27
Jul
07

CONTESTING CONFUCIUS

“Billeter calls for the demythification of China as a ‘fundamental other’. The necessity to understand its philosophy as an imperial ideology is a political one: ‘not in order to reduce the role it has played in history, but to determine the approach we want to take to it’. This becomes all the more urgent because, although ‘in the past the Europeans and the Chinese lived apart, this ancient separation is no more. Today we are facing the same historical moment, and should act together and understand each other.’ The myth of the other now deters mutual understanding between China and the West. This is the ultimate insult to Jullien, whose purported aim has always been to bring about this understanding. Billeter puts it bluntly: ‘Those who endorse a critical reflection on the past in fact subscribe to political liberty and democracy, while the comparatists accommodate more readily to the state of power’.”

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