Human Dignity in Classical Chinese Philosophy
This book reinterprets classical Chinese philosophical tradition along the conceptual line of human dignity. Through extensive textual evidence, it illustrates that classical Confucianism, Mohism and Daoism contained rich notions of dignity, which laid the foundation for human rights and political liberty in China, even though, historically, liberal democracy failed to grow out of the authoritarian soil in China. The book critically examines the causes that might have prevented the classical schools from developing a liberal tradition, while affirming their positive contributions to the human dignity concept. Analysing the inadequacies of the western concept of human dignity, the text covers relevant teachings of Kongzi, Mengzi, Xunzi, Mozi, Laozi and Zhuangzi (in comparison with Rousseau). While the Confucian notions of humanity (Ren), righteousness (Yi), and gentleman (Junzi) bear most directly on the conception of dignity, Mohism and Daoism provide salutary corrections to the ossification of the orthodox Confucian practice (Li).