Frontiers of Philosophy in China

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 309–321 | Cite as

Rational awareness of the ultimate in human life — The Confucian concept of “destiny”

  • Dahua Cui
Research Article


The Confucian idea of “ming 命 (destiny)” holds that in the course and culmination of human life, there exists some objective certainty that is both transcendent and beyond human control. This is a concept of ultimate concern at the transcendental theoretical level in Confucianism. During its historical development, Confucianism has constantly offered humanist interpretations of the idea of “destiny”, thinking that the transcendence of “destiny” lies inherently within the qi endowment and virtues of human beings, that the certainty of “destiny” is in essence contingency at the beginning of life and linear irreversibility towards its end, and that to live in light of ethics and physical rules — having a “commitment to human affairs” — means putting “destiny” into practice. As all these facts show, the Confucian ultimate concern regarding human life is full of rational awareness.


Confucianism destiny ultimate concern rational awareness 


儒家“命”的观念认为, 在人生历程和结局中存在着某种非人力所能左右的、 超越的客观必然性。 这是儒家思想中超越的理论层面上的终极关怀的理念。 儒学在其历史发展中, 对“命”的观念不断做出洋溢着人文精神的诠释:认为“命”之超越性就内在于人的气禀和德性之中; “命”之必然性实际上是在生命源头处的偶然性和在终点显现的一次不可逆性; 按照伦理、物理地生活—“尽人事”, 就是“命”的实现。 凡此皆显示, 儒家的人生终极关怀充盈着理性自觉。


儒家 命 终极关怀 理性自觉 


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Research of Chinese ThinkersNanjing UniversityNanjingChina

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