Confucius adapted the concept of ‘Mingde Shenxing’ in his role as Chief Justice, placing notions of justice and due process in wider social context

— Dr Ying Yu, FLS Research Fellow

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FLJS Fellow Dr Ying Yu challenges conventional wisdom on Confucianism and western jurisprudence

13 June 2018

FLJS Research Fellow Dr Ying Yu gave a bold reinterpretation of Confucian thought at Wolfson College yesterday, drawing parallels between Eastern and Western jurisprudence to challenge the conventional wisdom that the two major civilizations have developed along entirely different lines.

Dr Yu recounted her own experience of the banning of Confucianism during the Cultural Revolution, and argued that, over the course of the few decades since the ban was lifted, insufficient scholarship has been devoted to the Classical Chinese of the original Confucian scripts.

In the lecture, entitled Reinterpreting Confucius’ Ideas on Law, Justice and Society, she outlined her new approach, in which she avoids existing preconceptions through a return to close analysis of the original text. She drew parallels between the two traditions through the concept of ‘Mingde Shenxing’, a concept closely resembling due process in Western legal thought, arguing that, “Confucius adapted the concept of ‘Mingde Shenxing’ in his role as Chief Justice, placing notions of justice and due process in the wider social context”.

Dr Yu went on to examine the respective understandings of society, relations among its members, and between the people and government in the two traditions, positing common understandings of substantive and procedural justice.

A PowerPoint of the lecture is available to download from the link below, and a podcast is will be available to download from our Podcast pages later this week.