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Individual Identification And The Realm Of Moral Character

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Chapter Summary

Ever since Chinese people have begun to adopt Western divisions of knowledge, they have tried to reclassify "classics, histories, masters, and anthologies", four categories from the traditional Chinese "order of things", into the imported disciplines of "literature, history, and philosophy". From this arose a kind of "philosophy" based on modern Western individualism, focused on the creation of knowledge, and functioning as a special academic branch governing ideology. This philosophy wholly superseded the former model of classical learning, which had relied on repeated recitation for propagation and functioned as a kind of cultural self-replication. Consequently, specialized study of ancient ideology monopolized by a few professional elite has replaced the normal instruction on Confucian civilization that had been used by the general public in all of their daily interactions. In the author's opinion, this is the most significant and latent great change that has occurred in modern China.

Keywords: China; Confucian civilization; Western individualism



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