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‘Speak in the place of the sages’: Rethinking the sources of pedagogic meanings

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This is a response to the commentaries on my essay, ‘Interpretation, autonomy, and transformation’. However, the response is reoriented to further interpretation of Chinese pedagogic discourse in the late-19th century, which is often blamed for hampering China’s educational advance. Instead of considering Classical Confucian pedagogy as a blueprint for future development, my inquiry aims to provide alternative ways of thinking about sources of pedagogic innovation in the philosophical perspective of language. By presenting and analysing an eight-legged essay of the Imperial Civil Examination, I argue that pedagogy is a process of meaning-making, which is not only a question of synchrony inside a system attributed with causality and analysis, but also of diachrony by registering meanings to what was said by sages. ‘Speak in the place of sages’ should be taken as a continuous tradition to secure flow of meanings from the past for the purpose of meeting with the challenge of modernity in China.

Keywords: Confucian Classic; Imperial Civil Examination; mode of signification; source of meaning

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2014-05-04

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