In this article, I offer a provisional analysis of the philosophical semantics of “wisdom” in the thought of the New Confucian thinker Tang Junyi. I begin by providing some pointers concerning the concept of wisdom in general and situating the discourse on wisdom in comparative philosophy in the context of the later Foucault’s and Pierre Hadot’s historical investigations into ancient Graeco-Roman philosophy as a mode of spiritual self-cultivation and self-transformation. In the remainder of the paper, I try to describe and think through what Foucault identifies as a “Cartesian moment,” in which self-knowledge becomes the ultimate precondition for the ethico-spiritual project of “caring for the self,” in Tang’s approach of wisdom. In the course of my argument, I outline the complex relation between his vision of a renewed Confucian mode of religious practice on the one hand and his philosophical presuppositions concerning the transcendental status of subjectivity and the reflexivity of consciousness on the other.
Subjectivity and Social Structure in New Confucian Philosophy
Ady Van den Stock
The Horizon of Modernity provides an extensive account of New Confucian philosophy that cuts through the boundaries between history and thought. This study explores Mou Zongsan's and Tang Junyi's critical confrontation with Marxism and Communism in relation to their engagement with Western thinkers such as Kant and Hegel. The author analyzes central conceptual aporias in the works of Mou, Tang, as well as Xiong Shili in the context of the revival of Confucianism in contemporary China and the emergence of the discipline of philosophy in twentieth-century Chinese intellectual history. This book casts new light on the nexus between the categories of subjectivity and social structure and the relation between philosophy, modern temporality, and the structural conditions of the modern world.