Confucianism and the Aesthetics of Becoming Consummately Human

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Confucianism and the Aesthetics of Becoming Consummately Human


Wednesday Nov 30 04:00 PM


Doris Duke Theatre

About the Lecture:

Confucian philosophy is an aestheticism. What does this mean? In the traditional Confucian project outlined in the Four Books, the highest achievement to which the literati ought to aspire lies not in the paintings, the poems, or the calligraphy that have a life independent of these artists themselves, but rather in an achieved virtuosity in feeling and conduct that is expressed through, and can be discerned in, the totality of the effect that such art works exhibit. We might say that such art works are to be read as “the outside of an inside”—a tangible account of the lived artistry of the artists themselves achieved through an ongoing regimen of personal cultivation and refinement. 

Roger T. Ames is Professor of Philosophy and editor of Philosophy East & West. His publications include translations of Chinese classics: Sun-tzu: The Art of Warfare (1993); Sun Pin: The Art of Warfare (1996) and Tracing Dao to its Source (1997) (both with D.C. Lau); the Confucian Analects (1998) and the Classic of Family Reverence: A Philosophical Translation of the Xiaojing (forthcoming) (both with H. Rosemont), Focusing the Familiar: A Translation and Philosophical Interpretation of the Zhongyong, and A Philosophical Translation of the Daodejing: Making This Life Significant (with D.L. Hall) (2001). He has most recently been engaged in compiling the new Blackwell Sourcebook of Chinese Philosophy, and in writing articles promoting a conversation between American pragmatism and Confucianism.

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