© 2019

Harmonism as an Alternative


  • Considers one of the most fundamental Chinese cultural ideals, harmony (hé/?)

  • Delineates the rationale of the Chinese philosophy of harmony and its implications for and impacts on modern social practices worldwide

  • Addresses the inevitable tension between the theory and practice of Harmony


Part of the Key Concepts in Chinese Thought and Culture book series (KCCTC)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Keping Wang
    Pages 1-11
  3. Keping Wang
    Pages 13-20
  4. Keping Wang
    Pages 21-26
  5. Keping Wang
    Pages 27-30
  6. Keping Wang
    Pages 31-35
  7. Keping Wang
    Pages 37-40
  8. Keping Wang
    Pages 41-45
  9. Keping Wang
    Pages 47-50
  10. Keping Wang
    Pages 51-60
  11. Keping Wang
    Pages 61-70
  12. Keping Wang
    Pages 71-84
  13. Keping Wang
    Pages 85-94
  14. Keping Wang
    Pages 95-117
  15. Keping Wang
    Pages 119-134
  16. Back Matter
    Pages 135-148

About this book


This Key Concepts pivot considers the fundamental Chinese cultural ideal of harmony (hé/和). Historically originating from Confucianism, the concept of harmony sits at the heart of Chinese traditional culture, which is characteristically morality-based and harmony-conscious due to the central role of pragmatic reason and wisdom nurtured through Confucianism, Daoism, Mohism, Legalism and other schools of thought.  This pivot delineates the rationale of the Chinese philosophy of harmony and its implications for modern social practices worldwide. It notably reexamines the relevance of hé beyond the realm of philosophy, and how this concept can impact on modern day human relations, amongst individuals and families as well as on a wider societal scale. It explores how hé can affect perspectives on political interaction, international relations and human conflict, as well as the interaction between man and nature. Addressing the inevitable tension between theory and practice, this book argues for the very real relevance of hé in 21st century cultural, social, political and economic spheres in China and beyond.


Harmonism and Chinese Culture Chinese Philosophy of Harmony Fundamental Chinese Cultural Ideals Cosmic Order Generative Power Chinese Traditional Culture Implication of Chinese Philosophy for Western World Reciprocal Ecumenism Vicarious Feeling Personal Cultivation

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Chinese Academy of Social SciencesBeijingChina

About the authors

Keping Wang is a Fellow of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) where he was head of Aesthetics Section of CASS Institute of Philosophy from 2005 to 2016, philosophy professor of CASS Graduate School, and Professor of Beijing International Studies University where he worked as Director of Institute for Trans-cultural Studies over a decade. Professor Wang is a former visiting fellow of St. Anne’s College of Oxford University (2000), visiting Professor of the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, Sydney University (2010) and Sciences Politiques de Bordeaux (2017). His major writings in Chinese include the Moral Poetics in Plato’s Laws (2015), Plato’s Poetics in the Republic (2005, 2014) and Aesthetics in Tourism (2015), with publications in English including the Rediscovery of Sino-Hellenic Ideas (2016) and Reading the Dao: A Thematic Inquiry (2011).

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Harmonism as an Alternative
  • Authors Keping Wang
  • Series Title Key Concepts in Chinese Thought and Culture
  • Series Abbreviated Title Key Concepts in Chin. Thought and Culture
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Foreign Language Teaching and Research Publishing Co., Ltd. This international edition is exclusively licensed to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. for worldwide distribution outside of China 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Pivot, Singapore
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-981-13-3563-1
  • eBook ISBN 978-981-13-3564-8
  • Series ISSN 2524-8464
  • Series E-ISSN 2524-8472
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVIII, 148
  • Number of Illustrations 2 b/w illustrations, 2 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Non-Western Philosophy
    Asian Culture
    Classical Philosophy
    Philosophy of Man
    Social Sciences, general
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“In this new pivot, Harmonism as an Alternative, Keping Wang traces the evolution of the key philosophical notion of ‘harmony’ (he) from its earliest, antique origins in the production of music to its vital role as a pervasive value in the ethical, social, political, and religious life of contemporary China. Wang in a nuanced and sophisticated way develops this Confucian notion of “harmony” as an evolving, distinctively Chinese alternative to prevailing assumptions about, and possibilities for, a changing world cultural order.” (Roger T. Ames, Professor, East-West Center, University of Hawaii, USA)