Tu Weiming is a philosophy professor at Harvard University and Chair of the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Peking University. He is an ethicist and is one of the leading lights of New Confucianism. David Volodzko, the national editor of JoongAng Daily, the sister paper of The New York Times in South Korea, conducted an interview with Tu Weiming, asking him about the relevance of Confucius today.
When questioned about Confucianism being incompatible with progress [in China], TuWeiming responded:
“That is a tradition that started in 1919, with the New Cultural Movement, and what I call all these Enlightenment values of the West, even though there’s a lot of debate about the abusive use of some of these values. We have Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and Confucian values, and the argument was that religious forms are not compatible. But I think that phase is already over, and people today have more sophisticated ideas about human development, that it’s not just a matter of having a higher GDP. So right now in China, very few insist that the Confucian tradition is incompatible with progress. As properly understood and properly practiced, Confucian values become even more congenial to human development. Some narrow and nationalistic ideas have also surfaced based on this. My view is that Confucianism must adapt itself to human values, and that the abusive use of power by neoliberal economies could be corrected by a much broader vision of human flourishing. Issues of proper governance, moral order, and the financial regulatory system are all a part of the story. The role of government, for example, the role of leadership, all these are relevant issues.”
To view the full interview click here.