which might have resisted adaptation to a new industrial order. The old political order in. Korea and China was seen as an impediment to 34


the development of industrial modernization.16 The Japanes;e, during the occupation, also built a large portion of the infrastructure of Taiwan and Korea such as roads, telephones, utilities., transportation facilities. At: the end of the Second World War the u.s. not only suppliedmaterial aid but also presented opporturlities for contact with knowledgeable specialists in technology, management and broader aspects of industrial society. The u.s Occupation of Japan from 1945-1952, and the continued u.s .. presence throughout the Cold War in South Korea and Vietnam, led to further influenc;:e and extensive opportunities for trade . Massive amountswere spent in Asia to contain the "Communist Threat 11 The United States sought to rebuild Japan as part of :the containment effort. This entailed the revival of industry, political stability, and labor stability at the expense of the nascent liberal goals of greater individual rights and protection. The wars in and Vietnam pumped additiqnal millions into the Japanese and Asian economy. Approaches such as these give little credence to in shaping economic development. However that viewpoint has changed as more and more 35


works allow for a continuity of "traditional factors" in the process of "modernizationn. As Cohen has observed, by allowing indigenous factors to shape the present Chinese. history regains some of its autonomy, and the role of the west is reduced. such a trend to include traditional features can be seen in' Dwight Perkins' China'sModern Economy in which he argues that, traditional Chinese society appears to have nurtured within itself certain values and traits more compatible with modern economic growth than those of many less developed states. That is, far from being negative barriers, several principal features ofChinese society were a vital positive force once other real barriers to economic were removed.17 Thqt is, there were vital factors available once I the the.west removed obstacles such as stagnant technology. Such traits that Perkins finds were valuable include -a high degree of commercialization, a nationwide banking system, large and complex cities, complex agricultural organization, a bureaucracy based on merit, and the high value placed on education and literacy. such traits proved valuable in that they "produced persons who could p.lay an entreprenurial role 36


once other necessary conditions (for example, the availability of modern technology) were met.1118 More recently in such works as Rozman's The Modernization of China, various indigenous factors seen as important for development are weighed and judged. Though.there were factors. which hindered China's modernization-a we.akened imperial system, increasing population and decentralization of resources -there were also important features which were conducive to modernization-openclass social mobility, bureaucratic organiz:ation, and a high emphasis on literacy. According to this work the barriers to moderrlization were only removed with the establishment of the.People's Republic in 1949. It took a revolution to bring modernity but the revolution was initially inspired by the west. In conclusion, says Rozmari, Not until the twentieth century did China, under the influence of the commerce and industry of foreign controlled seaports, of returing students with a western education, of western missionaries and educators, and especially of the example of modern transformation in Japan, begin to undergo rapid change. 19 37


This is the basis for the historical approach to recent works on economic development in East Asia. Modernization is seen as a positive step in a society's development, and instead of disavowing the native culture it allows traditional, indigenous factors to have a critical place in a society's development. This shift in the historical interpretation aligns well with the one which revived the place and prominence of Confucianism in Chinese society. A number of recent works this combination of western style modernization facilitated-by traditional values, and such values have generally been labeled "Confucian." Cultural Development Models. In 1979 Herman Kahn i . a futuristic tome entitled World.Economic 1979 & Beyond.20 This was one of the first western works to offera positive picture of EastAsian economic development. influenced by cultural values. Kahn labeled these cultural values "nee-Confucian" and said, We argue that under current conditions the nee-Confucian cultures have many strengths and: relatively few weaknesses. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the ethnic Chinese minorities in Malaysia and Thailand seem more adept at industrialization than the West. Mainland and perhaps 38


Vietnam or North Korea will probably soon jqin this list, although the issue is still moot. 21 Kahn utilizes Max Weber's theory concerning the role of values and economic development noting that, instead of a Protestant ethic, a Confucian ethic was as a factor iriEast Asian development. This Confucian ethic includes two sets of issues. One is that, Confucian societies uniformly promote in the individual and the family sobriety, a high value on education, a desire for accomplishment in various skills (particularly academic and cultural), and seriousness about tasks, jobs, family and obligations. Another is that, A properly trained member of a Confucian culture will be hardworking, responsible, skillful, and (within the assigned or understood limits) ambitious and creative in helping the group (extended family, community or :company). There is much less emphasis on advancing individual,(selfish)interests.22 According to Kahn, both aspects -the creation of dedicated, motivated, responsible and educated individuals and the enhanced sense of commitment, identity and loyalty to various 39


institutions -will result in all the nee-Confucian societies having at least potentially, if not actual, higher growth rates than other cultures.23 Roderick MacFarquhar soon followed this with an article in The Economist, titled "The Post-confucian Challenge1124 MacFarquhar also writes of the return of an Asian threat, not military but economic, not national but Confucian. He writes that 11Confucianism has been the ideology par excellence of state cohesion, and it is that cohesion which.makes post-confucian states particularly formidable." Though the individualism of the west may have been crucial to the development of I industrialization in the west, for MacFarquhar the post-Confucian characteristics of self-confidence, subordination of the education for action, bureaucratic tradition, and moralizing certitude may be better suited to the age of.mass industrialization.25 The Eastasia Edge 26 by Roy Hofheinz and Kent E. Calder further presents Asia as a monolithic Confucian culture ithreatening the u.s . The "edge" which East Asia has over .the west is a combination of state support, corporate practice and a shared spiritual base. This spiritual base derives from a strong sense of history which makes it natural for the East Asians to feel that 40


their own culture deserves to be the central culture of the world.1127 The region's motivation and sense of direction derives from this idea of a central culture and their commitment to it. It is for this reason.that East Asians value education so highly and the training which preserves culture and enhances its ability to meet external threats. According to Hofheinz and Calder this also explains the East Asian propensity to sacrifice individhal interests to those of the group and why they are so willing to postpone immediate gratification. Though admitting the precariousness of the term, . they label the general mode of East Asian thought .. "Confucian." These Confucian patterns of behavior and organization which account for the rise of East Asia are shared commonly across the countries of the region.28 One of the shared traditions is an agriculturally based family and'lineage organization within centralized state systems.: These agricultural backgrounds have taught East Asians importance of thrift, industriousness, independence and property ownership -all keys to a "modern" attitude.29 Pet'er Berger has named this background of cultural values "vulgar confucianism" -that is, a common Confucianism.30 He believes Confucian or post-41


Confucian ethics have become detached from "Confucian Tradition" proper, and have become more widely diffused. This is similar to Mark Elvin's statement that Confucianism has, as a scriptural system of meanings, values and explanations of the place of human life that were based on the classics, disappeared, but remains as psychological echoes in the Sinic world.31 For Berger these remnant values include a positive attitude toward the affairs of the world,a sustained lifestyle of discipline and self-cultivation, respect for authority, frugality, and an overriding concern for stable family life. It is interesting to note, however, that Berger has become doubtful of the "Confucian" term, and has begun to acknowledge that values associated with the post-Confucian theory may in fact be rooted in folk traditions rather than Confucianism.32 This terminological doubt, though, is not observed in other interpretations many of which still see a common Confucian culture or heritage which, despite changes,: have maintained the basic concerns of family, education, service to society, state supervised harmony based on ethical conduct and individual selfcui ti vat:ion. 33 From a tradition most often associated with imperial officials and the gentry there was a 42


diffusion of these core values to the rest of society. This occurred gradually from the top.down, though they were not simply spread by indoctrination, but also through other social and political structures.34 It did not exclude other traditions but was a syncretic process, which accelerated as the society became more bureaucratized; literate and entrepreneurial. This "Confucianism" reflected the interests of the bureaucrat, the agriculturalist, and the merchant.35 But if this was a syncretic process how can the various: traditions be singled out as the determining factor? According to Gilbert Rozman, there is a core of institutions which embody the Confucian heritage, especially as it has developed in the final centuries of the pre-modern period. These include the family, the educational system and the government.36 These core values are used and interpreted in a number of ways. Depending on one's agenda they can be used to demonstrate a similarity to western values or to demonstrate how unique they are.37 Familialism is often invoked as a core value and seen as a primary determining factor in facilitating the economic development of East Asia. The family is credited with influencing the relative success of the 43


Chinese in the twentieth century in reestablishing a strong state, in improving educational institutions, in promoting new political ideas and in mobilizing people for industrialization.38 However we must not accept the idea of the Confucian family uncritically. As Susan Greenhalgh has argued in her work on the Chinese family. firm, The flowering of apparently traditional family firms represented not the persistence of tradition but the reinvention of traditional family forms by powerful family patriarchs who were constrained to build their firms out of their families by powerful currents in the domestic and global political economies.39 Greenhalgh is especially concerned with the presentation of the Chinese family as a collective enterprize in which all members work together for a common goal on an equal basis. It would appear that there are severe inequalities in gender, generations and ethnicity all I glossed over by proponents of a positive Confucian heritage. Greenhalgh is especially critical of the work of the political scientist Tai Hung-chao. Tai Hung-chao, editor of Confucianism and Economic Development,40 argues along the lines of many of the 44


above works, stating that Confucian cultural factors not only have influenced industrialization in East Asia but, more than this they constitute an independent model of economic development. The unique cultural setting of Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea has, in combination with western capitalism, created an Oriental or Affective model of economic development which emphasizes human emotional bonds, group orientation and harmony. This, according to Tai, is in opposition to the .. western rational model which stresses efficiency, individualism and dynamism. Rationality, efficiency and profit making are essential to economic success but they do not over shadow human relations, group identification and the:maintenance of harmony.41 Accepting the goal of western industrialization Tai is also concerned with maintaining a unique Asian identity. Indeed, it would appear that many of these common cultural factors have been derived, to a large extent, from common in Japanese society. Characteristics such as self-denial, frugality, patience, fortitude, self-discipline and dedication have followed from observations of Japanese men, of an older generation, educated and gainfully employed.42 The East Asian development theory seems to be a generalization of 45


Japan Theory, Nihonjin-ron, a movement which celebrates the uniqueness of Japan and credits the role of its culture as accounting for Japan's essence and success.43 However this tends to have the normative effect of telling the Japanese how they should behave,44 and indeed :the use of the Confucian set of normative values provides a guideline for the new industrial East, whether for cultural identity or greater social control. Adopting the East Asian Development Model. A general interpretation has developed which maintains that there is a connection between Confucianism and economic success:. Though the development of growth promoting institutions can be explained in terms of general economic principles and the interactions of societies, the cultural factor has come to dominate much of the And despite the numerous differences between the and histories of Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan,, Hong Kong and Singapore, the focus has been on common cultural factors. In: recent years these common cultural factors of East Asia, labeled Confucian, have become widely diffused, and the East Asian development model has been embraced by a large number of. intellectuals and leaders 46


in For some it is part of a reinterpretation of Confucianism to serve modern needs, to bridge the gap between tradition and modernity. It has been successfully adapted in Japan where various aspects have been formed into a an ethical system for business and capitalist culture. The purpose of this ethical system has been to achieve a higher level of economic success without suffering the social ills of welfare, crime, education, and the environment indicative of western capitalism. 46 In Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, the former Prime Minister, has been an international proponent of such humane cultural determinism. Though there were early efforts to create a multicultural nation with industrial modernity as the national identity, since the 1980's there been a reconfiguration, calling for the inculcation of the traditional Confucian morality. This included the introduction of "Moral Education" into the school curriculum based on Confucian ethics. This new direction acknowledged a general Asian identity, allowing distinct South and Southeast Asian identities, yet elevating a larger East Asian-Confucian identity.47 This effort to impose a moral and ethical order on the new industrial society is. more obvious in Singapore 47


where there is concern that western culture will completely eclipse indigenous culture. As Lee said in a recent :article, "We have left the past behind, and there is an underlying un-ease that there will be nothing left of us which is part of the old.1148 Yet there is a greater concern concealed within Lee's ahistoricism -' to keep out the perceived social ills of western democratic industrialism such as crime, drugs, amprality and the decline of the family. A Confucian value system, especially one responsible for Asian modernity, is a defense against such inevitable decline.49 ; A Confucian development model based on the individual's support of the group, and allegiance to a central government may account for further support by authoritarian leaders. The Confucian value system has been described as generating particular institutional outcomes.50 It has imparted a strong ethical-moral basis for government which, so the argument goes, justifies the existence of hierarchical political organizations and a centralized meritocratic bureaucracy, and that the system stresses respect and loyalty to superiors, translating into a demand for consensus and conformity. It places obstacles before challenges to the status quo and breeds a cooperative and loyal industrial 48


organization which in turn leads to a cooperative relationship between the government and corporate interests. 51 A Confucian value system, discredited at the beginning of this: century has reemerged to explain the rise of industrial East Asia. The construct of the Asian development theory begun as an attempt to explain the economic development of East Asia, has been adopted to support the agenda of other groups. In particular by intellectuals in the west to support their own construction of a Confucianism. But what is critical here is' that the adoption of this construct brings with it the assumptions upon which it was based. What a number of the works described above assume is that core cultural values have an impact on the development of a society, and that such traditional factors have survived the advent of modernity. In this instance these core values have been grouped together under rubric of Confucianism. This in turn assumes that these Confucian values had or continue to have a central place in East Asian society. And finally there is the assumption that these values overcome all local regional and national differences to form the basis for an all inclusive culture. 49


This new interpretation is really nothing other than a reinterpretation of the Traditional Society Theory. It has accepted that social, cultural and personality factors have influenced development and that the role of the west was a critical factor in this development. But the once hindering traditional aspects of Asian society have been transformed into dynamic, affective cultural values. These assumptions rest on ideas which stem from the work of Max Weber. His writings, though often misinterpreted, have formed the basis for the East Asian development model, and his conclusions about the role of Confucianism in inhibiting the development of capitalism in China have presented the main focal point for discussion. Weber's work on the relationship between Protestantism and European capitalist development has provided the framework for the concept of a unique East Asian development model. Coupled with the revival of Confucianism as a viable philosophical system and the effort to explain East Asian development through Traditional Society Theory we can see how western concepts and constructions have influenced our views of Asian history and culture. It is to Weber's critical work and to some derivations 9f it that we now turn. 50


Notes 1. Wu Yuan-li and Tai Hung-chao, "Economic Performance in Five East Asian Countries: A Comparative Analysis", in Tai Hung-chao, ed., Confucianism and Economic Development: An Oriental'Alternative?, Washington D.C.: Washington Institute Press, 1989, p. 40. 2. Steve Chan, East Asian Dynamism: Growth. Order and Sectiritv in the Pacific Region, Boulder, co.: Westview Press; 1990, pp. 7-8. 3. The :world Bank, Sustaining Rapid Development in East Asia and the Pacific, Washington D.C.: The World Bank, 1993,p. 3. 4. Asiaweek Magazine, (March 30, 1994), p. 82. I 5. Chan, East Asian Dynamism, p. 39. 6. Simqn Kuznets, Modern Economic Growth, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1966, p. 9. 7. Gilbert Rozman, ed., The Modernization of China, New The Free Press, 1981, pp. 3-5. 8. Paul A. Cohen, Discovering History in China: American Historical Writing on the Recent Chinese Past, New York: Columbia University Press, 1984, pp. 3-4. 9. John K. Fairbank, Edwin o. Reischauer and Albert Crai.g, East Asia: Tradition and Transformation, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Inc., 1973, p. 559. 10. Jos.eph R. Levenson, Confucian China and Its Modern Fate: A Trilogy, Berkeley: University of California 1968, Vol. III, p. 108. 11. Ibid., Vol. I, p. 3. 12. EdWftrd F. Hartfield, "The Divergent Economic of China and Japan", in Tai, Confucianism and Economic Development, p.93. 13. Edwin o. Reischauer, John K. Fairbank and Albert Craig, East Asia: The Modern Transformation, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Inc., 1965 pp. 180-91.


14. Frances Moulder, Japan. China and the Modern World Economy: Toward a Reinterpretation of East Asian Development ca. 1600 to ca. 1918. Cambridge, MA.: Cambridge University Press, 1977, p. 3. 15. Mark Elvin, The Pattern of the Chinese Past, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1973, p. 314. 16. Ezra Vogel, The Four Little Dragons: The Spread of Industrialization in East Asia, Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 1991. pp. 85-86. 17. Dwight Perkins, ed., China's Modern Economy in Historical Perspective, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1975, p. 3. 18. Ibid., p.S. 19. Rozman, Modernization of China, p. 511. 20. Herman Kahn, World Economic Development: 1979 and Beyond, Boulder, co.: Westview Press, 1979. 21. Ibid., p. 118. 22. Ibid., p. 121. 23. Ibid., p. 122. 24. Roderick MacFarquhar, "The Post-confucian Challenge", The Economist,(Feb. 9, 1980), pp. 67-72. 25. Ibid., pp. 67, 71. 26. Roy Hofheinz, Jr. and Kent E. Calder, The Eastasia Edge, New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1982. 27. Ibid., p. 22. 28. Ibid., p. 41. 29. Ibid., p. 43. 30. Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao, "An East Asian Development Model: Empirical Explorations", in Peter Berger and Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao, eds., In Search of an East Asian Development Model, New Brunswick, NJ.: Transaction Books, 1988, pp. 19-20. 52


31. Mark Elvin, "The Collapse of Scriptural Confucianism", Papers on Far Eastern History, #41, (March, 1990) pp. 32. Peter Berger, "An East Asian Development Model?", in Peter Berger and Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao, eds., In Search of an East Asian Development Model, p. 8-9. The idea is from Professor Li Yih-yuan of the Academia Sinica. 33. Gilbert Rozman, ed., The East Asian Region: Confucian Heritage and Its Modern Adaptation, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991, p. 2:5. 34. Patricia Ebrey, "The Chinese Family and the Spread of Confucian Values", in Gilbert Rozman, ed., East Asia Region, p.47. 35. Rozman, East Asia Region, p. 26. 36. Ibid., p. 33. 37. For a discussion of the question of the Of Chinese culture and the interpretive 1SSUeS involved see, Andrew J. Nathan, "Is Chinese Culture Distinctive? -A Review Article, 11 The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 52, No.4 (November, 1993). 38. Ebrey, "The Chinese Family", p. 47. 39. Susan Greenhalgh, "de-orientalizing the Chinese family firm," American Ethnologist, Vol. 21, No. 4 (November, 1994), p. 748. 40. Tai, Confucianism and Economic Development. 41. Ibid., pp. 6-7, 14. 42. Rozman, East Asia Region, p. 27. 43. The study of values on Japanese development have been far ranging. For a recent interpretation of Japanese Confucianism see, Michie Morishima, Why Has Japan 'Succeeded'?, Cambridge, MA.: Cambridge University Press, 1982. For an overview of works contending that Buddhism has been associated with economic activity see, Robert N. Bellah, "Reflections on the Protestant Ethic Analogy in 53.


Asia,11 Journal of Social Issues, Vol. xix, No. 1 (January, 1963); and an early discussion comparing Japan and Thailand and a discussion of "Samurai" values in Japan see, Eliezer B. Ayal, "Value Systems and. Economic Development in Japan and Thailand," The Journal of Social Issues, Vol. xix,No.l (January, 1963). See also Robert N. Bellah, Tokugawa Religion: The. Values of Pre-Industrial Japan, Second Ed., New York: Macmillan, 1985. 44. Winston Davis, ''Religion and Development: Weber and the, East Asiari Experience", in Myron Weiner and Samuel P. Huntington, eds., Understanding Political Development, Glenview, Il.: Scott, Foresman/Little, Brown, 1987, p. 238. 45. Christian Jochim, "Confucius and Capitalism: Views on Confucianism in Works on Confucianism and Economic Development," Journal of Chinese Religions. No. 20 (Fall, 1992). 46. Tai Kuo-hui, "Confucianism and Japanese Modernization: A Study of Shibusawa Eiichi", in Tai, Confucianism and Economic Development, p. 89. 47. Wee, "Contending with Primordialism: The "Moc;lern" Construction of Postcolonial Singapore", in positions: east asia cultures critique, Vol. 1, No.3, (Winter,l993), p. 717, 737-738. 48. Fareed Zakaria, 11Culture is Destiny: A Conversation with Lee Kuan Yew", in Foreign Affairs, Vol. 73, No . 2, (March/April, 1994), pp. 126. 49. "Contending With Primordialism," p. 738. so. Anis Chowdhury and Iyanatal Islam, The Newly Industrialising Economies of East Asia, London: New York, Routledge, 1993, p. 33. 51. Ibid., p. 34. 54


CHAPTER THREE TBE INFLUENCE OF TBE WEBERIAN DEVELOPMENT MODEL All of the East Asian development theories outlined above, which assume that traditional values have played a role iin the transformation of a primarily agricultural, rural-based society into an industrial, urban society have been influenced, to a large degree, by the work of Max Weber. The study of the construction of an East Asian economic development model, which assigns Confucian values a central place, necessitates the study of Weber, for he championed the role of ethical values as a factor in social change. The extensive influence of Max Weber in the interpretation of societies and the development of modern industrial capitalism persists in western academic circles and shows no signs of abating. The extent of his work, its depth and complexity, and the various translations of it from the original German have left numerous opportunities for interpretation.1 Some of these interpretations form the basis for a theory of 55


East Asian development, even though Weber was concerned primarily with the development of European capitalism. Weber attempted to create a multi-dimensional model of social development which would encompass both material factors, such as the monetary system, trade guilds, governmental influence -what he considered the foundations of capitalism in the west -and idealistic factors, such as values, inherent in ethical systems like religion, which motivated individuals in their lives. Weber argued that, in addition to the underlying material basis for development, there must also be an accompanying ideological basis. It is this _model of development, which combines material and ideological determinism, that has been adopted by those arguing. for a distinct Asian model of development. In addition to using this theory of capitalist development; Weber has had another influence. Weber's later comparative studies of various societies, by which he sought to understand better the development of Europe, described a different and contrary development for China. According to Weber, China did not develop as did Europe because of a different set of values. Therefore, those using Weber's theory of development for East Asia have had to invert his conclusions about China. Following the Traditional 56


Society Theory described in the -previous chapter the traditional cultural values of "Confucian China" have been resurrected and made the equal of the puritan values Weber used to explain the capitalist development of Europe. After a period which saw the May Fourth movement's effort in China to dismiss Confucian values, and, later, the Chinese communist's attempt to bury those values for good, they have returned. to the forefront of the Chinese encounter with modernity. As there has been a reconsideration-of "conservative" Confucian values by some Chinese, so too have many western scholars taken another look at these same values. The place of those values in interpreting the economic growth of East Asia has been determined by scholars readings of Weber. Twp of Weber's works which have played a prominent role in: the interpretation of East Asia are the English translations of The Religion of China 2 and The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.3 The latter was the point of departure for most of Weber's subsequent work on India, China and-Judaism and is the basis for the theory of cultural value determination of capitalist development. The original essays of The Protestant Ethic, have been viewed as a refutation of the Marxist assertion of the predominance of materialism 57


as a historical determinant and that class consciousness was the trigger for trans.formative social change. Others I have stressed that. it was no. more than an essay in historical-sociological interpretation and should be appraised within the context of Weber's total work.4 Whatever Weber's original intention, his thesis has become a foil for Marxist interpretation in its insistence that ideals influence social change, and by allowinghistorical individuals, rather than class consciousness a formative place in history. This View of Weber disarms Marxist materialism and provides a place for any culture's indigenous values to play a role in and political development._. Used as a counter to the Marxism of China, Weber's thesis demonstrates an alternative path, leading.back to the neglected development capitalism. This is especially relevant for thqse promoting a conservative confucian value system China, as they would have it replace the sociaLtst values of the People's Republic. As fascination in and support fo.r the revolution has subsided abroad,5 a revisionist history has taken-shape, I one emphasizes conservative, traditional values. But, it must be remembered, Weber's thesis is also based on the same evolutionary concepts of society as Marx and clearly views capitalism as a stage of societal 58


evolution. The use of this nineteenth century model carries with it deep western assumptions of history, society and change. To better understand this it is necessary to look at the overall theme of Weber's work. Weber's Sociology Weber's.analysis of society, his sociology, rests on his concept of verstehen meaning "understanding. 11 His is an endeavor of a of motivation on one's own ,. experience and knowledge. To "understand" action is to identify motivation, and since, according to Weber, action !is determined by cultural context, it can therefore, identified However;. verstehen involves two aspects, the;materiaT, directly observational and circumstances, and the internal; ideal The latter comprehended when the actions, are so similar to actions of our own experience, we can relate to them . For Weber I analysis of the moti vatio.n of certain actions involved identifying those internal, ideal motivations which were similar enough to one's own experience to explain the resulting actions.6 Thus, a:nalysis was based on one's personal experience, within the cultural context of that experience. 59


Another idea central ;to Weber's work is the concept of rationalism and rationalization where processes of i the material world are explained by a series of calculable actions rather than by forces outside of the knowledgabl,e. As one aspect of life, say religion, I becomes increasingly rationalized -knowable by a rational explanation -other areas of life follow suit, .. such as 11 rationalization of .mystical contemplation, . of economic life, of technique, of scientific of military training, of law and administration.117 But under a more general description Weber was concerned with what he termed zweckrational ipstrul_llental or external, material and economic rationa,lization and wertrational -values. or idealist, religious rationalization. For Weber this rationalization was 11the substitution -for the unthinking of ancient custom, of deliberate adaptation to situations in terms of self-interest."8 In a given society there may be rationalization of some aspects but .. not of :others. However, rationalization of values was crucial to I the.rationalization of the instrumental. That is wertrat'ional was a determinant of zweckrational, and so the int:erpretation of what constitutes wertrational -values is critical to understanding, or verstehen. Much 60


of the analysis of Weber focuses on the rationalization I of religion, on the negation of simple magical and ritual:forms. Weber the degree to which a religion was rationalized by determining the extent of its divestiture of magic and its unification of "the relation between God and the world and therewith its own ethical relationship to theworld.119 Weber's argument was that the development of bourgeois capitalism" was somehow influenced I by the concurrent development of Protestant religion and that development was unique to the western world. These characteristics of "rational bourgeois", or industrial capitalism include the beliefs that: profit ; is the sole criterion of success or' failure; it is pursued in a rational manner; it has access to a free labor and is associated with technical means of production and marketing.:Weber did not deny the existence of capital enterprise throughout the world. He argued.that what the west had was a unique form of capitalism, But. in modern times the Occident has developed ; a very different form of capitalism which has appeared nowhere else: the rational capitalistic organization of (formally) free labor. [This] organization of the capitalistic enterprise would not have been possible without two other im61


portant factors in its development: the separation of business from the household, and rational book_:.keeping 10 Prior to the large scale development of this specific type of capitalism, the moral climate of the ethic was quite strong and was favorable to the development of what Weber called "the Spirit of Capitalism", state of mind which fit the functional characteristics of the developing capitalist economy.11 The is characterized by the idea that the acquisition of mqney is an end in itself, is pursued without limit, that hard work is a duty and moral obligation and this is combined with an emphasis on discipline and self-control.12 Weber, who was under the impression that in general Protestants were more successful in business than Catholics, believed that the traits of Protestant religion bore a remarkable resemblance to the traits of the "Spirit of Capitalism". Attempting to demortstrate how certain.types of Protest1ant religion were a source for the incentives which favoredthe rational pursuit of economic gain, Weber s'ingled out Calvinism. In a world with a predetermined end, and no recourse through prayer, magic or paynient, the only means for the faithful Calvinist to his place among the chosen was to work hard 62


and present his worldly success as a sign of grace and salvation. To do this, to find salvation, required that. one participate within the world, but still be not of the world, (what Weber termed "inner-worldly asceticism". "The person who lives as an inner-worldly ascetic is a rationalist The distinctive goal always remains the alert methodological control o-f one's own pattern of life and behav.ior.n13 Moral-rules coupled with a materiallife orientation created a psychological 11tension11 Weber emphasized this "tension"which was created by the demands of a transcendent deity for perfection in an j imperfect ahd tempting world.14 This idea of "tension" . . was the transformative factor crucial-to Weber's theory . and to later interpretations. Without this tension there was no :motivation, no spirit, or geist to facilitate the transformation of the The motivation of the Protest.ant was therefore to do God's will on earth .. through hard work, thrift, and success. in overcoming worldly And the case of the Protestant was but one example which follows Weber's general scheme of societal development. In Weber's general work in the sociology of religio,n his goal was to determine the extent to which 63


the conception of the siqnificance and meaning of one's existence, or religious views influenced actions and social relations. This investigation' into possible causation involved isolating the established economic organization, or foundation, as the constant and the religious orientation, as the variable, in the manner of a scientific experiment. Weber assumed that every human society had something which could be termed religion. His idea of was defined as the conception of a supernatural order with spirits, gods or impersonal forces which were different from, and in some sense superior to, natural events. But this basic belief in the supernatural functioned only as a source.for aid in matters of mundane, worldly concerns such as one's health, life, personal relations and the successful outcome of conflict with one's enemies. However moving along an evolutfonary path societies would change. At various points in time "breakthroughs" occur which shift a society in a new direction, a direction which leads to an evolutionary change from the I traditional order.15 In this scheme those societies Which eXperience SUCh a 0breakthrough11 are distinguished by their intellectual, social and religious creation of a new order and commitment to.that order as the 64


"rationalization" of their religious ideas and the world in which they live takes place. Tne phenomenon of rationalization occurs through a process often facilitated by a charismatic prophet. Invoking a known source of moral authority, this prophet announces a break in the established normative order. The prophet must reach a segment. of the society which is most to change, the alienated elements. This is usua,lly not the peasants, a lower class, or the beneficiaries of the established order, an upper class, but a disenfranchised group with a rational pattern of living, .such as artisans and merchants. Within this framework Weber described the development of the modern western world.16 Again he viewed this development as unique,: not as a model for the entire world. To bolster his argument for the singularity of the phenomena in Europe he compared western society with others. Toward this objective.then, Weber produced a series of comparative studies, originally published in Archiv fur Sozialwissenscaft und Sozialpolitik, a journal he co-edited. The essays were revised, expanded and reissued shortly before his death in a three volume work called Collected Essays in the Sociology of Religion. The comparative essays consist of three pieces: "Confucianism and Taoism", "Hinduism and Buddhism", and 65


"Ancient Judaism". It is important to note that the essays have never been translated into English as a whole, but only as separate works and without the original "Prefatory Note" which introduces the series, explains Weber's point of origin, and sums up the results. The .essay "Confucianism and Taoism" is the book we know as The Religion of China.l7 The bulk.of this essay, contrary to what the English title would suggest, deals with the social and economic structure of China. Weber looks first at the material aspects of Chinese culture which would form the base for economic development, and then analyzes the variable religious factor . Rather than present a comprehensive picture of Chinese society Weber used the comparative information he collected to buttress his argument for Occidental development. This is particularly evident in the missing introduction to the work where he states that, The studies do not claim to be complete analyses of cultures, however brief. on the contrary, in every culture they.quite deliberately emphasize elements in which it differs from Western civilization. They hence, definitely oriented to the problems which seem important for the understanding of Western culture from this point of view 1 8 66


For Weber there were a number of social aspects inthese other societies which were economic development in the west and these were he believed, approptiate points for comparison; the monetary system, cities and guilds, the state, kinship organization, and the law. A,stable monetary system was seen as necessary to facilitate trade and the acquis.ition of. wealth as. it provided a common denominator of economic. value, profit and loss.19 The Chinese monetary system was not, in Weber's estimation, sufficiently rationalistic to lead to capitalist development. He cites as an example the of the cash flow in late imperial China, where peasants were paid in qopper cash for their produce, but had to pay their taxes in silver, which resulted in "the exchange rate between copper currency and continually fluctuating from time to time and from place to The city, seen as a critical factor in the development of western capitalism, again was not conducive to such growth in China. According to Weber, Chinese cities lacked the political and military autonomy, and the organization which would facilitate capitalism. The absence of legal and fiscalsecurity in 67


the cities also hampered the development of trade guilds. Weber states that, In contrast to the Occident, the cities of China and throughout the Orient lacked political autonomy. The oriental city was not a the sense of Antiquity, and it knew nothing of the 11city law" of the Middle Ages, No forces emerged like the consuls, councils, or political associations of merchant and craft guilds such as the which were based upon the military independence of the city district.21 These developments were, then, the result of the city's .lack of autonomous rule which, he reasoned, was due to the .central authority of the Chinese Empire. Iri addition to hampering urban autonomy, the centralized Chinese state and its attendant bureaucracy also blocked the religious development necessary for the formation of a rational capitalism. By assuming religious functions of the state cult, so Weber argued, the Emperor and the government of bureaucrats did not allow a priesthood to develop which could have challenged the secular state. "The cult of the great deities of heaven and earth, with which some deified heroes and special spirits were connected was an affair of the 'state. n22 68


Furthermore, popular religion 11 a completely unsyst$matic pluralism of magical and heroistic cults11 was not able to organize and develop the power to compete with the official state religion . Thus "there was (sic) no independent religious force to develop a doctrine of salvation "as occurred in the west. The patrimonial bureaucracy, not wanting to be challenged, accepted the status quo of the 11non..;.rationalized11 popular religion and worked to retain it. Weber believed that 11any rationalization of popular belief would inevitably have constituted an independent power opposed. to officialdom. u23 Weber's distinction between the Confucian tradition and the Daoist tradition has reinforced the problen inherent in such analysis. As new research shows, within Chinese>society such distinctions, among traditions or classes'were not as clear as Weber would have us 24 Weber assumes the paramountcy of Confucianism and though he acknowledges a Oaoist priesthood, it did not pose a threat to the dominant state cult of Confucius, and Daoism was used as a means of pacifying the masses. Confucianism was .for the intellectual elite, and the .gap between the two 11could not be filled by imposing the Confucian attitude upon non-mandarins, 69


iriculca;ting thein with classical doctrine, the only availab:le instruction. n25 For Weber, Daoism was a heterodox tradition in relation to Confucianism orthodoxy. Though .both traditions used Dao as a central concept, the Daoists were who :strived for a psychic state and not a state of grace as in occidental asceticism. Weber's analysis distinguishes between philosophical Daoism and Daoism, but often mixes the two. Equating Laozi with philosophical Daoism, Weber says that it sought accommodation to the world as did Confucianism. Daoism, 'though demanding an ethic of absolute perfection, .did notlead to "asceticist conclusions nor to positiye demands in the field of social ethics," due to its outlook.26 Daoism.was unable. to transform Confucianism or Chinese society because, all tension between the divine and the creatural is lacking, a tension which would have been guaranteed only by the retention of an absolutely super-creatural, supra-mundane, personal creator and.ruler of the world.27 Weber also viewed the Chinese kinship system, the family, :that paragon of Confucian virtue in contemporary evaluations, as an obstacle to capitalist development. 70


By meeting many of the needs of the individual the family, in the way such things were understood in the west, discouraged individualism and independence. Furthermore, family enterprises impeded the development of independent industry. In China the extended family, what Weber termed the sib, was "completely preserved" in the administration of the smallest political units, the village, and the operation of economic associations. The family owned the land, aided the needy, provided assistance, provided medical. needs, burial services, and schools.28 The near of the family narrowed economic opportunity and Because of the home spinning, weaving, and tailoring of the women, and especially because the women also their products, an independent textile industry could emerge only on a modest scale The sib association strongly supported the self-sufficiency of the households, thereby delimiting market developments.29 In an interpretation of Weber's China Winston Davis points out that the family was primarily identified by the rites of ancestor worship. The traditional village land of the sib, passed onby the ancestors, could not easily be sold. This placed additional restrictions on developing free markets in land and labor. Furthermore, according to Davis, because the village "wasregarded as 71


the individual's true home, a genuine urban spirit did not develop in the cities.n30 Another aspect of Weber's view of capitalist development was that of the law. According to Weber, the absence of a comprehensive legal system, based on precedent as in the west, was a further obstacle for China. "Rational and calculable administration and law enforcement, necessary for industrial development, did not exist." Weber did not say there was no law in China, but that there was no calculable or predictable law. Where i rational enactment and adjudication of law had not triumphed the dictum was: Prerogatives have precedence over common law."31 The patrimonial nature. of Chinese law rejected legal formalism. Rational capitalistic businesses had to know where they stood in relation to the law in order to grow. In addition to Weber mentions briefly, there was a lack of "political prerequisites." The empire hindered the constant feuding of "several competing autonomous states .. Instead of the continuous state conflict which occurred in Europe, there was relative peace. capitalist phenomena thus conditioned through war loans and commissions for war purposes did not appear."32 Furthermore, there was no competition for 72


capital, and no overseas or colonial relations to foster capitalist development. Despite these differences Weber recognized many aspects of China which may have been conducive to capitalist development. Such factors as social mobility, unrestricted by birth, relatively free choice in residence, occupation, and no compulsory military obligation orrestraint on usury or trade led Weber to the conclusion that "from a purely economic point of view a genuine bourgeois industrial capitalism might have developed . ".However, he continues, "a number of reasons -mostly related to the structure of the state -can be seen for the fact that capitalism failed to develop. 1133 But despitei or because of, these material factors rational entrepreneurial capitalism was ultimately hampered by "the lack of a particular mentality. Above all it has been handicapped by the attitude rooted in the Chinese "ethos" and peculiar to a stratum of officials and aspirants to office.1134 The "ethos" was Confucianism and the officials and aspirants were.the "Literati", those educated in the classics, and in positions of power and prestige, the carriers of the tradition. Weber characterizes the elite in the same manner as the Jesuits did in the sixteenth century, 73


equating Confucianism to the "doctrine of the Literati" or ru jiao (ju chiao).35 For Weber the Literati were "the decisive exponents of the unity of culture," and their self interests were, crucial to the development of the "orthodox" value system they werethe social carriers -Confucianism. Again, Weber follows the Jesuit "take" on Chinese religion, placing the Confucians above other traditions. For Weber, the literati were "the ruling stratum in China," distinguished by their literary education, non-hereditary status, social position, and bureaucratic function. But ,11[i]t has been of immeasurable importance for the way in which Chinese culture developed that this leading stratum of intellectuals has never had the character of clerics.1136 Indeed, their political self interest opposed the formation of a powerful priesthood. The bureaucrats, the holders of this political power managed the state cult of the ancestors over which the Emperor resided. Though "tolerating the private practitioners of magic1137 the orthodox Confucian Chinese performed: his rites for the sake of his fate in this world -for long life,. children, wealth, and. to a slight degree for the good of the ancestors, but not at all for the sake of his fate in the "hereafter" 38 74


As Weber it, the Confucian had no interest in salvation or transcendence from this world. The 11tension11 so critical to transformation in the European case was reduced to a minimum, 11all tension between the imperatives of a supra-mundane God and a creatural world, all orientation toward a goal in the beyond, and all conception.of radical evil were absent.1139 This world was 11the best of all possible worlds11 and all people had the same potential for moral perfection. For the Confucian salvation consisted of adjustment to the world and to following the strictures of the social and moral order. This is the central point of Weber's argument. 11Confucian rationalism meant rational adjustment to the world; Puritan rationalism meant rational mastery of the world.1140 Though the Confucian way of life was rational, it was determined by the outside world, while that of the Protestant was determined from within by the demands of his religion. As Weber argues, From the relation between the supra-mundane God and the creaturally wicked, ethically irrational world there resulted, however, the absolute unholiness of tradition and the truly endless task of ethically and rationally subduing and mastering the given world, i.e., rational, objective 11progress.n4 1 75


In this effort to subdue the world, the Puritan rationally dissolved all aspects of social life into the pure business relation, and substituted rational law and agreement for tradition. The Chinese, by contrast, followed tradition, local custom and the cultivation of personal relations. There was no effort to master the . given world, to break from tradition, and so, no Weberian motivation for the kind of change seen in Europe. There are arguments which question the validity of certain aspects of Weber's thesis and his application of .it. These arguments may be divided into those that hold that it may be impossible to determine the "truth value" of the claims that religion has had an impact on economic development or those that hold that given the influence of social and economic factors, it is doubtful that religion has been a deciding factor.42 Joseph Levenson maintained that the breakdown of Confucianism, due to the impact of the industrial west on Chinese society, confirmed that social factors prevented the formation of a capitalist society. The anti-feudal character of Chinese society "accommodated and blanketed the embryonic capitalism and ruined its revolutionary potential." It was not Confucianism that 76


determined the form of society, but it was the "manipulators of power who were admirably served by [its] traditionalism, its anti-legalist moral bias, its theory of free social mobility, and the premium it set on the mastery of a literary inheritance.1143 Much in this manner of accommodation H.O. Harootunian argues that European capitalism, far from being created by Protestantism;used the developing religion as a legitimizing ethos for focusing upon the accumulation of wealth. 44 Despite these qualifications two of Weber's central themes have persisted in the methodology used for analyzing China: that religi-ethicical values create a transforming tension in people's minds, influencing economic development, and that the dominant, orthodox value system for China was Confucianism. Thus Confucianism has remained as the Chinese alternative to Puritanism and consequently many students of China's modern transformation have looked to Confucianism for an understanding of its distinct pattern of development. Confucianism As Protestantism The work of S.N. Eisenstadt45 has attempted to elaborate on Weber's.analysis while challenging his conclusion about the lack of tension in Cpinese society. Eisenstadt 77


begins his analysis with Karl Jaspers concept of Achsenzeit or "Axial Age" civilizations. In this scheme there took place, in the first millennium before the Christian era, a revolution in the realm of ideas. This was the emergence, recognition, and institutionalization of a rift between the transcendental and the mundane. As in Weber's theory this obstacle created a problem over how to bridge the rift, what has been termed "salvation"the transformation of one's self and society. This process took place in several major civilizations including Ancient Israel, Ancient Greece, Christian Rome, Zoroastrian Iran, early Imperial China, and in Hindu and Buddhist India. In these civilizations a "breakthrough" occurred, argues Eisenstadt, in which a new type of intellectual elite became aware of the necessity to actively construct the world according to a transcendental vision. It was this construction of a new order which formed the "tension" at the heart of social transformation. For Eisenstadt these changes were the basis for Weber's comparative study and his idea of "rationalization" of these world religions. However, Weber included China among those civilizations within which this rationalization of religious orientations 78


took place, yet maintained that China lacked the tensions at the root of such rationalizations. Contrary to Weber's view, Eisenstadt argues that the Chinese Confucian tradition did not deny a tension between the transcendental and the mundane. In fact, so this argument goes, it did develop a high level of rationalization through this tension. However, the Chinese formed a unique definition of this tension and a special concept of its resolution.46 The tension was described in secular terms, and this, in turn, was connected to a "this-worldly" conception of its resolution. Such a resolution was attained by cultivation of the social, political and cultural orders so as to maintain harmony. The Confucian "this-worldly" orientation stressed the proper performance of one's duties in order to resolve the tension between the transcendental and the mundane, in practice. But as Eisenstadt says, in principle, The major thrust of the Confucian orientations was the conscious taking out of these social relations from their seemingly natural context and their ideologization in terms of the higher transcendental orientations, the proper attitude to which could be acquired only through a largely demysticized and demagicized ritual, learning and contemplation.47 79


This orientation, according to Eisenstadt, "seen especially in Nee-Confucianism," emphasized a transformative world view. Eisenstadt's thesis that there was a secular transformative tension within the Confucian tradition reinforces Weber's basic premise of social change while at the same time preserving.the central role of Confucianism as a tra.nsformative value system. Eisenstadt's definition perpetuates this view of Confucianism. Indeed, just as the Jesuits placed Confucius above and outside of the dao, and fa syncretism known as the sanjiao yiyuan, "Three Teachings are one1148 so too have current interpretations. This designation is still applied by those who have used the Weberian thesis to describe the economic development of East Asia. Confucianism has again become the defining ethos of Asia; a religion. However, rather than retarding development "Confucianism as religion" has facilitated it. Confucianism As Religion. Just as the Jesuits sought to understand China by looking at native texts, as Sinologists do today, the interpreters of Confucianism as religion have gone back to these same texts to back up their claims. And by looking for religiousness in the 80


Confucian texts (not in Daoist or Buddhist texts).they are certain to find it. It is interesting to note, however, that the interpretation of the western construct of Confucianism as a Chinese religion is open to question. In a number of works what were for the Jesuits and Weber separate religious traditions, are actually mixed and blended. There is no such clear . delineation between Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism and the so called folk religion.49 Since the designation of Confucianismfru as the orthodox value system relegates Oaoism and Buddhism to heterodoxy this view that one was superior to the others is as questionable as is the idea that they were separate and easily distinguishable. Some have argued that Daoism should be interpreted as the symbol of Chinese culture rather than Confucianism.50 To advocate this alternative would, however, continue the quest for the "legitimate" symbol which would be as misleading as the Confucian symbol. It is more conducive to our understanding to recognize the constructs of Confucianism for what they are rather than to refute them in favor of another central value system. 51 In order to facilitate such recognition it is profitable to question the religious designations of confucianism, especially in its rational, transformative 81


incarnation. Reading C.K. Yang's Religion in Chinese Society,52 one is struck by the seemingly irrational beliefs of "Confucians." There is a large area of belief iri aspects such as numerology, luck, good fortune, good and bad spirits, which we in the west would deem superstitions, but which informed the daily life of Chinese, including those with an advanced education. The view that Confucianism is "rational" is a recent development, concurrent with efforts to include China within the sphere of secular, western nations.53 In this effort magical and superstitious aspects of Chinese religious tradition were relegated to heterodoxy, while Confucianism took on airs of rationality akin to western Christianity, similar to the Jesuit interpretation, and to Weber's, but now sufficiently "transformative." In this vein interpretations of the religious aspects of Confucianism continue to flourish. Herbert Fingarette in Confucius The Secular As Sacred,54 makes a case for viewing the sayings of Confucius, as they have come down to us in the Lun Yu, as a metaphor for a sacred and holy vision. According to Fingarette's philosophical interpretation Confucius realized that "man's humanity could be comprehended through the imagery of li." Li is commonly translated as "ritual" or "rules of propriety." The ritual or 82


ceremony of li conducted in a truly sincere manner is a spiritual act which manifests the humanity of man. Authentic acts of li, or ceremony, not only brings out its human character but its moral and religious ones also. In, what Finqarette terms, "Holy Rite" as metaphor for human existence resides the holy in man's existence. He writes, Instead of being diversion of attention from the human realm to another transcendent realm, the overtly holy ceremony is to be seen as the central symbol, both expressive of and participating in the holv as a dimension of all truly human existence.1155 For Fingarette, Confucius was a "great cultural innovator," who transformed the whole concept of human society fulfilling, in part, the role of prophet in Weber's scheme of societal evolution. Confucius' concern for man's life on earth led him, according to Fingarette, to transform the concept of li to a way of living which brought out the humaneness and sacredness of existence. It was this "secular" vision which led Confucius to envision a new civilization based on tradition,(a tradition which performed the same function as a supra-mundane divinity). For it was through tradition, a new tradition, that his "ideal of a 83


universalistic community based upon shared conventions.,'' could arise.56 Fingarette assumes a universal application of his interpretation of Confucianism, a universalism which has been expanded upon by those arguing for a New Confucianism. Rodney Taylor argues in The Religious Dimensions of Confucianism57 that the Confucian tradition is profoundly religious, though it is also an ethical system and a humanistic teaching. Confucianism should, says Taylor, assume a place amongst the major religious traditions of the world. For Taylor the religious elements of Confucianism revolve around the idea of .tian, (tien) which he translates as "Heaven". This Heaven is portrayed as an absolute religious authority.58 Heaven as absolute in turn has a relationship with the human individual. It is in this relationship that one finds the possibility for personal transformation, or what Taylor calls "salvation." Personal transformation is defined in both classical Confucianism and Nee-Confucianism through the idea of the Sage, Sheng ren. Rather than being concerned only with the mundane world, Taylor places spiritual transformation in the forefront of Confucianism. Taylor gives Confucianism the transformative motivation which Weber said it lacked. By 84


defining tian as Heaven, with the same supre-mundane possibility for transcendence, Confucianism has the same power of social transformation as Calvinism. The translation of tian as heaven serves as a prime example of interpretive hurdles to our understanding. Tian in Chinese refers specifically to the above or to the sky. The first Chinese dictionary of 100 c.e. defines "tian".as zenith or apex, a gloss clearly lacking any religious significance.59 Designation of this term as "Heaven" brings with it the multiple layers of meaning, most closely associated with Christianity. However, by translating tian as "Heaven" Taylor confers legitimacy upon the idea of Confucianism on par with religion. Among western scholars none has promoted the idea that Confucianism has a religious dimension as vehemently as Thomas Metzger. Metzger also disagrees with the definition of confucianism as secular. citing T'ang Chun-i, Metzger claims that the concept of "Heaven" was central to the Confucian concept of a moral imperative that was simultaneously transcendent and integral to man. Man was the only spiritual being able to tap and bring to fruition the divine force inherent in Heaven.60 Metzger bases his argument on the definition of religion as "the.most general mechanism 85


for integrating meaning and motivation in action systems.1161 From this Metzger says that, Confucianism was religious, moreover, if a religious view of life, as opposed to a merely ethical one, is a view calling not just for altruistic acts but for a kind of supreme act of ultimate virtue and total efficacy bringing physical as well as moral salvation to the entire world. 62 For Metzger, rather than a secular tension with a "this worldly" method of resolution, there was an actua;t. religious tension which was unresolved. Because of the rift in the Confucian world view between the perfection of the distant past and the inadequacy of the present, the established center of power was obviously unable to bridge the gap. The emperor was not a sage, and could not bring society to a state of perfection. This task was left to a group outside the center. It was up to Nee-Confucian intellectuals, outside of the political center, to search for a method by which to achieve sagehood and thereby surmount the gap between the transcendent and the mundane, bringing society to a state of perfection.6 3 Metzger's account of the Nee-Confucian struggle with the resolution of the tension between the way things were and the way they could be was most fully 86


developed in his book Escape From Predicament.64 In addition to his refutation of Weber's claim that there was no transforming tension in Confucianism, Metzger also refutes Levenson's view that the impact of the west ended Confucianism as a living tradition. Indeed, Meztger argues that the impact of the west assisted China in solving their "predicament" of unresolved tension by providing the means to overcome them and so realize the confucian -Nee-Confucian goal of social and personal transcendence. For the Neo-Confucians the predicament was that "the individual can and. should summon a godlike flow of moral power within himself, but this belief was paradoxically combined with a fearful realization that he would be unable to do so.1165 That is despite their most dire efforts, they were unable to summon the moral. power to transform the world. Transformation through reform and at the center of power had been attempted by Wang An-shih in the eleventh century. The failure of these reforms led the Neo-Confucians to, according to Metzger, choose an peripheral and accomodative process of partial reform.66 They lacked the means to reach their goals. That is until the arrival of western culture provided the means to realize their goals of social transformation by introducing science, 87


technology, the idea of economic development, and democracy. These Chinese intellectuals saw western values as being the "same in essence as various ancient Chinese ideals but had been further developed by Westerners. The West did not introduce the concept of societal transformation; it just provided the opportunity to reach them."67 Metzger attempts to refute the western impact theory by arguing for an indigenous means of societal transformation within the Confucian tradition, but he still needs the impact of the west to provide his "escape" and this would appear to mitigate against an .active transfor.mative impulse in China's central value system. Metzger creates a scenario in which Chinese cultural values, read Confucian values, can continue on into the present. China can modernize and develop and still maintain, even expand its Confucian identity. He employs an argument which links Weber's view factoring value orientation to development, and includes China in the process of modernization. By providing a process of continuity for Nee-Confucian ideas he also develops a construct similar to those of Chinese Humanists like T'ang Chun-i and Tu Wei-ming and their view of a new Confucian transformation. Thusweber's theory of 88 ., '1


societal transformation has come to explain East Asian development, providing the model for such development and for the revival of the Confucian tradition. A continuing Confucian tradition, revived in the thirteenth century and codified by Zhu Xi, is an integral part of the movement for a new era of Confucian humanism. Moreover, a Confucian tradition possessing a foundation for.western ideas of democracy, individualism and concern for human rights, would equally facilitate the modernization of China and East Asia and at the same time serve to preserve the traditional culture. The work of Wm. Theodore de Bary as the central pillar of NeeConfucian studies in the United States has provided the most influencial and pervasive outlook of Chinese intellectual history to date. De Bary argues for a NeeConfucianism possessing many of the liberal values necessary for China to develop a democratic society. Such views greatly enhance the arguments for a unique East Asian devlopment model based on Confucian values. 89


Notes 1. For discussions of the problems with translation see Buss, ed. Max Weber in Asian Studies. For problems relating to various translations and editions of Weber's works see Gordon Marshall, In Search of the Spirit of Capitalism: An Essay on Max Weber's Protestant Ethic Thesis, London: Hutchison & Co., 1982. 2. Max Weber, The Religion of China, Hans E. Gerth, Trans. and ed., New York: The Free Press, 1951. This is only a part of Weber's Collected Essays in the Sociology of Religion. 3. Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Talcott Parsons, trans. and ed.,New York: Scribner, 1958, London, 1930. Talcott Parsons, Introduction to Max Weber, The Sociology of Religion, Ephraim Fischoff, trans., Boston: Beacon Press, 1967. 5. For a description of the romance of the Revolution and its subsequent disillusionment see, Steven w. Mosher, China Misperceived: American Illusions and Chinese Reality, A New Republic Book, 1990. 6. Jeffrey c. Alexander, Theoretical Logic in Sociology, Vol. III, "The Classic Attempt at Theoretical Synthesis: Max Weber," Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983, p. 30-31. 7. Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic, "Author's Introduction", p. 26. 8. Alexander, Theoretical Logic, p. 26. 9. Max Weber, The Religion of China, p. 226. 10. Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic, "Author's Introduction,11 p. 21-22. 11. C.K. Yang, Introduction, Max Weber, The Religion of China, p. xv. 12. Ibid., p. xvi. 13. Alexander, Theoretical Logic, p. 35. 90


14. Reinhard Bendix, Max Weber: An Intellectual Portrait, Garden City, NJ.: Doubleday & Co., 1960, p. 81. Yang, Introduction, Religion of China, p. xvi-xvii. 15. Introduction, Sociology of Religion, pp. xxi-xxix. 16. Ibid., pp. xxxii-xix. 17. Buss, Max Weber In Asian studies, Introduction, pp. 1-2. 18. Max Weber;The Protestant Ethic, "Author's Introduction,"p. 27. 19. Yang, Introduction, The Religion of China, p. xx. 20. Max Weber, The Religion of China, p. 3. 21. Ibid., pp. 13-14. 22. Ibid., p. 143 23. Ibid., p. 144. 24. see Edward L. Davis, "Society and the Supernatural in Sung China," Ph.D. Dissertation, Berkeley: University of California, 1994. 25. Weber, Religion of China, p. 173. 26. Ibid., p. 183. 27. Ibid. I pp. 186-187. 28. Ibid. I p. 88. 29. Ibid. I p. 90. 30. Winston Davis, "Religion and Development: Weber and the East Asian Experience," in Myron Weiner, and Samuel P. Huntington, eds., Understanding Political Development, Glenview, Il.: Scott, Foresman/Little, Brown, 1987, p. 241. 31. Weber, Religion of China, p. 100. 32. Ibid., pp. 100-104. 91


33. C.K. Yang, Introduction to Max Weber, The Religion of China, pp. xix -xxviii. Weber, The Religion of China, p.100. 34. Weber, The Religion of China, p. 104. 35. The term "literati" comes from the Jesuit phrase, "la leggede de'letterati," see Lionel Jensen, Manufacturing "Confucianism", Chapter Two. 36. Ibid., p. 108. 37. Ibid., P 145. 38. Ibid., p.-1.44. 39. Ibid., p. 228. 40. Weber, The Religion of China, p. 248. 41. Ibid., p. 240. 42. Davis, "Religion and Development," p. 226. 43. Joseph Levenson, "Review of The Religion of China," in Journal of Economic History, (Winter, 1953), p. 128. 44. H. D. Harootunian, Things Seen and Unseen, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988, pp.24-25. 45. S.N. Eisenstadt, ed., The Origins and Diversity of Axial Age Civilizations, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1986, and "This Worldly Transcendentalism and the Structuring of the World," in Buss, Max Weber in Asian Studies. 46. Eisenstadt, "This Worldly Transcendentalism," p. 48. 47. Ibid., p. 49. 48. Lionel Jensen, "The Invention of "Confucius" and His Chinese Other, "Kong Fuzi," positions: east asia cultures critique, Vol. I, No. 2, (Fall, 1993), p. 436. 92


49. See, Maurice Freedman,110n The Sociological Study of Chinese Religion," in Arthur P. Wolf, Religion and Ritual in Chinese Society, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1974;.Michael Loewe, Chinese Ideas of Life and Death: Faith. Myth and Reason in the Han Period, London: George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1982; Christan Jochim, Chinese Religions: A Cultural Perspective, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.: Prentice Hall, 1986; Robert P. Weller, Unities and Diversities in Chinese Religion, Seattle, WA.: University of Washington Press, 1987. 50. See Michel Strickmann, History, Anthropology, and Chinese Religion," in Harvard Journal of Asian studies, Vol. 40, No.1 (June, 1980). 51. Jensen, Manufacturing "Confucianism," pp. 290-292. 52. C.K. Yang, Religion in Chinese Society, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970. 53. Ibid., p. 6. 54. Herbert Fingarette, Confucius: The Secular as Sacred, New York: Harper & Row,. 1972. 55. Ibid., p. 17. 56. Ibid., pp. 60-65. 57. Rodney L. Taylor, The Religious Dimensions of Confucianism, Albany, NY.: State University of New York Press, 1990. 58. Ibid. I p. 3. 59. Xu Shen, Shuowen jiezi, Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1963. 60. Thomas Metzger, "Eisenstadt's Analysis of the Relations Between Modernization and Tradition," The American Asian Review, Vol. II, No. 2 (Summer, 1984) 1 P JQ. 61. Robert N. Bellah, Beyond Belief, New York: Harper & Row, 1970, p. 12. This description is taken from that which appears in Clifford Geertz's, "Religion 93

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as a Cultural System," in Geertz, Interpretation of Cultures, p. 90. 11A religion is a system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive and long lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic." 62. Metzger, "Eisenstadt's Analysis," p. 34. 63. Ibid., p. 44. 64. Thomas A. Metzger, Escape from Predicament, New York: Columbia University Press, 1977. 65. Ibid., p. 49. For a critique of Metzger see "Review Symposium: Thomas A. Metzger's Escape From Predicament," Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. XXXIX, No. 2 (February, 1980). 67. Metzger, "Eisenstadt's Analysis," p. 62. 94

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FOUR NEO-CONFUCXANXSM: AND The presentation of Confucianism as an ancient but still viable tradition is a crucial aspect of the current analysis of East Asian values. Using such values and labeling them as Confucian has been central to explanations of East Asian economic development. This, in turn, has been based upon the European model of .capitalist development devised by Max Weber and used to refute his conclusion that indigenous values have fostered such development only in the west. Weber's take on the central value system of China as confucian would not have the influence it does today without the recent focus of academic debate on Confucian values and history, due in part to the economic growth of Asia. This chapter will look at two of the most influential western scholars in presenting the Confucian tradition as central, viable and continuous Wm. Theodore de Bary and Tu Wei-ming. Over the last three decades no one has written more prolifically or expansively on"Neo-Confucianism than 95

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William Theodore de Bary of Columbia University. Through numerous works of his own and those produced in conjunction with the conferences on Nee-Confucianism de Bary has, to a large degree, shaped the interpretation of Nee-Confucianism in the u.s. His vision of Chinese thought is founded on the presumption that Confucianism, and its following incarnation, Nee-Confucianism, accurately reflect crucial aspects of "Chineseness." In light of the argument I have developed throughout this de Bary's work may be seen as another interpretation of China produced by following the "Confucian path." "Confucius," that ubiquitous symbol used by the Jesuits, by Weber and by the narrators of East Asian development to explain history and make sense of China, is again brought forth, this time to describe Chinese intellectual history. Over the years, de Bary has, presented Confucianism and Nee-Confucianism as a viable and pertinent doctrine for today. Especially as defined by Zhu Xi, Nee-Confucianism, as it developed during the Song, may have more relevance to the future of China than anything the comparatively superficial encounter with the west has yet revealed.111 De Bary's work marks a new direction in the historiography of China in the west. The paradigm shift, described in Chapter One, was foreshadowed by de Bary. 96

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His early studies on Confucianism contributed to the reevaluation of "Chinese conservatism as being a more lively and variegated force in twentieth-century Chinese life than we had previously allowed.112 Though acknowledging that aspects of NeoConfucianism have been perceived as authoritarian and rigid, especially as manifested in the political realm, there are other aspects which were, according to de Bary, supportive of change and reform and quite compatible with the individualism and liberalism which are for him at the heart of western civilization. De Bary's apparent agenda, which has not only survived the upheavals of the last century but has carried the seeds for the renewal and modernization of China and for all of East Asia, is to define Nee-Confucianism as the dominant ethos of China. De Bary's particular reading of the Confucian tradition has been criticized on this point by Paul Cohen who says, Ironically, a perusal of recent Western scholarship on the Chinese past reveals that the history we have belatedly been discovering in that past has often been marked by strong resonances with patterns of change that highlighted the West's own march toward modernity.3 97

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And this criticism applies to the changes in perception regarding Chinese history, which attained prominence in the 1970s and early 1980s, and which argued that traditional values not only have survived but have also played a role in facilitating China's modernizati9n. De Bary has contributed to this view by arguing for a vital and influential tradition, one which has remained as the dominant value orientation of East Asia. However, in another aspect he has moved in a different direction by emphasizing the liberal aspects of Confucian thought, forming a distinct view of a Confucian tradition that values individual initiative, universal education, freedom from despotism and the means within the tradition to accomplish these ideals. De Bary defends his use of these concepts in interpreting Confucian thought, not because of any predisposition to read western values into Chinese thought but because, against my original assumptions and preconceptions, certain resemblances could not be ignored.4 For de Bary, China and East Asia, and indeed the west, need only to look to the Nee-Confucian tradition to find a civilized path to modernity. 98

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Through de Bary's work there runs a common thread. Responding in many ways to the call a new vision of Chinese history and in particular Nee-Confucianism as formulated by T'ang Chfrn-i, Mou Tsung-san, HsU Fu-kuan and Carsun Chang in the "Manifesto for Re-appraisal of Sinology and Reconstruction of Chinese Culture115 who maintained that China's culture was vibrantly alive, de Bary, too, due to the persistence of xinru XY&, "New Confucianism," affirms the vitality of Chinese culture. As. the Manifesto questions the western view of 11Sung Ming Confucianism," as defunct in vitality, deBary questions the picture of Nee-Confucianism as a rigid orthodoxy and ideological tool of .an authoritarian system which has prevented us "from looking behind the outward appearances of an 'unchanging China' to see its inner life and dynamism." DeBary counters the view of Nee-Confucianism as defender of the established order and cultural tyranny, as claimed by Chinese reformers and revolutionaries of the twentieth century and the view set forth by Weber as "a relentless canonization of tradition" devoid of "prophetic zeal and moral dynamism." He argues that Nee-Confucianism is actually the culmination of "the underlying positive values which established Nee-Confucianism as the spiritual and 99

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cultural basis of east Asian civilization in the thirteenth to nineteenth centuries.116 Despite the many changes and reforms within the Nee-Confucian movement, de Bary emphasizes the continuity of the tradition as a process of growth. Rather than a "conscious will to narrow the vision," as Joseph Levenson described it, it was a "liberal and liberating vision of man's creative powers." Instead of adjusting to the world in the wake of the failure of the reform movement of Wang An-shih, the Neo-Confucians sought to transform the social order through selfcultivation, in much the same manner as Metzger argues in his work. The tension created by the ideals for the world and the actualities of the world provided the motivation for change within the tradition.' DeBary's thesis concerning the continuity of the Confucian tradition is critical-to his concepts and to the argument for the presence of a Confucian tradition today. Continuity In two works, Nee-Confucian Orthodoxy and the Learning of the Heart-and-Mind, and in The Message of the Mind in Nee-Confucianism, de Bary further articulates this idea of continuity within change by.examining the xinxue, or 100

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"Learning of the Heart And Mind." The character xin in this context is translated as referring to both the heart and the mind. Xinxue has long been associated with Wang Yangming (1472-1529) and Lu Xiangshan (1139-1192), and is often referred to as the Lu-Wang school. On the other hand, the Ch'eng-Zhu school is often referred to as the li xue, or "School of Principle." DeBary argues that "in fact Nee-Confucian hsin-hsueh (xinxue) originated in the Ch'eng-Chu (Cheng-Zhu) school and primarily in reference to the 'message' and 'method' of the mind.118 The use of the term xinxue reaffirms de Bary's interpretation of continuity by emphasizing Zhu Xi's view that he was one in a line to perceive the correct teachings of Confucius. In the early stage of Nee-confucian development, as the hoped for reforms of Wang An-shih failed to materialize and the quest for reform moved to a more personal endeavor, there developed an intensely personal and individual process to foster change. De Bary .describes the decision to follow such a path as a "religious decision; it meant dedicating oneself to a set of ultimate values such as one could live or die for." The group engaged in this endeavor are often referred to as dao "School of the Way" or "Learning of the Way," who emphasized "the individual will to 101

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learn and the intensely personal nature of this process."9 They are represented ultimately, for deBary, by Zhu Xi, -"the teacher par excellence of Tao Hsiieh" (dao xue). According to de Bary this "individualism" links Zhu Xi's dao xue to the to the classical definition of the Confucian Way as "Learning for the sake of one's self." And the renewal of the tradition by Zhu Xi and the group of intellectuals preceding him, is often referred to by de Bary as dao tong or of the Way," or "succession of the mind." Endeavoring then, to learn for one's self, and for the future transformation of society Neo-confucians formed a "commitment to the self-fulfillment of the human person as the ultimate value in both education and government.1110 The concept of the self as formulated by the Neo-Confucians was in opposition to both the selfish pursuit of power and wealth and to the Buddhist or Daoist pursuit of escape. De Bary's interpretation maintains that without a clearly defined conception of what it means to be human such endeavor was shallow and ephemeral in the former and unrealistic and too unworldly in the latter. Especially regarding the Buddhist emphasis on the concept of Emptiness -that there is no substantial nature or reality was criticized 102

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by the Neo-Confucians as not providing a basis for determining any moral standards. Yet the enormous influence of Buddhism, particularly Chan Buddhism, during the Song dynasty and its debates on the nature of the Mind and the concepts of "no-mind," wuxin and "no-thought," wunian, forced Neo-Confucians such as Zhu Xi to respond to these views. Zhu Xi's concept of the mind was more concrete and based on a belief on an innate human morality. expressed in the phrase, "The human mind is precarious; the mind of the Way is subtle. Be refined and single-minded, Hold fast the Mean,"11 the Nee-Confucian belief was that the .mind of the Way guides one's human mind to a path with a moral standard. This development of xinxue by Zhu Xi provides the latter developments within Nee-Confucianism with a sense of continuity that encompases both the school of principle and the learning of the heart and mind. Rather than a picture of disparate schools of thought, de Bary portrays one school, singular in its quest for self-knowledge and reform. In addition to his description of Nee-Confucianism as a continuous, yet changing tradition, de Bary is also looking for aspects within that tradition which can mesh with his view of what has led the west into modernity. 103

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Central to this development is what de Bary terms "liberalism." Liberalism In The Liberal Tradition in China12 de Bary writes that the events of this century have compelled him to "search for something in the life and history of the Chinese people themseives which might offer grounds for hope in a future less torn between revolution and reaction." What he finds are aspects of the Nee-Confucian tradition which in his view could be "recognized as values in the Western liberal tradition.'' Though never explicitly stating what in his view constitutes the liberal tradition in the west, he does compare a number of other definitions arguing that there are variations of the definition. However in a later article13 he does refine his definition to include: a commitment to humane values, that is to the value of human life and the dignity of the person; a skeptical or critical habit of mind; a willingness to entertain opposing views and to engage them in open discourse; and institutional frameworks which protect this open exchange of information and opinion.14 Each of these, except the last, are present in Chinese culture according to de Bary, and so within the "conservative" Confucian 104

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tradition there are elements which are conducive to what he considers to be "liberalism." In The Liberal Tradition, de Bary makes a case for the centrality of individualism and opposition to despotic government in the Nee-Confucian tradition. In describing dao tong as the "repossession of the Way," he allows for a process of continuity in which the "individual [could] exercise greater autonomy in relation to received text and classical tradition." And indeed many intellectuals who are grouped within the Nee-Confucian tradition did, to a large extent, reinterpret the classics to suit their own agenda, and .so asserted, according to deBary, their autonomy and individuality. As he put it, Thus the concept of the orthodox tradition or "repossessing of the Way" expressed a certain ideal of the heroic individual as the reactivator of traditional values and as the agent of social reform and human renewa1.15 The theme of the individual continues as De Bary refers to Zhu Xi's writings on education. Again it is founded on Zhu's notion of "Learning for the sake of one's self," through a self motivated desire to improve one's self for self understanding, not to impress others. Though it was through lndividual effort that one 105

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could attain this, it was not a selfish desire, for the process of self-cultivation led to improvement of the community as well. This linkage between the individual and the community and indeed with the cosmos is developed further by Tu Wei ming, as we will see below, but Tu's argument is bolstered to a large extent by de Bary's interpretation of individualism in Confucian thought, and so the concept of individualism in Chinese society as well. Individualism. Much of de Bary's argument for the place of individualism in the Confucian tradition can be .found in a collection of his essay_s, Learning for One's Self.16 These essays further develop the concern of the Confucian for the self and the individual within the community. Searching for concepts which can be interpreted as individualism and liberalism, De Bary wants to demonstrate that such concepts are not only compatible with Chinese thought but actually are inherent in Confucian thought. The use of the western concept of individualism and its place in another society must be questioned here for they impose ideas which are particular not universalistic. Indeed, the very definition of liberalism and individualism are culturally determined. 106

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Though de Bary's purpose here is to develop a greater understanding of the past, it also allows for the possibility of the development of the institutions seen as critical for liberal democracy in the future. The concept of individualism is seen as a critical step toward modernization and de Bary wants to demonstrate that the concern for the individual has deep roots in the Confucian tradition. De Bary is concerned with demonstrating that the Chinese have a strong concept of the individual and so should also have a strong concept of reform and the preservation of human rights,17 concerns derived from western human liberalism. Clearly de Bary is aware of this for, though the common Chinese term for "individualism," qeren zhuyi (ko-jen chu-i), represents merely a transliteration of the western idea and implies that there was no such concept in traditional thought, he maintains that: in the earlier Chinese tradition the problem of .the "individual" -his relation to the group, his role in society, his "rights" in the sense of the respect that is due him as a human being, or in such and such a status -has been the subject of as much thought and discussion as in the West.18 In what deBary terms "Confucian Personalism," there exists, at the center of. a web of personal 107

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relations, an inner self, which exercises its own autonomy. Here the individual resides in "a delicate balance with his social environment, reconciling his own self respect with respect for others, his inner freedom with the limiting circumstances of his own situation in life. nl9 For de Bary it was especially during the development of Nee-Confucianism in the Song and Ming periods that the question of the individual was a central issue and "came closer than at any other time, past or present, to the kinds of questions asked more recently about the nature and role of the individual in .. the modern West.n20 TWo types of individualism are identified by de Bary in traditional China. First there was the individualism of the recluse who has withdrawn from society, such as manifested by certain Daoist or Buddhists. This individualism had little "positive" effect. Alternately there was a more "affirmative" and socially defined individualism which sought to establish the self in relation to others. Despite criticismthat this relationship placed the group above the interests of the individual and that it cannot be equated with western types of de Bary argues that, 108

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However this may be, it remains true that the Confucian almost alone in traditional China concerned himself with defining'and establishing some positive role for the individual in society, and, while this was not to be equated with the advocacy of individual rights in the modern sense, it was by virtue of this active social and political endeavor that Confucianism became a vehicle for the growth of a new humanism and. individualism in Neo-Confucianism.21 Much as it is used as a key to understanding the Confucian concept of education so zide, "Learning for one's self," is also a key to understanding the Confucian or Nee-Confucian concept of the individual. Here de Bary defines it again through his idea of Confucian Personalism which "affirms the importance of the self or person (shen or tzu) as the dynamic center of a larger social whole, biological continuum, and moral/spiritual community." Nee-Confucianism was a later, mature phase of this concept enlarged by the economic, social and cultural trends of the Song period. By de Bary's argument this was a hybrid of Chan Buddhist individualistic tendencies and the traditional Confucian social restraints culminating in zide. As interpreted through the work of Zhu Xi, zide is, according to de Bary, a "self-realization in which man fulfills all that 109

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is distinctively human while participating in the creative work of heaven and earth.1122 Such concepts, which place the individual at the center of the community, can lay the foundation for greater individual action in the pursuit of liberal democracy. One such action would be the pursuit of political reform. Reform. As he discussed in The Liberal Tradition, de Bary also is concerned with emphasizing the tradition of reform movements within Nee-Confucianism. A distinct mark of liberal tendencies was the practice of standing up to the imperial government and demanding reforms in the system. De bary uses the example of Huang Zongxi (Huang Tsung-hsi,1610-1695), a late Ming official and the author of the Mingyi daifang lu, (Waiting for the Dawn: A Plan for the Prince),23 which was critical of the despotism of the Ming government. By challenging the authority of the Ming, Huang was, according to de Bary acting as a morally responsible individual. Indeed, he was an example of the creative repossession of the Way, interpreting it to suit the needs of his own time and being faithful to his Nee-Confucian predecessors "in his conviction that dedicated men, individually and through 110

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the process of collegial discussion, could make fresh discoveries and contributions.1124 In a later work,25 de Bary discusses further the "liberal protest" of Confucian bureaucrats autocracy. Citing the case of Lu Liuliang (d.1683), a contemporary of Huang Zongxi, whom he describes as critic of dynastic rule, champion of the people and prophet, he was a leading spokesman for orthodox NeeConfucianism. A Ming official he refused to serve the Manchu government when it took power because he felt the Qing dynasty had usurped the Mandate of Heaven. Here, de Bary argues, this type of protest is indicative of the tension between Chinese bureaucrats and the imperial system and so it was in a position to act on society in the same fashion as Protestantism did in Europe. Writes de Bary, In this respect Confucianism -not a teaching regarded as "religious" -performed the critical function Max Weber assigned to religion as the effective bearer of compelling, transcendental values in the vital tension with the world, while Buddhism and Taoism, normalll considered "religions," rarely did so.2 111

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The case of Lu Liuliang proves that in the Qing dynasty "the essential tension between ideal.and reality was sustained," and, at least in the realm of ideas, there remained the possibility of a radical critique of the established order being generated from within the tradition, drawing on the same concepts, transcendent values and propheticutterance as in the past.27 De Bary does interpret many Neo-confucians, such as Lu Liuliang and Huang zongxi, but particularly Zhu Xi, to serve in the capacity as "prophet" in that they "questioned received tradition in the form of Han and Tang Confucian scholarship, and judged severely the politics of the late imperial dynasties in China." These Nee-Confucian prophets claimed a direct access to knowledge of the Way as principles inherent in the human mind. And yet, there is here also a sense of continuity as de Bary describes the classical Confucian voice as "the direct perception and inspired utterances of truths concerning the course of human events and the dire consequences of flouting the moral order decreed by Heaven.1128 Here, as in much of the literature on Confucianism, "Tian," translated as Heaven, with all of 112

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its attendant images, has a central place. In de Bary's scheme the ideal of Confucian learning was order, and, This ideal may not be unique to the Chinese, but it is certainly a Utopian vision in keeping with the Chinese appetite for life and, in the later political life of China, with a recurring faith that Heaven, in the sense of a rational moral order, can be embodied in the social order -in other words, that man can achieve Heaven-on-Earth.2 9 De Bary's work encompasses a wide variety of ideas and viewpoints. His contribution to the scholarship of Sinology has been unexcelled. Yet many of the conclusions he has reached have recently been the subject of mounting criticism. His efforts to give a sense of meaning to a chapter of Chinese history has opened up new vistas for future scholars to explore, but the search for understanding has come at a price. In order to translate what he calls the Nee-Confucian tradition, de Bary has created a monolith which, while acknowledging change, has also encapsulated his subject in the rubric of his own creation. In seeking to demonstrate his belief that liberal values reside within the Nee-Confucian tradition de Bary has created an orthodoxy as broad or exclusive as needed 113

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to make his point. For instance when using the term NeeConfucian, he defines it as embracing all the tendencies within the Confucian tradition from the Song period through the nineteenth century, whereas his use of the term Nee-Confucian Orthodoxy refers primarily to the Cheng-Zhu school. To argue for views of individualism or liberalism within Nee-Confucianism the broadest definition is necessary to encompass those thinkers who are not considered to be in the Cheng-Zhu School. For evidence of continuity within the perimeters of the tradition, de Bary almost exclusively uses Zhu Xi to define it. The use of certain terms, such as Confucianism, to describe aspects of Chinese history presents its own set of problems. In a recent debate with Professor de Bary regarding this issue, Hoyt Tillman has questioned the usage of these terms, due in large part to the great variation among philosophers and their positions. Tillman would favor the use of historical terms that are more specific about various groups. He is especially concerned with the use of the term daoxue, which refers to a particular group of thinkers during the twelfth century. In many works it is being used in the same manner as Nee-Confucianism the entire 114

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period of Chinese thought from the Song to the Qing. The term lixue has also become almost synonymous with daoxue when referring to either Nee-Confucianism or NeeConfucian orthodoxy. Tillman is interested in establishing daoxue as a term referring to a specific group what he calls a "fellowship."He defines it as a group of Confucians which had a "network of social relations and a sense of community with a shared tradition that was distinct from other Confucians of their era." This narrowing of terminology would contribute considerably to a deeper understanding of the depth of Chinese thought. All too often Nee-Confucianism refers to the line of thought from the Zheng brothers to Zhu Xi. Though de Bary discusses thinkers outside of the narrow definition of Dao Xue, he and many others continue to focus on Zhu Xi's discourse. Tillman suggests a number of solutions. One would be to incorporate Zhu Xi's contemporaries into the discussion instead of placing him in an intellectual vacuum. Many of these thinkers could be included in the dao xue fellowship, however they would be presenting alternative views to Zhu Xi. When looking at Zhu Xi specifically he should be viewed as responding in many ways to issues of his own day.,. and in conjunction with 115

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this, the entire context of the times should be taken into consideration. Besides the philosophical ideas usually presented these thinkers had, according to Tillman, social, political and textual considerations.30 Indeed, the term daoxue itself has had various meanings within the context of Chinese history. According to James T.C. Liu31 the group associated with Zhu Xi claimed to be true to the transmission and succession of the Dao as laid down by Kongzi. Their strict adherence to rites and distinct manner of dress and behavior led to their being labeled by their contemporaries, in derogatory fashion, daoxue, meaning indulgence in empty talk about the Dao, or weixue, "false learning." The term daoxue only later was appropriated as the standard name of the Cheng-Zhu school. As each generation of historians reinterprets the past, so to has the intellectual history of "Nee Confucianism" become the subject of revisionism. A number of recent works have undermined the concept of a continuous Confucian tradition as supporting pillar of Chinese culture. Benjamin Elman's From Philosophy to Philology,32 presents a history of a distinctive break from the "orthodox" confucian.tradition in late imperial 116

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China. Elman describes the evidential research movement, or kaozheng xue, as a peripheral, scholarly revolution in thought. He says, The formation of a shared epistimological perspective in 17th and 18th century China reveals dramatic changes in the uses and meanings of language. As conceptual events, the gradual articulation of the parameters of empirical philological discourse represented a fundamental pattern of intellectual change, which in turn led to an even more fundamental alteration of traditional concepts and attitudes. The previous norms of acceptable knowledge were decisively challenged.33 This interpretation, though still within the "Confucian" stance, presents an aspect of distinct change within what has been a continuous tradition of Nee-Confucianism. Peter Bel's recent work on the intellectual changes which occurred in late Tang and early Song China creates further cracks in the wall of "Confucian China" for he studies the same medieval cultural elite from which de Bary draws his image of Nee-Confucianism. Bol focuses on the intellectual life of the small, elite group known as the shi. Those called shi, shiren, or shidafu, dominated Chinese politics and society. Their identiy changed from .. 117

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an aristocratic elite to that which made up the civil bureaucracy and local family elites. According to Bel the "use of 'Confucian' and 'Confucianism' as general terms for the Chinese political elite and their values" obscured distinctions among the elite and over time.34 All shi were not Confucians, nor all shi-learning Confucian. Furthermore, the influence of other aspects of Chinese thought Buddhism and Daoism -have yet to be considered on terms equal to those labeled Confucian. De Bary's Confucian continuum will soon .give way to a more complex and intricate picture of Chinese intellectual history one which encompases a variety of ideas within the context of the historical time and place. However, the ideas of Confucianism and their relevance to the thought and material development of contemporary China still dominate much of the discourse. The school of thought which has interpreted China through Confucianism remains an important paradigm. As the Chinese "Revolution" continues to be played out, there will be competition for the mind of China and the Chinese. Many intellectuals, both in the west and in Asia consider it their obligation to contribute to the discourse. One of the most and prolific to 118

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do so is Professor Tu Wei-ming. His writings not only emphasize the centrality of the Confucian tradition within Chinese thought and culture in the past and the present but, also for China's future and the future of all of humanity. Tu Wei-ming And "New Confucianism". Tu Wei-ming has become one of the foremost exponents of Confucianism as a vital philosophy of life and as a relevant tradition for China, the Chinese people, and humanity as a whole. A scholar of Chinese intellectual history, Tu has within the last decade moved from providing a historical picture of the Confucian tradition to providing a blueprint for the revival of the Confucian tradition today. Less concerned with detailing the compatibility of the Confucian tradition to western standards, Tu is intent on emphasizing the unique, indigenous aspects of the Confucian tradition. However his goal is a familiar one; to provide an intellectual and moral basis for the modernization of China and those areas of East Asia with Chinese culture and people. As an intellectual, and as a Chinese one at that, Tu sees himself as a modern equivalent of the Chinese "literati." It was then and is now the "responsibility 119

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of the intelligentsia to effect fundamental changes in society.1135 Tu is primarily concerned with "China's modern fate" and would like to see two themes in particular exert greater influence on the future of "cultural China," -those areas of the world in which people participate fully in the economic, political and social life ofa Chinese community. These themes are "Confucian Humanism" and "democratic liberalism." For Tu, China is at an ideological crossroads, and its intellectuals must re-evaluate their situation, To release and cultivate the vital energy for self-transformation, the Chinese intellectuals need to tap the resources of both their own tradition and that of the West.36 Tu's mission is to facilitate the revival of Confucian Humanism -which sees humanity as the ultimate value of human existence -by first providing an understanding of it historically, and then presenting it as an alternative to socialism or complete westernization. It is an attempt to formulate a new Asian construct which will establish a humanistic common creed and common ground in our pluralistic "global village." Tu is engaged in a search for roots, or xungen 120

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yishi, through the revival of a spiritual Confucian tradition, that although critical of.the modernizing process,_ as it affects traditional China, is firmly committed to science, democracy and economic development. 37 For Tu the 11Confucian.tradition needs to be studied for its own sake as a necessary precondition to any critical reappraisal of its modern significance.1138 Responding in many ways to the work of Joseph Levenson, Tu is also arguing for an alternative "fate" for China. As he says, I do not think that the fate of Confucianism has been sealed. On the contrary, there are authentic possibilities for the reemergence of Confucian thought as a predominant intellectual force in China.3 9 Indeed, Tu feels that Confucian spiritual values in art, literature, history and philosophy will again assert a shaping influence on creative minds throughout China. This Tu has labeled the "Third Epoch of Confucian Humanism. 1140 Following the trend to reinterpret Confucianism as a more spiritual and less politicized tradition, Tu, 121

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also, is fashioning a "new Confucianism" to suit the needs of the present. Tu, reiterating the views of Thomas Metzger and his refutation of Weber, finds his assertion that Confucian ethics is transformative well founded.41 Tu acknowledges the recent efforts to investigate the Nee-Confucian tradition, especially as pursued by wm.Theodore deBary, which would not have been possible without the influence of "contemporary exemplars of the Confucian heritage," such as the late Wing Tsit-chan of the u.s., T'ang Chun-i of Hong Kong, and Okada Takehito of Japan, who, he says, by their exemplary teaching, inspired a whole generation of American scholars to undertake the difficult task of understanding and interpreting Confucian "codes" in terms of western conceptual apparatuses.n42 This faith in the relevance of the "Confucian Project," -what Tu has labeled Confucianism-to the concerns of our times and to the "emerging political culture in the People's Republic of China" makes the industrial success of East Asia all the more relevant to the possible reemergence of Confucianism. Tu has endorsed the idea that Confucian ethics has a 122

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relationship to the East Asian entrepreneurial spirit. He writes, The Confucian concern for personal well-being, family harmony, social. so-lidarity, pol.itical stability, and universa:l peace has become a defining characteristic of the East Asian view of the good life. Its preference for qroup orientation collaborative. effort, mutual support and communicative rationality has greatly influenced the East Asd:an work ethic. 43 Tu argues that these Confucian ethics have remained ingrained in Chinese culture, especially within the family, yet it its still necessary for intellectuals like himself to explain and teach these same Confucian ethics. Indeed, Tu was instrumental in assisting Singapore establish its nmoral" -Confucian -education curriculum in the 1980s,{having been invited by Lee Kuan Yew) despite the claim that Confucian values have remained within Chinese Clllture. In calling for a New Confucianism, Tu does not advocate a.revival of the past, but rather his Third Epoch would be a new synthesis .... He writes that: Reanimating the old to attain the new is surely still possible iin confucian symbolism but to do so the modern: Confucian must aqain 123

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be original and creative, no matter how difficult the task and how strenuous the effort.44 Concerned with preserving Chinese culture as defined by Confucius -siwen, 11this culture11 -Tu must also argue for the continuity of the tradition through time. He maintains that the perceived break in the Confucian tradition prior to the Tang and early Song is exaggerated. Despite the dissolution of the Confucian system, 11Confucian norms" -lineage organizations, clan cooperatives and family rules -all in Confucian terms, played an important role in society. This Confucian culture underground is an important distinction for it is also used to describe how Confucian values have carried on in the present. What has come to be known as Nee-Confucianism was, according to Tu, a broadening of the "Confucian project." Coupled with the rise of Buddhism, the quest for a holistic vision grounded in Confucian spirituality led to a redefinition of the Confucian tradition. The Confucians took advantage of the symbolic resources in other ethico-religious traditions without losing their own spiritual direction. And from this the teachings of Nee-Confucianism spread throughout East Asia. "Prior to 124

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the impact of the West," according to Tu, "East Asian polity, society and to a qreat extent psychology were shaped by Confucian values. The language and, indeed, the grammar of action of the East Asian people was distinctly Confucian.1145 Today the challenge for Chinese intellectuals in the west is how a revived "Confucian Humanism" might answer questions that science and democracy have raised. For Tu Wei-ming the challenge is "the formulation of a Confucian approach to the perennial human problems of the world; the creation of a new philosophical anthropology, a common creed, for humanity as a whole.1146 "Confucian Humanism" in the Third Epoch will be universal but must not weaken its roots in East Asian culture. The evocation of Confucianism as a world philosophy by Tu is an evolving process, but aspects of it can be seen in his various writings. In many ways Tu follows the path of the sage, Konqzi, by performing as a transmitter and as an interpreter of the cultural tradition as he sees it. But just like the disingenuous Konqzi, he is as much a creator as transmitter, which is particularly obvious when he must put this Confucianism in terms comprehensible to those outside the Chinese 125

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cultural arena by presenting it as a philosophy of life. Ultimately it is a matter of Confucian selfhood as creative transformation. It is a personal quest based on a reciprocal relationship to the social community and ultimately to the entire manifestation of reality in what Tu refers to as the 11Fiduciary Community," where, like minded people, motivated by a sense of participation and bound by a sense of duty, become an integrated part of an "organic solidarity" in and through which they realize themselves as fully matured human beings.47 Tu sees the capacity for self-transformation, accomplished through self-cultivation as a universal of humanity. It is not a selfish endeavor rather it views self as a dynamic, holistic and open system which is part of the community as a whole in much the same way as Professor de Bary has explained in historical Neo-Confcianism. According to the Confucian dictum, "Learning for the sake of the self" Tu's definition of the Confucian project is learning to be human. As he says, Indeed, the Confucian vision of "forming one body with Heaven and Earth and. the myriad things" is 126

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anthropocosmic in the sense that the complete realization of the self, which tantamount to the full actualization of humanity, entails the unity of humankind with Heaven.48 Thus self-realization is but the first step in forming a cosmic bond, a transformation akin to that realized in the West which inaugurated capitalism. For Tu "the significance of the Confucian project of learning to be human, in a comparative religious perspective, lies in its insight into the creative tension between our earthly embeddedness and our great potential for self-transcendence." However rather than forming a "mobilization of resources for the purpose of mastering the world," as the protestant, capitalist west has done it, Tu explains that, "Confucian ethics is now recognized as a strength.for forging social solidarity." Society is paramount to the self and "the Confucian recommendation for harmonizing society appears to be a reasonable corrective to the rampant individualism seen in the West. 1149 Critical to an analysis of the thought of Tu Weiming, or that of Wm. Theodore de Bary, and the many others who interpret "foreign" texts, on behalf of their various "Confucianisms," is to question the translation of the text. In the case of Chinese history the problem 127

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is twofold: there is the individual's interpretation of the author's meaning and the interpretation of the Chinese language into English. As thorny as de Bary's explaination of "individualism," is Tu's argument on the concept of 11self,11 for terms such as "self-realization, self-cultivation and self-knowledge," all refer to different aspects concerning the individual, yet each needs further native contexual explanation. Indeed, the entire collection of essays in Tu's Confucian Thought, is devoted to answering this question. Yet such interpretation and translation remain barriers to our understanding.50 We must keep in mind such problems of translation as we delve into the question of the Confucian construct and its relation to East Asian development. Tu Wei-ming believes that there is an "intellectual effervescence" occurring in East Asia which is revitalizing the society with indigenous characteristics. This dynamic region has, according to Tu, developed a non-western, non-protestant, less adversarial, less litigious and less individualistic and equally competitive market economy suggests that "modernization" based on a Confucian heritage has assumed a distinctive form. With ethnic homogeneity, 128

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family stability, national commitment to education, respect for authority, industrial East Asia has, in Tu's opinion, avoided the problems of racial tension, drugs, crime, lack of child care, and deterioration of education so prevalent in the U.S.51 It has been due to the influence of "peripheral China" -that part ofcultural China outside of the mainlandwhich has provided the impetus for change and renewal. According to Tu, If Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Chinese communities through-out the world have shown not only the relevance of Confucian ethics to their modus operandi but also the dynamics of the Confucian tradition in shaping their forms of life, then the existential predicament of the mainland intellectual caught between a contemptable past and a brutal present is not indissoluble.5 2 For Tu, as for de Bary, Confucianism and Confucian thought has provided not only the key to understanding China but also the hope for China's future. In attempting to come to a greater understanding of China it is necessary to have a greater understanding of how these historians have interpreted it themselves. Apparently much of their interpretation bas been framed by their understanding of tha sociology of Max Weber. 129

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by their understanding of the sociology of Max Weber. They seek to use his methodology of value orientation to explain China through Confucianism, but at the same time wish to refute his analysis of China. From this problematic stance they further distort our understanding by using western concepts of self, heaven and liberal democracy. In their attempt to preserve cultural China they make it more like us, in much the same fashion as interpreters of East Asian economic .. development do. 130

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Notes 1. Wm. Theodore de Bary, The Unfolding of NeeConfucianism, New York: Columbia University Press, 1975, p. 2. 2. Jonathan Spence, China Roundabout, New York: w.w. Norton & Co., 1992. p. 134. 3. See the review of de Bary's The Liberal Tradition in China, by Paul Cohen in Philosophy East & West, Vol.xxxv, No. 3 (July, 1985}, Pp. 305-310. Also de Bary's response and Chohen's response in Philosophy East & West, vol. xxxv, No. 4 (October,1985}, pp. 399-417. 4. Wm. Theodore de Bary, Learning for One's Self: Essays on the Individual in Nee-Confucian Thought, New York: Columbia University Press, 1991, p. xii. 5. See introduction and the discussion of the Manifesto above. 6. de Bary, The Unfolding of Nee-Confucianism, pp. 1-3. 7. Ibid., pp. 7-8. 8. Wm. Theodore de Bary, Reo-Confucian Orthodoxy and the Learning of the Heart And Mind, New York: Columbia University Press, 1981, and The Message of the Mind in Nee-Confucianism, New York: Columbia University Press, New York, 1989, p. xii. 9. de Bary, The Message of the Mind, pp. 1-2. 10. Ibid., p. 3. 11. Ibid., pp. 8-9. 12. Wm. Theodore de Bary, The Liberal Tradition in China, Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 1983. 131

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13. Wm. Theodore de Bary, "Confucian Liberalism and Western Parochialism: A Response to Paul A. Cohen,11 in Philosophy East and West, Vol. xxxv, No.4, (October, 1985). 14. Ibid.,pp. 408-409. 15. de Bary, The Liberal Tradition in China, p.20. 16. de Bary, Learning for One's Self. 17. Wm. Theodore deBary, "Human Rites: An Essay on Confucianism and Human Rights," Irene Eber, ed., Confucianism: The Dynamics of Tradition, New York: Macmillan Publishing co., 1986. 18. de Bary, Learning for One's Self, p. 2. This first essay is part of one by deBary, 11Individualism.and Humanitarianism in Late Ming Thought" originally published in a work de Bary edited, Self and Society in Ming Thought, New York: Columbia University Press, 1970. 19. Ibid. I pp. 3-4. 20. Ibid., pp. 4. 21. Ibid. I p. 5. 22. Ibid., pp. 8-9. 23. Wm. Theodore de Bary, Waiting for the Dawn: A Plan for the Prince: a study and translation of Huang Tsunghsi's Ming-i tai-fang-lu, New York: Columbia University Press, 1993. 24. de Bary, The Liberal Tradition, pp. 82-90. 25. Wm. Theodore de Bary, The Trouble with Confucianism, Cambridge, MA.:Harvard University Press, 1991. 26. Ibid., p. 58. 21. Ibid., p. 59. See Chapter 4, "Autocracy and the Prophetic Message in Orthodox Nee-Confucianism," pp. 57-72. 132

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28. Ibid., pp. 9-11. 29. Wm. Theodore deBary, East Asian'civilizations: A Dialogue in Five Stages, Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 1988, p. 13. 30. Hoyt Cleveland Tillman, "A New Direction in Confucian Scholarship," in Philosophy East & West, Vol. 42, No. 3, (July, 1992), pp. 455-474. Also see his Confucian Discourse and Chu Hsi's Ascendancy, Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1992. 31. James "How Did a Nee-Confucian School Become the State Orthodoxy?" in Philosophy East & West, Vol. 23, No. 4 (1973). 32. Elman, From Philosophy to Philology. 33. Ibid., pp. xx-xi. 34. Peter Kees Bel, "This Culture of ours11: Intellectual Transitions in Tang and Sung China, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992, p. 15. 35. Tu Wei-ming, 11Iconoclasm, Holistic Vision and Patient Watchfulness: A Personal Reflection on the Modern Chinese Intellectual Quest," in Daedalus, Vol. 116, No.2 (Spring, 1987), p. 78. 36. Ibid., p. 93. 37. Tu Wei-ming, "The Search for Roots in Industrial East Asia: The Case of the Confucian Revival,11 in Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby, eds., Fundamentalisms Observed, Chicago: The University of. Chicago Press, 1992, pp. 745-46. 38. Tu, 11Iconoclasm,11 p. 92. 39. Tu Wei-ming, Humanity and Self-Cultivation: Essays in Confucian Thought, Berkeley: Asian Humanities.Press, 1979, Introduction, p. xviii. 40. Tu Wei-ming, "Towards a Third Epoch of Confucian Humanism," in Irene Eber, ed., Confucianism: The Dynamics of Tradition, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1986, Also reprinted in Tu Wei-ming, .. 133

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Learning. and Politics: Essays on the Confucian Intellectual, Albany, NY.: State University of New York Press, 1993. 41. Ibid., pp. 5-6. 42. Ibid., p. 6. 43. Tu, "The Search for Roots," p. 743. 44. Tu, "Towards a Third Epoch," p. 8. 45. Ibid., pp .. -13. 46. Ibid., p. 20. 47. Tu Wei-ming, "The Sunq Confucian Idea of Education: A Background Understanding," in Wm. Theodore deBary, and John w. Chaffee, eds., Nee-Confucian Education: The Formative Stage, Berekeley: University of California Press, p. 143. 48. Tu Wei-ming, Confucian Thought: Selfhood as Creative Transformation, Albany, NY.: State University of New York, 1986. Introduction, p. 10. 49. Ibid., p. 10. 50. For a closer look at this question see, Clifford Geertz, "Commentary on Professor Tu's Article," (11The'Moral Universal'From the Perspective of East Asian Thought"), in Philosophy East & West, Vol. XXXI, No.3 (July, 1981); For a discussion of the problems of translation, see Lydia H Liu, "Translingual Practice: The Discourse of Individualism Between China and the West," in positions: east asia cultures critiaue, Vol.I, No.1 (Spring, 1993), pp. 160193. 51. Tu Wei-ming, "Intellectual Effervescence in China," in Daedalus, Vol. 121, No.2 (Spring, 1992), p. 281. 52. Tu Wei-ming, "Cultural China: The Periphery as the Center, 11 in Daedalus, The Living Tree: The Changing Meaning of Being Chinese Today, Vol.120, No.2 (Spring, 1991) 134

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CHAPTER FJ:VE CONCLOSJ:ON Defining China and East Asia by means of Postmodern Confucianism has become, in the latter part of the twentieth century, an integral aspect of the discourse on this region. This Postmodern which seeks to explain economic development and social solidarity,_ is a contemporary manifestation of the historical Confucian tradition. Constructed centuries ago as a means of making sense of China for a European community, forming the basis for further ideas concerning Asian culture, Confucianism has remained a vibrant symbol for us. Held within it, many believe, are the values of family, morality, self-discipline and hard work, values very similar to those considered scarce in late twentieth century America. As confucianism has been proclaimed the central ethos of the newly industrialized East Asia, it has been come to define the values of all of East Asian culture -selflessness, respect for authority, education and qroup allegiance -held to be necessary for successful industrialization and "modernization." Values which have 135

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seemingly always been present in Asian culture, but which had to await the advent of thewest to allow them to play a part in facilitating the "modernization" of East Asia. Based on a model of the social development of Europe devised by Max Weber, the influence of an ethical value system has become crucial for many to explain East Asian economic development. Weber's sociology of religion has inspired others to find within the Co.nfucian "religion" critical features such as rationalization, divine authority, prophets, breakthroughs, and transformative tension. In this effort to plug-in Confucianism to Weber's model we have selected those material factors which we believe were also critical to our development. To explain the modernization of East Asia we have searched for those aspects most similar to ourselves. Even after Weber concluded that China was indeed sufficiently different so as not to develop the same as Europe, interpreters of East Asian development have insisted that his model was correct but his conclusions were not. As our construct of Confucianism appears to have again become the bearer of central values of China, playing the same role as Protestantism did in Europe, it 136

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has eclipsed other traditions of China and East Asia such as Daoism, Buddhism, and the myriad of folk traditions which have been relegated to heterodoxy. Though it may be understandable why the Jesuit missionaries chose to utilize Confucianism as a bridge to China, and for Weber to do the same, we must question the viability .of this bridqe. The current effort to preserve aspects of traditional culture in the face of rapid development may seem to be necessary and aven noble, but who is to say which aspects are defining and which are not? As Susan Greenhalgh has remarked the Confucian discourse on industrial Asia seeks a "postcolonial" selfassertiveness while at the same time reinforcing an 110rientalist11 view which "constructs Chinese culture as a set of timeless 'Oriental' essences.111 This Confucian definition of China and East Asia rests on layers of assumptions as has been shown in the text above. Recognizing this is crucial to our understanding of Asian culture and history, and this thesis is a reflection of just such a recognition.It can itself be seen as part of an emerging paradigm viewing Asian history from a different angle. It is another 137

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revision and certainly one itself based on unrecognized assumptions. However, questioning the received knowledge of an earlier generation is an integral part of the historian's craft, for each generation, as well as each individual, brings to their_interpretations a variety of experiences and ideas. This variety has led to a plethora of postures on how to view history, so much so that all historical knowledge seems uncertain. To me .. this apparent uncertainty has been a source of much soul searching as to the very relevance of historical scholarship. And yet, though the sheer number of historical interpretations may offer little chance of any new grand narrative histories, with their reasonable explanations of cause and effect, the opportunity to explore new avenues becomes all the more possible. Rather than a cause for concern and pessimism, there are new challenges and opportunities. This is especially true in regard to Asian history where all too often this rich and diverse landscape has been reduced to a symbol of the lowest common denominator in order to present the equivalent of simple sound bites of explanation. Many have been searching for the simple key, the "Clavis Sinica," to unlock the "mysteries of the East"

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for generations; looking for that one symbol through which we could understand and comprehend this other. Questioning such received knowledge, such as our Confucian construct, as well as the designation and "west," presents fewer simple answers but more opportunity for exploration and the broadening of our horizon of understanding. Though there is less certainty, there is also better understanding of our interpretive positions, recognition of which allows for a greater freedom to make that intuitive leap through time, to speculate upon the actions of our fellow. beings, to stand upon native ground, though based upon a fragmentary record and our own life experiences. Our work reflecting the past as well as the present. As we are all engaged in a search for explanation, a mutual understanding will develop from an acknowledgement of the native view as well as our own constructions. It is time to set aside the key symbols, and the search for the key itself, and proceed to new knowledges upon paths not entirely of our own making. 139

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Notes 1. Greenhalgh, "de-orientalizing the Chinese family firm," p. 747. 140

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