Ritual, Harmony, and Peace and Order: A Confucian Conception of Ritual

  • Jonathan ChanEmail author
Part of the Philosophical Studies in Contemporary Culture book series (PSCC, volume 21)


This chapter begins with an assumption that ritual can have an important social function which goes far beyond the function that is possessed by a set of formal rules or procedures observed in celebrations or ceremonies. This important social function can be understood in terms of the role of ritual in creating a social reality by bringing about social roles that presuppose a particular ranking of important values and right-making conditions, and a particular network of social relations and embedding persons in these roles. In what follows, I shall discuss a conception of ritual which is rooted in the Confucian moral tradition. The discussion will be divided into two parts. In the first part, I shall discuss how Confucians understand ritual, focusing in particular on the importance, the nature and the social context of ritual from a Confucian perspective. In the second part, I shall discuss the contemporary relevance of this Confucian conception of ritual.


Confucianism Ritual Li Harmony Social Reality 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Religion and PhilosophyHong Kong Baptist UniversityHong KongSAR
  2. 2.Center for Applied Ethics, Hong Kong Baptist UniversityHong KongSAR

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