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贝淡宁:关注儒家价值观的中国学术研究
·贝淡宁
标签: 儒家价值观

    过去十年中,儒家正逐步复兴。关于儒家的书籍成为畅销书,政府官员的讲话中也常常传递“和谐”等传统儒家理念。不过,有一个领域中的复苏可能不那么为人所知——中国学术研究界对这一现象也越来越关注。
    彭凯平、吴沙莉等心理学者设计的心理学实验显示出中国人与美国人之间存在着明显的认知差异,中国人更倾向于考虑整体情境,采用辩证的方式解决问题;来自台湾、香港的心理学家黄光国、杨中芳将“关系主义”、“中庸思想”等传统价值理念引入了心理学研究。经济学家盛洪认为在中国把“家庭”作为理性分析的单位要优于“个人”,并且试图研究“孝道”等观念的经济效应。研究医学伦理的范瑞平探讨过以家庭为基础的医疗决策行为。企业文化咨询专家黄伟东研究了儒家文化对商业实践的影响。
    史天健、朱云汉、张佑宗等政治学者关于政治价值观的调查研究显示,随着中国逐步现代化,人们越来越认同儒家理念。关注政治发展、社会问题的康晓光、彼游塞在调查研究中,发现了许多致力于弘扬儒家文化的个人和团体,包括在官方教育系统中传播教育儒家文化的老师、学校等等。国际关系问题专家阎学通、徐进等人从先秦时代的孟子、荀子思想中寻找外交政策的理念。哲学家蒋庆、陈来、白彤东、陈明研究了古代儒家思想对中国的政治发展、社会转型的影响和意义。王瑞昌讨论了儒家“以人为本”的执政理念。
    已有对儒家的学术研究总是囿于西方舶来的学术分科限制。2009年6月,在中国人民大学举行的“现代中国情境中的传统价值观:多学科的解读与构建”研讨会,突破了这一限制。研讨会由史天健、贝淡宁、康晓光、彭凯平四位教授共同发起,卡内基国际和平基金会资助,中国人民大学非营利组织研究所主办。对儒家文化感兴趣,但是来自不同领域的学者们坐在一起,共同探讨他们能从其他学科中学到什么。
    哲学家陈来指出,测量儒家价值观非常的复杂和困难,需要追溯价值理念在经典名著中的含义,历史演变过程,在现代生活中的体现。更多的学者表示,这样的研究非常有意义,因为儒学对于理解当代中国社会,以及更长远的社会转型和政治发展非常重要。
    有人或许会认为,来自不同领域的学者会存在非常大的分歧。首先,各自的立场就很不同。大多数学者公开承认,他们信仰和同情儒家价值观,有着同一的立场,就像自由主义的思想者试图推广自由的价值一样;有的宣称他们对儒家价值观是进行纯科学的研究和测量;有的两者兼具,特别是康晓光,既倡导儒家政治理念,又采用社会科学的方法对其进行研究。
    参会者们也提出儒家有些方面不能从其他学科视角来研究。比如儒者蒋庆指出,像“天”、“良知”等就不能作为社会科学经验研究的对象。杨汝清也指出道德养成是长时期的,不能在实验室里控制各种条件来进行测量。
    但是研讨会还是朝着多学科合作的方向努力,并且得出来了一些富有成效的提议。参会者们意识到了自己所在学科研究的不足有可能通过借鉴其他学科得到弥补。哲学家和历史学家可以帮助优化和改善政治价值观调查问卷中设计的一些问题,比如经典的儒家价值观测量问题“小孩应该顺从其父母”,即便在儒家经典中表述也不是绝对的,需要考虑不同的条件和情境。哲学家们也建议社会学者们研究一些不那么“知名”的儒家价值理念,比如“礼乐教化”,相信“人性本善”,对道德养成是否有正向影响?
    社会科学家可以帮助哲学家知晓哪些儒家价值观在现代社会还在发挥重要的作用。比如,“孝顺”这一处理家庭伦理关系的理念,可以延展到家庭外成员,可通过纵向研究来考察。心理学家也能帮助识别背诵和记忆儒家经典的最佳年龄阶段。社会科学的方法还有助于研究如下问题:学习儒家经典,是否真正使得统治者更加“仁爱”,“贤明”,其行政效率是否更高?人们的道德水平是否会随着年龄增长而提高,比如德高望重?
    社会科学家们的研究还能够帮助哲学家们明晰什么样的儒家价值理念是儒家传统社会所特有的?什么样的儒家价值理念是可以普世的?比如一些研究实验结果显示,中国人更多的具有集体主义取向,这意味着将此类价值观向海外推广时会遇到很大阻力。(正如向中国推行高度竞争的政党政治将遇到重重阻碍一样)。阎学通指出,如果中国政府自身不实践儒家执政理念,却试图向国外推广,只会适得其反。
    诚然,这些问题都还没有答案。但不言而喻,如果拥有言论自由,出版自由,足够的资金支持,学者们多渠道多侧面的研究这些问题,将获得更丰硕的成果。在恰当的环境和条件下,现今仍被西方学术界忽视的关于中国的课题,特别是中国人价值观的研究,将成为全球知识界关注的焦点。
    
    作者:贝淡宁,清华大学哲学系教授,最新作品《中国新儒学:转型社会中的政治与日常生活》,普林斯顿大学出版社2008年出版。
    翻译:刘诗林,中国人民大学博士生
    
      原文
      Confucianism in Chinese Academia
    
      Over the last decade or so, there has been a revival of Confucianism. Popular books on Confucianism are best sellers, and official discourse from the government often expresses traditional Confucian values like harmony. What is less well known, however, is the resurgence in interest among academics in China.
    
      Rigorous experiments by psychologists such as Peng Kaiping and Wu Shali show that there are striking cognitive differences between Chinese and Americans, with Chinese more likely to use contextual and dialectical approaches to solving problems. Psychologists Huang Guangguo and Yang Zhongfang from Taiwan and Hongkong advocate the use of traditional Chinese ideas like the “relationism” (guanxizhuyi) and “middle way” [zhongyong zhi dao] for psychological research. Economists such as Shen Hong take the family as the relevant unit of economic analysis and try to measure the economic effect of such values as filial piety. Theorists of medical ethics such as Fan Ruiping discuss the importance of family-based decision making in medical settings. Those working in the field of business ethics like Huang Weidong research the influence of Confucian values on business practices in China.
    
      Political surveys by political scientists like Shi Tianjian, Chu Yunhan and Zhang Youzong show that attachment to Confucian values has increased during the same period that China has modernized. Sociologists such as Kang Xiaoguang and Sebastien Billioud study the thousands of experiments in education and social living in China that are inspired by Confucian values.
    
      Theorists of international relations such as Yan Xuetong and Xu Jin look to pre-Qin thinkers like Mengzi and Xunzi for foreign policy ideas. And philosophers such as Jiang Qing, Chen Lai, Bai Tongdong, and Chen Ming, draw upon the ideas of great Confucian thinkers of the past for thinking about social and political reform in China. Wang Richang discusses the Confucian foundations of government slogans like “yi ren wei ben” (“the people as the foundation”)
    
      But academics doing research on Confucianism often work within rigid disciplinary boundaries borrowed from Western academia. At a ground-breaking conference Traditional Values in a Modern Chinese Context: An Interdisciplinary Approach held at Renmin University of China, June,2009. Leading academics working on Confucian values from different disciplines met to see what they could learn from each other. The conference was initiated by Professor Shi Tianjian, Daniel A.Bell, Kang Xiaoguang and Peng Kaiping, supported by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and organized by the Non-Profit-Research Center, Renmin University of China.
    
      Chen Lai pointed to the complexity of measuring Confucian values, which would involve tracing their origin in classic texts, their historical development, as well as evidence of contemporary influence. But most participants still felt that the research was well worth doing, given the importance of Confucianism for understanding Chinese society and furthering social and political reform rooted in local conditions.
    
      As one might expect, there were important areas of disagreement. For one thing, the starting points were often different. The majority sympathized with Confucian values and openly admitted that they begin with normative standpoints, just as liberal thinkers try to promote liberal values. Some claimed that they are doing purely scientific work measuring Confucian values. And some do both: most notably, Kang Xiaoguang both promotes political Confucianism and studies its development in Chinese society.
    
      The participants also identified areas of study that could not be researched fruitfully from other perspectives. Philosophers like Jiang Qing pointed to values like tian and liangzhi that could not be studied by the empirically-minded social sciences, and Confucian educators like Yang Ruqin argued that moral growth is long term and could not be measured in controlled laboratory studies.
    
      But the workshop also led to some fruitful proposals for cross-disciplinary research. The participants noted areas of weakness in their own disciplines that could be usefully addressed from other perspectives. Philosophers and historians could help to refine the questions posed in political attitude surveys. For example, the “Confucian” attitude measured by political scientists that children should blindly obey their parents should be made more conditional if the aim is to measure attachment to Confucian values rooted in classic texts. Philosophers might also suggest questions for research inspired by less well-known Confucian values, such as the idea that listening to different types of music or believing in different views of human nature (性善vs性恶) have different moral consequences during the course of one’s life.
    
      Social scientists, for their part, can help philosophers determine which Confucian values are most effective in contemporary society. For example, the claims that filial piety provides the psychological basis for extending morality to non-family members could be researched by means of longitudinal studies. Psychologists could also identify the key ages that best allow for the memorization of classical texts. Social scientists could also help to study whether morality normally improves with age and whether learning the Confucian classics really does make rulers more morally sensitive and politically effective..
    
      The findings of social scientists might also help Confucian philosophers to determine which Confucian values are particular to societies with a Confucian heritage and which ones might be universalized. For example, the finding that collectivist attitudes are more typical of Chinese subjects in experimental settings means that there will likely be resistance to promoting those values abroad (just as there would be resistance to promoting highly adversarial and interest-based politics in China). Yan Xuetong pointed out that Confucianism won’t be taken seriously abroad unless it is practiced by political leaders at home.
    
      These research questions remain open. What is clear, however, is that academics need the freedom to discuss and publish their ideas and adequate funding to carry out research in order to pursue these questions in fruitful ways. Under the right conditions, China could well develop into a leading center of global learning, with academics researching questions and values hitherto neglected in the West.
    
      Daniel A. Bell is professor, department of philosophy, Tsinghua University. His latest book is China’s New Confucianism: Politics and Everyday Life in a Changing Society (Princeton University Press, 2008).


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