Why study Chinese classics and how to go about it: Response to Zongjie Wu’s ‘Interpretation, autonomy, and transformation: Chinese pedagogic discourse in cross-cultural perspective’

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This response to Zongjie Wu’s ‘Interpretation, autonomy, and interpretation’ focuses on the ‘battle between East and West’ which contextualizes Wu’s proposal to counter the current Western domination of Chinese pedagogic discourse with an ‘authentic language’ recovered from the Chinese classics. It points out that it is impossible and undesirable to reject all Western influences. The dualistic opposition between East and West over-simplifies and blinds one to the complexity of China’s history and culture, and unnecessarily limits future possibilities. It challenges Wu’s conflation of Confucianism and Daoism and his claim that the authentic ‘language of Tao’ recovered from the Analects is a language ‘pointing to the nameless’. The response concludes with an alternative Deweyan account of how to make Chinese education authentic.

Keywords: Chinese philosophy; Confucianism; John Dewey; cultural nationalism; westernization

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2011.577813

Publication date: October 1, 2011

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