On the Kierkegaardian philosophy of culture and its implications in the Chinese and Japanese context (post-1842)

Tam, Ka Pok, Andrew (2020) On the Kierkegaardian philosophy of culture and its implications in the Chinese and Japanese context (post-1842). PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis aims to establish a Kierkegaardian philosophy of culture to address the theoretical problems of modern East Asian philosophy of culture, particularly Chinese New Confucianism and the Kyoto School (represented by Mou Zong-San and Watsuji Tetsuro respectively) who try to formulate their cultural subjectivities for the sake of cultural modernisation. Both schools adopt Hegelian philosophy of culture and therefore inherit the problems of Hegelian dialectics which Kierkegaard criticises. While Kierkegaard himself does not develop a philosophy of culture, this thesis argues that his concepts of culture in terms of the manifestations of passions, community and contemporaneity are useful resources for the formulation of East Asian cultural selves.

Firstly, in chapter 1, I argue that there are two tasks of modern East Asian philosophers of culture: how to understand a culture (epistemic task) and how to establish a cultural self (ontological task). Secondly, in chapter 2, I argue that there are three theoretical problems in Mou’s and Watsuji’s Hegelian philosophies of culture, namely, the impossibility of change in cultural value, the lack of empirical method and the neglect of openness of interpretation. Thirdly, in chapter 3, I argue that Kierkegaard’s definition of culture in terms of the manifestations of passions explain East Asian cultural development more consistently than Hegelian dialectics. Fourthly, in chapter 4, I establish a Kierkegaardian philosophy of culture and argue that a cultural self is formulated by the concepts of community and contemporaneity where individuals express their passions according to their free wills. Finally, I argue that Kierkegaardian philosophy of culture fulfils both the ontological and epistemic tasks of East Asian philosophers and solves the theoretical problems they encounter when they adopt Hegelian dialectics.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Kierkegaard, New Confucianism, Kyoto School, East Asia, philosophy of culture, Chinese philosophy, Japanese philosophy, hermeneutics.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Pattison, Prof George and Saeko, Dr Yazaki
Date of Award: 2020
Embargo Date: 2020
Depositing User: Mr Ka Pok Tam
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-81400
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2020 07:25
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2022 15:43
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/81400

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