« Taiwan Journal of Political Science N0.97Publish: 2023/09

Nationalism and the Political Thought of Confucius: A Dialogue

Author: Chi-Shen Chang

Abstract / Chinese PDF Download

This article conducts an in-depth exploration on the intellectual sources of nationalism. It focuses on the contributions made by Kant’s idea of “the autonomy of will” and Herder’s philosophy of language to the core elements of nationalism. By showing the links to nationalism between the ideas of Rousseau, Kant, and Herder, this article provides an explanation of the remarkably appealing power that nationalism has over individuals as political agents.

Apart from the analysis of the core elements of nationalism, this article also attempts to initiate a dialogue between nationalism and the political thought of Confucius. By showing that the nature of nationalism is self-love, whereas the core ideas of Confucius’ political thought is restraining and transcending self-love, I argue that the latter provides an alternative political imagination based on “civility” that contrasts with world order based on nationalism.