Some Reflections on Confucian Aesthetics and its Feminist Modalities

By Eva K.W. Man.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

It is claimed that the important reasons why Confucianism has such a profound influence on Chinese society and culture are that the central principles of Confucianism preserve traditional Chinese family values, which conformed to the core of the patriarchal religion.
This model, while being practiced at the social level, has reinforced strong domination and suppression. However, contemporary and open reading of the philosophical perspectives of Confucianism suggest ideals which could have led to practices very different from those of the patriarchal paradigm carried out in social relations. The reading of Confucian aesthetics, in particular, suggests a harmonious world view which is different from the dualistic and dichotomous model in traditional Western thoughts that feminist scholars critize.

This investigation will check out useful resources or references built upon Confucian aesthetics for feminist aestheticians who are looking for aesthetics models other than the traditional Western ones. The discussion will first identify the feminist critiques of the Western traditional aesthetics using the Kantian aesthetics as a representing case. It will then sort out the basic principles of new aesthetics agenda. It will explore some key concepts in Confucian aesthetics and the valuable ideas within. Finally, a careful comparative study at the philosophical level will be conducted to point out the restrictions or limitations for the cross references.

Keywords: Confucian Aesthetics, Feminist Criticism, Western Traditional Aesthetics

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.169-180. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 623.354KB).

Prof. Eva K.W. Man

Professor, Humanities Programme, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Dr. Eva Man is a professor of the Humanities Programme and the Department of Religion and Philosophy of the Hong Kong Baptist University. She obtained her bachelor and master degree in Philosophy, and a doctoral degree in Chinese Studies (Aesthetics) from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research areas include comparative aesthetics, comparative philosophy, woman studies, feminist philosophy, cultural studies, gender studies, and art and culture. Dr. Man is an active member in various public services and she is, at present, the Vice Chair of the Visual Art Committee of the Hong Kong Art Development Council.

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