Confucius’ Embodied Knowledge

Margus OTT


The main purpose of the present article is to explicitly link the Analects to the embodiment theory (ET). As indicated in the introduction, embodiment has been an important topic in recent Sinological research, but until now rather few explicit connections have been made with the ET. In relation to the embodied knowledge, the article discusses the following topics: embodiment, embeddedness, enactment, extendedness, emotivity, implicitness, emergence, joy and apprenticeship or self-cultivation. The same themes are found to be important in the Analects, with a plethora of examples. Arguably ET could thus be a useful paradigm for discussing several important themes of the Analects. And the Analects being one of the founding texts of the Chinese philosophical tradition (though similar concerns are manifest also in other texts), it could also be beneficial to further developments in the ET itself, on the condition that its proponents familiarize themselves with the Chinese philosophical tradition where important issues of ET have been explicitly discussed for two and a half millennia.


embodiment theory, Confucianism, Analects, comparative philosophy, enactivism

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