Confucian rationalism

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Nowadays, there is still a widely held view that the Chinese and Western modes of thought are quite distinct from each other. In particular, the Chinese mode of thought derived from Confucianism is considered as comparatively less rational than the Western one. In this article, I first argue that although the analogical mode of argumentation, which is often claimed to be in sharp contrast with the Western mode of rationalism, has played a prominent role in Confucianism, it does not make Confucianism any less rational. Then, I examine the normative and communicative features of Confucian rationalism, exploring the implications of these features for critical thinking in education. Copyright © 2014 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1450-1461
JournalEducational Philosophy and Theory
Issue number13
Early online dateOct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


Lam, C.-M. (2014). Confucian rationalism. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 46(13), 1450-1461.


  • Confucianism
  • Rationalism
  • Analogical argumentation
  • Critical thinking


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