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Philosophy Voltaire and China

2022.06.16 08:50

온기철*71 Views:28

https://www.globethics.net/pdfs/CNKI/CJFD/WLXY201403003.pdf

Voltaire's view of Confucious

 

Voltaire’s View of Confucius Tae-Hyeon Song

 

Abstract: For Voltaire, who was a representative Sinophile in France during the age of Enlightenment, Confucius was the core of his Sinophilia. Labeling religious fanaticism and intolerance as “the infamous,” he used the motto “Crush the infamous!” to fight against the French Catholic Church. Voltaire criticized both the Christian religion, which has supernatural elements, and atheism. His religious viewpoint was tolerant Deism, and he found Confucianism, as a philosophical system, to be its closest equivalent, free from superstition and fanaticism. Voltaire saw Confucius as the ideal Deist and representative of Deism, which he presented as a substitute for revealed religion. The encounter of Confucius provided Voltaire with an opportunity to fundamentally reflect on European civilization and Christianity. However, Voltaire can be criticized for excessively idealizing Confucianism and distorting other Chinese religions, such as Taoism and Buddhism, through the way he used Chinese religious ideology as a tool to criticize the situation in France and Europe at the time. Key words: Voltaire Confucius Deism Sinophilia Author: Tae-Hyeon Song, Ph. D., is professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea. He has published articles on French literature and comparative study between Eastern and Western cultures, and three books, including Image and Symbol and Fantasy. He is editor-in-chief of The Journal of East-West Comparative Literature. This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2007-361-AL0015). Email: solte@ewha.ac.kr 

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