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Kant’s Better Man and the Confucian Junzi

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This essay attempts to compare Kant’s better man and the Confucian junzi in the Zhongyong, and argues that Kant’s idea of the better man, which expresses human self-improvement in ultimate freedom, is in fact a conception very similar to that of the Confucian junzi, which denotes an ideal human being in cheng. Kant attributes the lack of emphasis on self-improvement in Western culture to the Christian conception of grace, and demonstrates the possibility of self-improvement on the ground of ultimate freedom. We may call this treatment “the Confucian solution” in Kant’s thought. My intention is to explicate the conceptual commonality between the better man and the junzi and demonstrate the Confucian element in Kant’s religious thought.

10.3868/s030-001-012-0029-8
/content/journals/10.3868/s030-001-012-0029-8
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/content/journals/10.3868/s030-001-012-0029-8
2012-01-01
2016-12-08

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