Confucian Ritualization: How and Why?

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


This chapter will argue that Confucian rituals are necessary for virtue cultivation, acquisition and manifestation, and this function of the rituals cannot be replaced by the Confucian moral principles. In modern Chinese society, the Confucian rituals have been attacked by the official ideology as “feudalist” backward activities to be entirely abandoned. Contemporary Neo-Confucian scholars, in attempting to defend the Confucian civilization, put their emphasis on general Confucian moral principles in separation from the function of the Confucian rituals. In doing so they have abstracted these principles from the real Confucian moral convictions embedded in the ritual practices and detracted from the substance of the Confucian culture and morality. In modern Western liberal culture, self-determined activities have been emphasized to seek the self-chosen conception of the good life. Moral education becomes difficult, if not impossible, to deploy in such society because the true nature of any human morality cannot be properly cultivated and realized without appreciating rituals, a series of familial and societal practices traditionally established and commonly performed by human individuals.


Confucianism Rituals Li Virtue Education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public and Social AdministrationCity University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong SAR

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