Confucianism: Joy Along the Way

Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC)

Project directors: Prof. Philip J. Ivanhoe and Dr. Richard Tail Kim

Our project is part of a larger plan of research, Theology of Joy and the Good Life, being carried out at Yale University and supported by a major grant from the John Templeton Foundation. Our contribution focuses on exploring Confucian conceptions of joy and the good life and consists of two parts: the first is a workshop to be held at Rutgers University; the second is to produce an essay entitled Confucianism: Joy Along the Way that would present a range of Confucian views concerning joy and the good life.


Rutgers Workshop (10 November 2017):

The workshop will consist of presentations on the general theme of East Asian conceptions of joy and the good life by the following participants:
Owen Flanagan, James B. Duke University Professor in Philosophy, Psychology, and Neurobiology, Duke University
Richard Tail Kim, Department of Philosophy, University of Loyola, Chicago
Justin Tiwald, Department of Philosophy, San Francisco State University
Liu JeeLoo, Department of Philosophy, California State University, Fullerton
Jiang Tao, Department of Religion, Rutgers University
Philip J. Ivanhoe, Department of Public Policy, City University of Hong Kong


Confucianism: Joy Along the Way

Our essay will address the three features described as the core of the account of joy described by the organizers of Theology of Joy and the Good Life: (1) how one sees the world, (2) what one is to do, and (3) how being rightly oriented and active in the world produces a special feeling of joy. Central to our account will be an analysis of Confucian beliefs about Heaven, human nature, and the relationship between human beings and other people, creatures, and things. We will focus on the three most important early Confucian thinkers—Kongzi, Mengzi, and Xunzi—but will extend the analysis we present to neo-Confucianism in general and Wang Yangming in particular. Our aim is to present not only the views of a number of prominent Confucian thinkers but also to convey some of the breadth and diversity that is found within the Confucian tradition on this set of topics. We will present the essay at a workshop held at Yale University 14-16 February 2018.
A draft can be found here: Confucianism: Joy Along the Way