Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Habermas III 290
Confucianism/Taoism/Weber/Habermas: In his study about the economic ethics of the world religions Max Weber assesses Confucianism and Taoism solely from the point of view of ethical rationalization. Therefore he arrives at his well-known (and controversial) assessment of the low rationalization potential of these worldviews.
Weber: "The inner prerequisite of this ethics of unconditional world affirmation and adaptation to the world was the unbroken continuity of purely magical religiosity, beginning with the position of the emperor, whose personal qualification was responsible for the good behaviour of spirits, the occurence of rain (...), to the (...) cult of ancestral spirits (...)". (1)
J. NeedhamVsWeber/Habermas: thanks to the groundbreaking research of J. Needham (2) it is now known that the Chinese between the 1st century B.C. and the 15th century AD were apparently more successful than the West in the development of theoretical knowledge and its use for practical needs. It was only in the Renaissance that Europe took the clear lead in this field.
Confucianism/Needham: contains the fundamentals of a world view capable of rationalization. With the concept of a concrete world order, the diversity of phenomena is systematically grasped and related to principles. However, the dominant redemption motives that exacerbate the dualism between the world of appearances and principles that transcend the world are missing.
III 292
Like the Greek philosophers, the Chinese educational class could not rely on an "academic" life devoted to contemplation and distanced from practice, on a bios theoretikos.
HabermasVsNeedham: I suspect that the Chinese traditions would be put in a different light if they were compared with classical Greek traditions, not primarily from the point of view of ethics but theory. In any case, it is not a matter of salvation paths, as is the case with conviction ethically redemption religions, but of ways of assuring the world.

1. M. Weber, Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Religionssoziologie, Bd. I Tübingen, 1963, S. 515.
2. J. Needham, Wissenschaftlicher Universalismus, Frankfurt 1977.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Weber I
M. Weber
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism - engl. trnsl. 1930
German Edition:
Die protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus München 2013

Ha I
J. Habermas
Der philosophische Diskurs der Moderne Frankfurt 1988

Ha III
Jürgen Habermas
Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns Bd. I Frankfurt/M. 1981

Ha IV
Jürgen Habermas
Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns Bd. II Frankfurt/M. 1981


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-12-11
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