Dao
, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 147-162
Date: 12 Apr 2012

Observance of Forms: An Aesthetic Analysis of Analects 6.25

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Abstract

This essay analyzes how the zhengming 正名 theory of Confucius is linked to the problem of “observances of form” in light of the methodology of Confucian aesthetics. This essay argues that the “name-shape” combination in the zhengming paradigm is ultimately connected with the “name-role” combination. The “name-shape” paradigm continuously maintains and strengthens the “name-role” paradigm. However, the “name-shape” paradigm itself ultimately becomes more meaningful than the “name-role” paradigm. This is because the aesthetic structure that appears peculiar in the Analects constitutes the “name-shape” paradigm. In this aesthetic structure, what is ultimately important is “form.”