This book presents a creative approach to the problem of individual authenticity. What is authenticity? What are its necessary conditions? How is an authentic self possible in society? What are the relationships of authenticity, morality, and happiness? The book examines a wide range of questions in Eastern and Western thought, to which it gives novel answers.
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Xunwu Chen is an assistant professor in The Department of English, Classics, and Philosophy at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He received his B.A in Philosophy from Zhong Shan University, Guangzhou, The People's Republic of China, 1982, after which he taught as a lecturer at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu, China. He received his PhD in Philosophy from Fordham University in 1994, after which he spent two years in the Department of Eastern Asian Language and Civilization of Harvard University as a post-doctoral research associate. He then spent a year at The Eastern Asian Institute of Columbia University and a half year in The Philosophy Department of New York University as a visiting scholar. He joined the faculty at UTSA in January 1998, first as a visiting assistant professor, and then as an assistant professor. Chen is the author of several journal articles including: "Moral Reason and Feeling: Confucianism and Contractualism,"(Journal of Chinese Philosophy, 2002), "A Hermeneutic Reading of Confucianism," (Journal of Chinese Philosophy, 2001), "Rationalism and Equalitarianism: The Yin-Yang Dialectic of Chinese Struggle for Democracy," (Asian thought and Society, 2000), and "Conflict and Constellation: the New trend of Value Conflict in China"(Journal of Value Inquiry, 1997). Since December 2001, Chen has been serving as the president of the Association of Chinese Philosophers in (North) America.Review:
"The glorious radiance of existentialist thought in the mid-twentieth century illumined the dark days of European and Asian totalitarianism, only to be dampened all-too-quickly by the rise of many forms of communitarianism. Xunwu Chen has written a brilliant cross-cultural defense of the importance of existential authenticity. Countering the recent trend to see the Confucian tradition as defining the self by its social roles and as taking the community to be more important than the individual, Chen shows that the authentic inhabitation of those roles is prior in importance to the roles themselves, at least in principle. Chen treats the Western tradition in equal detail, arguing for the priority of authenticity to social participation, however necessary the latter is. Acknowledging the importance of social existence, Chen argues forcefully for a "new individualism" that properly criticizes the individualism of classical existentialism. Chen's cross-cultural conversation between China and the West is the needed context for discussions of authenticity in the twenty-first century world." - Robert Cummings Neville, Professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Theology, Boston University
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