Please wait a minute...
Frontiers of Philosophy in China

ISSN 1673-3436

ISSN 1673-355X(Online)

CN 11-5743/B

Postal Subscription Code 80-983

Front Phil Chin    2009, Vol. 4 Issue (1) : 116-129     DOI: 10.1007/s11466-009-0007-4
research-article |
A defense of universalism: With a critique of particularism in Chinese culture
ZHAO Dunhua()
Department of Philosophy, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
Download: PDF(387 KB)   HTML
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks

Universalism can be defined as the belief in the universal application of certain knowledge, world-views and value-views. Universalism has often been confused with Occident-centrism, due to the fact that the latter was used to justify the former, which confused the content of a thought with the social condition that gave rise to the thought. For many years, clarifications of this confusion have been made in sociology of knowledge, relativism and skepticism. Yet, the particularistic conclusion thus reached has led to more confusion, namely, that between the intrinsic criterion for truth and the practical application of thought. China, with its long tradition of Sino-centrism, has recently shown a movement towards particularism, characterized by a search for national and cultural superiority by “returning to the source”. In today’s academic circles, some particularist themes are taken for granted, and believed to be true, but cannot be proved with rational examination. The particularistic claims to the “self grounded”, “self-featured” and “self-located” tradition of Chinese culture jointed with the post-modernism, neo-leftist movement of anti-globalization in the West, are not only harmful in practice, but also impotent in theory. The propaganda against the hegemony of Western discourse should be analyzed with questioning which hegemony and whose discourse.

Keywords Occident-centralism      Sino-centralism      essentialism      universalism      particularism      cultural chauvinism      globalization     
Corresponding Authors: ZHAO Dunhua,   
Issue Date: 05 March 2009
URL:     OR
[1] Thomas M. Robinson. Aristotle, the Intellect, and Cognition[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2014, 9(2): 229-240.
[2] Jos de MUL. Horizons of Hermeneutics: Intercultural Hermeneutics in a Globalizing World[J]. Front Phil Chin, 2011, 6(4): 628-655.
[3] GAN Shaoping. The Destiny of Modern Virtue Ethics[J]. Front Phil Chin, 2010, 5(3): 432-448.
[4] ZHANG Xianglong, . The philosophical feature of Confucianism and its position in inter-cultural dialogue: Universalism or non-universalism?[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2009, 4(4): 483-492.
Full text