The task of accounting for how persons, how subjects are made is one where the traditional Western divisions of ethics and aesthetics merge, and it is in this regard that non-Western, particularly Chinese, and even more particularly Confucian, insights have a distinct advantage. By having dealt with ritual ethically-aesthetically over such a long history on its own terms, Confucianism can address aspects of person-making in ways that surpass the more reactive efforts in contemporary Critical Theory.
Here the path is fivefold, going through the critical post-structuralist notion of I) becoming subject, subjectivation, and the accompanying idea of II) autonomy alongside (III) the classical Confucian idea of ritual, lǐ 礼, as well as contemporary notions of IV) subjectality, a Confucian/Marxian-materialist approach to collective unconsciousness in social ritual and V) somaesthetic (bodily) cultivation. What results is an intercultural account of how two traditions, one newer and reactionary and the other older and speaking on its own terms, converge on an important issue for this era—understanding and broadening the radically A) relational, B) discursive, C) bodily, D) ritually-impelled self.
James Garrison: wissenschaflicher Mitarbeiter am Institut für Philosophie der Universität Wien, Redaktionsmitglied der Zeitschrift »polylog«.