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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


On Liang Su-Ming’s Theory of Confucianism’s Coming Ascendance

Vol. 23 No. 1   6/1993   


On Liang Su-Ming’s Theory of Confucianism’s Coming Ascendance 


Rur-Bin Yang









Key words



    Liang Su-Ming is one of the main figures of contemporary Neo-Confucianism.In his early writings, he dischronically dividend the cultures into three kinds of patterns: Western, Indian and Chinese culture. These three cultures are parallel simultaneously, and their characteristic formations are projected by the human mind,that is, by three kinds of intentionalities: forward, backward and onward. Furthermore, Western culture as the paradigm of forward intentionality is the incarnation of intellect. Indian culture with its backward intentionality represents mystic intuition. Chinese culture with its onward intentionality represents sympathetic intuition. Because intuition is higher than intellect in the hierarchy of values, and intuition is more progressive than intellect in the evolution of the mind, Chinese culture accordingly is much more valuable than Western culture. Even though Chinese culture has been frustrated in the age of capitalism, history will still move to its ideal end, Chinese culture will revive when socialism replaces the status of capitalism in the near future. In Liang’s late writings, he still held belief that Confucianism will soon be broadly accepted, and he still put his belief in the basis of his philosophy of culture. He held that there are three stages of historical development. One is the age of body over mind; Western culture belongs to this stage. The other is the age of mind over body, Chinese culture belongs to it. The third is the age of the mind’s absolute autonomy. Because history is progressive, consequently, Chinese culture (Confucianism is the presensertative) shall have her day because humanitistic socialism shall triumph soon.

    This article traces Liang’s consciousness of the problem to his crisis in adolescence. Liang confronted two conflicting problems the meaning of life and the problems of Culture & Society. He tried to commit suicide twice to escape the pain he suffered by taking the conflict too seriously. Only by the help of Buddhism first, and of Confucianism second, was he able to resolve this problem. He reduced the problem of culture and society to one of will, therefore, two kinds of problems converged into one. This article, at last, reflects upon the premises of Liang’s thoughts, and points to some problems implicit in his explanation of Cofucianism’s fate. 



Author: Rur-Bin Yang
Genre: Article
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