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Confucian educational philosophy and its implication for lifelong learning and lifelong education

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This paper, from historical and philosophical perspectives, presents Confucian education philosophy, a philosophy that is argued is a philosophy of lifelong learning. Examined and illustrated are the Confucian concepts of Sage, a Confucian ideal human model, and Jun Zi, a Confucian realistic educational result. Through Sage, Confucius presented us an ideal model of humanity, a model that uses lifelong learning as its method and processes. The Confucian model encourages becoming the undivided 'I' with the universe, the unity of 'I' with other human beings, and the wholeness of 'I' with 'self'. Through Jun Zi, understood as a realistic educational end, Confucius demonstrated that lifelong learning and lifelong education are necessary processes in enabling human beings to realize and practice their true nature—that is, living happily in and with the worlds of different kinds: universe, nature, society/other human beings, and self. The examination of Confucian multi-dimensional educational purposes and the practices of lifelong and life-wide learning denote that Confucius' educational philosophy rests upon a belief that the human beings are the ends, not the means, to being in the world. Therefore, Confucian educational philosophy presents us an alternative lens through which to view and ponder the limit of current practices of lifelong learning and lifelong education.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Wyoming, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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