In this groundbreaking work, Shuchen Xiang offers a philosophical defense of culture by dexterously weaving together a humanist, Confucian understanding of culture (wen 文) and the phenomenology of culture developed by Ernst Cassirer, a German philosopher who exerted crucial influence on both analytical and continental philosophy. Xiang identifies substantial common ground between Confucianism and Cassirer's approaches, at the core of which is the recentering of human experience on freedom, potentiality, and creativity through the lens of culture. They converge on the view that signs and symbols in languages define what it means to be human. For Xiang, both convey the key message that “we become what we are through forms of our own creation, and for which we are wholly responsibility” (9). The author argues that it is only through and within culture that the meaning of the world is disclosed to humans, and they can partake in that...
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Book Review| May 01 2023
A Philosophical Defense of Culture: Perspectives from Confucianism and Cassirer
A Philosophical Defense of Culture: Perspectives from Confucianism and Cassirer. By Shunchen Xiang.
284pp. ISBN: 9781438483191.
Journal of Asian Studies (2023) 82 (2): 304–305.
Yutang Jin; A Philosophical Defense of Culture: Perspectives from Confucianism and Cassirer. Journal of Asian Studies 1 May 2023; 82 (2): 304–305. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00219118-10291198
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