Modernizing the Philosophy of Creative Creativity
Fang Dongmei’s Fusion of Holism and Individuality
Fang Dongmei (1899–1977) is among the most influential Chinese philosophers who lived and worked in Taiwan during the second half of the 20th century. The present article aims to clarify his view on the basic nature of the human Self. This assessment is more multifaceted than it seems at a first glimpse, for Fang’s philosophy is also more complex than it seems. As a member of the so-called neo-conservative streams of thought, he criticized the Western-type modernization and aimed to revive the holistic onto-epistemology of classical Confucianism. On the other hand, he highlighted the importance of its basic paradigm which underlay the Confucian discourses from their very beginning, i.e. since the Book of Changes, namely the principle of creative creativity (shengshengbuxi 生生不息). The alleged contradiction between his advocating of holism and creativity, has been reflected in the apparent dichotomy between the social and relational essence of the Confucian Moral Self on the one side, and individual uniqueness on the other. The paper aims to show that both seeming contradictions are actually parts of the same theoretical principle defining the complementary interactions of binary oppositions.
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