Hegel's China: On God and Beauty

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

Hegel’s engagements with China have been well worked over and it is a relatively easy matter to evaluate his sources (in relation to the details of his accounts) and to situate his Chinese narrative in relation to his overall project: there is a big picture in which China plays a minor role. I will briefly sketch the state of play in relation to both, by way of initial orientation. I will then focus on two related themes in the service of the theme ‘beauty through each other’s eyes’. I propose to show how Hegel’s account of China is related to two (themselves related) topics: the centrality of God and the importance of art. To state my thesis in advance: Hegel’s theological commitments (especially to the doctrine of the Trinity) determine the role that Chinese thought will play; and the centrality of art in Hegel’s approach to religion means that his failure to consider Chinese art robs him of an opportunity to engage deeply with a culture by whose history he is obviously fascinated.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication美美与共:人类文明的交流与互鉴
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 25 May 2016