2023-01Thematic Section
Confucian Multiculturalism: A Kantian Reinterpretation of the Classic of Rites


Chinese Communist monocultural policies, notably the re-education camps for the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, have recently been condemned for violating human rights. In response to critics, the Chinese Communist Party frequently replied that one should not impose Western concepts of democracy, liberty, and human rights on the Chinese people. Nevertheless, instead of introducing Western philosophies criticizing the current Chinese Communist monoculturalism; with the help of a modern reinterpretation of the Classic of Rites, this paper aims to construct a Confucian Multiculturalism and argues that: (1) the Classic of Rites explicitly warned against cultural assimilations of “barbarians” into the “civilized” Empire, (2) the Classic of Rites acknowledges cultural diversities, and (3) although the Classic of Rites does not explain clearly why the imperial court should tolerate cultural diversities, a Kantian reinterpretation of the Chinese concept of 敬 Jing implies the respects for minority rights. In doing so, this paper formulates Confucian Multiculturalism as a new model of the Chinese philosophy of culture which asserts cultural diversity.


multiculturalism, Chinese philosophy, Confucianism, Classic of Rites, philosophy of culture, political philosophy

How to cite:

Ka Pok Tam, Andrew. “Confucian Multiculturalism: A Kantian Reinterpretation of the Classic of Rites.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 7, no. 1 (2023):  26-46. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2023.0003.


Andrew Ka Pok Tam
School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Glasgow
Hetherington Building, Glasgow G12 8RS, UK


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