Recognizing Two Modes of Thinking and Living: Kierkegaardian and Confucian


CHUNG-YING CHENG, Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Specialties: Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism, hermeneutics/ontohermeneutics, philosophy of language. E-mail:


Three basic questions regarding ethics and religion are explicitly raised by Kierkegaard; he offers his own answers to those questions. Since these three questions deal with basic issues of the meaning and purpose of human existence, they point to both theoretical and practical concerns which Confucianism also addresses. In addition, these questions provoke a Confucian response concerning the origin, nature and the goal of human existence. In this contrastive inquiry I present a polaristic approach which enhances the importance and significance of both Kierkegaardian and Confucian perspectives, posing a timely question of choice and decision for contemporary human persons.