, 8:425 | Cite as

A Humanist Synthesis of Memory, Language, and Emotions: Qian Mu’s Interpretation of Confucian Philosophy

  • Gad C. IsayEmail author
Original Paper


While Qian Mu intentionally avoided systematic philosophical arguments, his references to memory, language, and emotions, as expressed in a book he wrote in 1948, were suggestive of new interpretations of traditional Chinese, and especially Confucian, ideas such as human autonomy, mind, human nature, morality, immortality, and spirituality. The foremost contribution of Qian’s humanist synthesis rests in its articulation of the idea of the person. Across the context of memory, language, and emotions, the tiyong dynamics of mind and human nature recreate, in modern terms, the traditional Chinese concept of the person who is individually unique and simultaneously interrelated. Avoiding the extreme polarities of individualism and collectivism, he stresses rather their coexistence. His synthesis explains to the Chinese people something about who they are, the meaning in life in the framework of their culture, and how their (revitalized) way of life is at its best in the most important area, that of human relations.


Qian Mu Humanism Memory Self Spirituality 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of East Asian StudiesThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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