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The Concept of Responsibility in the Textbooks on Self-cultivation in the Early Years of the Republic of China
Pages: 32-38+152
Year: Issue:  5
Journal: Journal of East China Normal University(Philosophy and Social Sciences)

Keyword:  the early years of the Republic of Chinatextbooksconcept of responsibility;
Abstract: The introduction of Western theories of free will and rights into China since the late Qing Dynasty helped to open a new perspective for modern intellectuals to understand responsibility. In other words,responsibility became a modern value. An examination on the concept of responsibility in the textbooks on self-cultivation in the early years of the Republic of China will show us an unfamiliar theoretical discourse. In the frame of moral responsibility,these textbooks give a more reasonable justification for the undertaking of moral responsibility in combing the theory of free will with the doctrine of the innate knowledge of good. The acceptance of legal obligation,besides moral responsibility,results in a modern transformation in Confucian idea of responsibility. While at the level of law,rights and obligations are equal,at the level of ethics,moral responsibility precedes moral rights: one can enjoy his or her moral rights only if he or she has borne his or her moral responsibility well. In teaching people a normal system of responsibility,these textbooks really attempt to lead modern Chinese people to become Confucians with a sense of responsibility. They are aimed at fostering modern Confucians rather than constructing the identity of modern national members.
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