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The birth of enlightenment secularism from the spirit of Confucianism
Enlightenment; secularism; Confucianism; philosophy of history; Chinese historiography
Routledge Taylor & Francis Group
Asian Philosophy 1 (2018), pp. 1-16.
The aim of the essay is to demonstrate that the contact of Europeanphilosophy with Chinese thought in the second half of the 17th and18th century inﬂuenced the rise and development of secularism, which became a distinctive feature of the Western Enlightenment. The ﬁrst part examines how knowing the history of China and Confucian ethics has questioned biblical chronology and under-mined faith as a necessary condition of morality. These allegations wereafterwardscounteredbyreinterpretingConfucianismascrypto-monotheism. I will argue this debate has contributed to the birth of secular philosophy of history, which put an end to the Enlightenment Sinophilism. Throughout those changes in the image of China, nothing but an image was discussed: as it would be presented on a basis of the thought of Wang Fuzhi and other representatives of Chinese kaozheng 考證 movement, the encounter witht hecontemporaries of the Westerners would have opened a real dialogue.
This work was supported by the National Science Centre in Poland [Grant 2015/19/N/HS1/00977].
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