Stone statue of Confucius at the entrance to a temple


Rooted in Humanity, Extended to Heaven

The ‘anthropocosmic’ vision in Confucian thought.

By Tu Weiming

Inspired by Confucius’s characterization of the learning of the ancient sages as “learning for the sake of the self,” Confucian thinkers identified themselves as followers of the “learning for the sake of the self.” They interpreted this to mean “learning of the body and mind,” “learning of mind and human nature,” “learning of human nature and destiny,” and “learning to be human.” The learning that focused on the self—“body, mind, human nature, and destiny”—was considered authentic, as contrasted with “learning for the sake of others.” They took seriously the instruction in The Great Learning: “From the emperor to the commoner, each, without exception, should regard self-cultivation as the root.” They believed that only when the root is firmly planted can branches flourish; namely, without self-cultivation, regulation of the family, governance of the state, and peace under Heaven cannot be attained. This fundamental principle in Confucian learning seems to suggest that self-realization, rather than social service, is the core concern. Confucians strongly believe that authentic learning is embodied in our physical constitution, internalized in our heart-and-mind, embedded in our Heavenly endowed nature, and incorporated in our inner purpose of life.

Yet, undeniably, Confucian ethics is predominantly a social ethics. By choosing to be in the world, if not of the world, Confucius makes it clear that caring for the other is essential for our existence. If filial duty to our parents and brotherly love toward our siblings are the ways of commencing our learning to become human, it is inconceivable that in Confucian teaching we can relegate recognition of the other to the background. The concrete living person here and now is inevitably intertwined in a network of human relations. I never exist as an isolated individual. I become what I am through it. In this sense, the Confucian value-orientation is much closer to the communitarian insistence on the context and historicity in which a person is necessarily situated than the liberal assumption that we may philosophize from the viewpoint of an abstract individual, the state of nature, without any reference to his or her situatedness.

Herbert Fingarette, in his seminal interpretation of Confucian ritual, makes the strong claim that it is not only conceivable but also imperative to understand the Confucian person as a thorough social being to the extent that there is a total absence of interiority (inner dimension). He further claims that in Confucian thought existential choice (the image of the crossroads, for example) is not even a rejected possibility. Indeed, he is so fascinated by the radical difference between Confucian communitarianism and modern American individualism that he believes that the language of psychology, not to mention psychoanalytical vocabulary, is totally alien to the authentic self-expression of the Confucian person.

The appeal of defining the Confucian self in terms of social role is obvious. It underscores the basic Confucian impulse that it is unnatural, if not impossible, to regard the self in isolation. Only by situating the self in a dyadic relationship can we understand how the self acts as a concrete living person in ordinary human existence. Common sense tells us that personal identity comes into being as the result of specific encounters with parents, siblings, relatives, friends, and strangers. The rich texture of human relations can hardly be captured by abstract universalism. It is in the “lived concreteness” that we experience immediately and intimately the world around us. We see ourselves in the presence of others. We find our proper niche in the world by referring to the network of human interaction that defines our social space. We may do things alone and imagine ourselves totally detached from the entanglements of social obligations. We may even engage ourselves in lonely quests for inner spirituality and, by deliberate choice, cut ourselves off from all social ties. But these are extraordinary cases executed by exceptional people for reasons beyond common human comprehension. The primary Confucian concern is how we live our ordinary lives in the world here and now.

However, even if we accept the contention that as a matter of fact the self should always be taken as a constellation of social roles, our understanding of the Confucian self is still partial. If we further insist, as Fingarette does, that the “inner self” is totally irrelevant to the idea of the self in the Analects, we fail to account for the single most important virtue in Confucian humanism, namely, humanity, which in the recently discovered Guodian material attributed to the first generation of Confucius disciples, is invariably depicted as the vertical combination of shenxin (body and mind).

The paradox we face here is the reconciliation of sociality (human relations) and individuality (inner self) in Confucian humanism. My preliminary attempt to deal with this predicament is to envision the self as a center of relationships. As a center, the self is unique and irreducible to its sociality, no matter how broadly it is encompassed, and as relationships, the self must be located in a network of social roles and it can never be hermetically sealed from the world. Richard Rorty, from his ironist postmodern perspective, argues for the incompatibility of self-realization and social service. If Rorty were right, the Confucian project would necessarily fail. It seems counterintuitive that we must choose between “center” and “relations.” Our everyday experience tells us that far from being a private matter, our self-awareness is the result of constant interaction with the other. The existence of the other is necessary and desirable for our self-awareness. Our sense of personal worth is predicated on recognition of the other. Self-cultivation is profoundly personal but not inevitably private. Conceptually and experientially, it is a serious flaw to confuse the personal with the private. Although the personal is a matter of the heart, it can be publicly accountable. Often, we are willing, and sometimes anxious, to share our strong personal feelings. Through sharing, our feelings can be either properly channeled or substantially enriched. Feelings shared are attuned to a social rhythm that can be observed and appreciated by an ever-expanding network of sympathetic participants. In contrast, privacy is a concealed space deliberately carved out to protect ourselves from outside intrusion. Self as a center of relations can be personally experienced, although it is at odds with those who believe that sociality is unavoidably a threat to privacy.

A critic of the Confucian claim that harmony between sociality and individuality is attainable can simply consign Confucian ethics to a remote time and place irrelevant to the complex modern world wherein we assume a vicissitude of social roles unimaginable in traditional societies. In a society of “stratified differentiation,” individuality means—in accordance with its literal meaning—“indivisibility,” and thus it does not yet mean “uniqueness” or “singularity.” The individual is not yet characterized by its specific particularity, but rather by possessing—through birth, rank, and status—a specific nondestructible and nonchangeable identity. The social positioning grants an inviolable individuality in the sense of a fixed social status. Individuality is a form of “inclusion” under the conditions of stratified differentiation.

In modern functionally differentiated societies, multiple sub-systems, such as economics, politics, voluntary associations, universities, and the professions, emerged. They replaced the family (the household) to become the institutions that dominated the social scene. The boundaries between these subsystems, rather than the boundaries between social strata, mark the primary social differentiations. The individual in traditional societies is an integral part of the whole, in actual experience inseparable from the inclusive differentiation, whereas in modern societies, as stated by Hans-Georg Moeller, “[w]hatever the individual makes of itself and however society contributes to this: it has its standpoint in itself and outside of society.” The implicit change in the semantics of individuality, from inclusion to exclusion, fundamentally transforms the indivisible into a unique person. The assumption is that with the emergence of the unique person we can never recover the premodern sense of interconnectedness between self and society.

This challenge to the Confucian ideal of an “organic unity” that underlies the person, the community, and the cosmos is powerful. However, it is not difficult to imagine that through self-cultivation (a Confucian form of spiritual exercise), we can practically integrate ourselves into the community and experientially communicate with the cosmos. The Christian idea of the indestructibility of the soul, which enables the individual to have direct access to the divine, or the Buddhist notion of selflessness that empowers the individual to rise above the mundane world, to either a Christian or a Buddhist is not merely an imagined possibility but a lived reality. Although Confucians do not tap transcendental symbolic resources and do not practice otherworldly asceticism, they are deeply concerned about the ultimate meaning of life. It is not inconceivable that, while in contemporary social life we cannot but divide ourselves into multiple social roles, we can still cherish the vision of “organic unity” as a source of inspiration for our personal identity. The democratic spirit may have an “elective affinity” with, as Moeller describes it, “[f]unctional differentiation based on the non-hierarchical co-existence of multiple social systems,” but it can also be realized in a community with an emphasis on the republican spirit. We can very well reject exclusive individuality in favor of an inclusive personality without losing sight of the intractable reality of the compartmentalization in our life-world. We can also maintain that the persistent effort to integrate ourselves in a holistic environment is more congenial to human flourishing than the uncritical acceptance of the assertion that self-realization is relentlessly private, subjective, and unsocial. But a persuasive argument for an alternative to exclusive individuality as a way of human flourishing requires a much more complex analysis.

Mencius, considered second only to Confucius himself as a proponent of the Confucian traditions, put forth the idea of the great body, which is relevant here. The great body (the sensitivity and sensibility of the human heart-and-mind inherent in the body) rather than the small body is the standard of inspiration for human excellence and the ultimate source for human flourishing. It is an assertion that our body, indeed, the heart-and-mind that defines the human body, is the raison d’être that we are inevitably individual, social, and cosmic beings. The small body, namely, our animal nature often defined in terms of food and sex, constitutes most of our existential condition, but it cannot be expanded and enlarged to embrace various aspects of otherness.

As Mencius explicitly states, the difference between a human being and a nonhuman animal is small, but there are essential qualities inherent in human nature that make human beings unique. Among these, the most subtle and potentially most pervasive is the feeling of commiseration (sympathy, empathy, and compassion). Although such a feeling is inborn, it is neither fixed nor static. Rather, it is a dynamic potency, like the fire that will burn or the spring that will gush forth, if properly cared for. The great body does not reject the small body. It harmonizes it and enriches it so that the small body characterized by the instinctual demands for food and sex can be transformed into the fullest manifestation of humanity. The primary purpose of learning to be human is to allow this potency to realize itself so that the small body that we share with all other animals will grow into the great body.

The body is never a static structure, but a dynamic process. It is alive with feeling as well as willing, sensing, and knowing capacities.

The body, as a particular configuration of vital energy, is never a static structure, but rather is a dynamic process. As the proper home for the heart/mind, it is alive with feeling as well as with willing, sensing, and knowing capacities. If properly cultivated, these innate capacities will enlarge the heart / mind in the body to incorporate all forms of otherness into its sensitivity. The Mencian claim is, then, that the “sprouts” of humanity (commiseration),  rightness (shame), civility (a sense of appropriateness), and wisdom (knowledge of right and wrong) are all innate. However, this ontological reality is no guarantee for human goodness. In the existential situation, unless each of the sprouts is nurtured, it can-not on its own grow. Self-cultivation requires not only discovery of what we can be, but also recovery of what we really are. Mencius insisted that in the human heart-and-mind there is a rich reservoir of virtues that can enable the individual and society to flourish. Strictly speaking, virtues are not internalized social norms. They are also visible expressions of the deep structure of human nature. Although normally people on the street practice virtues conventionally and unconsciously, virtues as “habits of the heart” are embedded in the core of human nature. It is not surprising that occasionally these virtues shine through spontaneously and unexpectedly even from those among us who are so desensitized that they are practically autistic to the surroundings near at hand: suddenly when we see a child about to fall into the well, a feeling of alarm and compassion immediately arises.

This is a minimalist claim. No concrete action or specific intention is needed to substantiate it. However, the implications are far-reaching. Mencius maintained that this innate capacity, if properly cultivated, will transform a person from an ordinary human being into a sage (the paradigmatic personality who most authentically symbolizes the highest excellence of humanity). The reasoning is deceptively simplistic: “People all have things that they will not bear. To extend this reaction to that which they will bear is humanity.” Indeed, “If people can fill out the heart that does not wish to harm others, their humanity will be inexhaustible.”

The simplicity with which Mencius articulated his thesis that moral goodness is innate because of the affectivity of the human heart-and-mind is predicated on an anthropocosmic vision. Most moral philosophers and ethicists in Confucian studies ignore this aspect of Mencian thought and refuse to acknowledge that it has any contemporary relevance. I would suggest that we take it seriously as an integral part of Mencius’s argument that there is an innate sense of morality. Furthermore, the innate sense of morality is much more than a sense of right and wrong. It is a defining characteristic of humanity and the ultimate justification that self-cultivation is not merely an imposition from society, but recovery of our original heart-and-mind and discovery that our original heart-and-mind is individually, socially, and cosmically significant.

The assumptive reason may sound naïve to our sophisticated and highly discriminating mind, but I believe that it suggests a holistic humanism pertinent to our joint venture: rethinking the human.

This is predicated on a few assumptions relevant to rethinking the human in general and innate morality in particular:

  1. First is the idea of the “continuity of being.” In this view the human is connected with all modalities of being: minerals, plants, and animals. If we probe deeply to find some linkages, the human is part of a continuum. But the uniqueness of being human is qualitatively different from all other modalities of being. The defining characteristics of the human are not reducible to any of the properties that have become constitutive parts of the human condition. For example, the Warring States period Confucian philosopher Xunzi observed: “Fire and water possess energy but are without life. Grass and trees have life but no consciousness and feeling. Birds and beasts have consciousness and feeling but no sense of rightness (morality). The human possesses energy, life, consciousness, and feeling, and in addition, a sense of rightness.”
  2. Creationism or evolutionism may make a profoundly significant difference in understanding the origins of human nature, but for the Confucians, it is the structure of the human here and now rather than the genetic reasons that have made it that is the focus of their investigation. The uniqueness of the human, whether created or evolved, is intimately connected with Heaven, Earth, and the myriad things.
  3. The primary concern is to discover and recover the rich resources for human self-knowledge, especially those that seem not to have been derived from social conditioning. We should try to understand and appreciate the depth and breadth of the innate capacities possessed by all humans.
  4. The innate capacity for the human to develop a moral sense is part of a much more elaborate and complicated picture. It is unlikely that reductionist definitions, such as the human being as a rational animal, tool user, or endowed with linguistic ability, will capture the full measure of the way of being human.
  5. Although ethics deals with the relationship between individuality and sociality, morality, as Confucians understand it, must be conceived in cosmological as well anthropological terms. The full manifestation of humanity must transcend anthropocentrism.
  6. The “anthropocosmic” idea is predicated on a holistic and integrated humanism, substantially different from secular humanism. Morality, the way to learn to be human, must be rooted in nature and extended to Heaven.
  7. Heaven features prominently in this discourse. Morality as an innate quality is inconceivable without constant reference to Heaven. Heaven is creativity in itself, but the advent of the human has made a difference. The human as a cocreator imitates but also participates in Heaven’s creativity.
  8. Heaven cannot be conceived merely in naturalistic terms. As the Heavenly Way is encoded in human nature, what the human does affects Heaven as well. Morality conceived as a defining characteristic of learning to be human must be extended beyond individuality and sociality to embody a larger universe.


The “anthropocosmic” vision presupposes a unity  between anthropological and cosmological perceptions on the human condition. In the language of the Book of Change, the cosmos is never a static structure, but rather is a dynamic process. In its constant unfolding, it always generates new realities by creatively transforming the existing order.

Learning to be human in the cosmic sense is to learn to emulate Heaven’s creativity, which is open, dynamic, transformative, and unceasing. Whether we came into being by the mysterious design of a transcendent reality or through a persistent evolutionary process, we find an intimate niche in the cosmos as our ultimate source and meaning of life. We are here not as mere creatures but as cocreators endowed with the intelligence and wisdom of apprehending Heaven as creativity in itself. We are entrusted, individually and communally, with the duty to realize, through self-cultivation, both our aesthetic ability to appreciate the wonderful presentation of Heaven’s resourcefulness and our moral power to actively continue Heaven’s great work. The ancient Chinese saying “Heaven engenders; human completes” symbolizes the spirit of this “anthropocosmic” vision.

We are here not as mere creatures but as cocreators endowed with the intelligence and wisdom of apprehending Heaven as creativity in itself.

Heaven so conceived is omnipresent and omniscient, but it is not omnipotent. To insist on Heaven’s omnipotence without any reference to human participation is misleading. An unintended negative consequence of this is the abdication of human responsibility in the maintenance of universal order. Human beings can, through their own personal cultivation, actively take part in Heaven’s creativity. They are also capable of committing grave mistakes contrary to the Heavenly virtue of generativity and vitality, damaging to themselves and detrimental to the environment around them. Human beings may survive all natural catastrophes, but they can definitely be destroyed by their own doing. Man-made disasters, beyond Heaven’s power to prevent them, are the real reason for raising doubts about the viability of the human species.

The uniqueness of being human is our inner ability to learn to become worthy partners of the cosmic process. This is predicated on the assumptive reason that we are empowered to apprehend Heaven through our self-knowledge. As Mencius avows, if we can realize the full measure of our heart-and-mind, we will know our nature; if we know our nature, we will know Heaven. Surely existentially, we cannot fully realize our heart-and-mind, and thus, in practical terms, it is unlikely that we will ever know our nature in itself and, by implication, it is unlikely that we will ever know Heaven in its entirety. But in theory and to a certain extent in practice, we can be attuned to the Way of Heaven; specifically, through our persistent moral endeavor, we can realize a sympathetic resonance with the world around us.

Understandably, the highest manifestation of self-realization is the “unity of Heaven and humanity.” Yet, we must acknowledge the asymmetry in the Heaven-human relationship. Although Heaven is creativity in itself, human beings learn to be creative through moral effort. Heaven’s genuineness is naturally brilliant, whereas human beings at their best struggle to become true to themselves by means of their knowledge and wisdom. Yet, as cocreators, human beings can carry the Way in the world on behalf of Heaven. They are obligated, by their own nature, to realize the Way in their lifeworld. In so doing, the Way is no longer out there as mere transcendence with no intimate relationship to human existence here and now. Rather, it is embodied in the common experience of everyday life, making ordinary people, without necessarily being aware of its far-reaching implications, personally connected with Heaven. Surely there is a transcendent dimension of Heaven beyond human comprehension, but Heaven is also immanent in human nature.

Since human flourishing has cosmological as well as anthropo-logical significance, self-realization is a cosmic as well as a social and psychological idea. Human aspirations to unite with Heaven are not a demonstration of hubris. Nor is the human hope for Heaven’s responsiveness a justification for self-aggrandizement. The promise that humanity in its all-embracing fullness is cosmically significant prompts a sense of responsibility.

Heaven is the ultimate authority for human worth and the primary source of human life, but the active participation of the human is essential for the sustainability of Heaven’s creativity in the lifeworld. Learning for the sake of the self involves a deepening as well as a broadening process. The depth of self-knowledge is unreachable by social praxis alone. No matter how subtle and expansive our social involvement, there is a dimension of the self that can never be fully comprehended by referring to human relations. As a center of relationships, its centrality is accessible only by self-knowledge.

The body itself serves as an example. It is not a given, but an attainment. As an attainment, it is not merely the result of sociality but also the result of persistent conscious effort. The body’s individuality is profoundly personal. As the comparative philosopher Eliot Deutsch insists, we do not own our body, we become our body. In short, the singularity and uniqueness of the individual is taken for granted. Mencius offers a classical articulation of this insight: “Our body and complexion are given to us by Heaven. Only a sage can give his body completion.” Thus the way to sagehood can be perceived as a process of authenticating our body. Indeed, our mind, soul, and spirit are all embodied in the deep structure of who we are. They can become refined manifestations of selfhood because they radiate from the core of our nature. Again, Mencius’s idea of moral excellence is worth quoting:

The desirable is called “good.”
To have it in oneself is called “true.”
To possess it fully in oneself is called “beautiful.”
To shine forth with this full possession is called “great.”
To be great and be transformed by this greatness is called “sage.”
To be sage and to transcend the understanding is called “spiritual.”

What is the contemporary relevance of this meditation on the self? How does the inseparability of individuality and sociality informed by an anthropocosmic vision address the question of innate sense of morality?

Our heart-and-mind is capable of feeling, willing, knowing, and sensing. It defines the “great body,” at least in terms of its sprouts, inherent in every human being. Take one example as an illustration. There is nothing in the cosmos that is totally irrelevant to the feeling capacity of the heart/mind. Neither a distant star nor a blade of grass, not to mention human affairs, is out-side the scope of the sensitivity of the heart/mind. In principle and often in practice, its capacity for responding to all things is unlimited. It is not the result of wild imagination that Mencius asserts that “all the ten thousand things are there in me.” True to the Mencian spirit, the eminent Ming dynasty philosopher Wang Yangming observed that the human forms one body with Heaven, Earth, and the myriad things. He further insisted that “forming one body with Heaven, Earth, and the myriad things” is a human capacity realizable by every person in ordinary daily existence. Often, it manifests itself in situations that are easily recognized. Wang Yangming demonstrated this capacity by a series of concrete examples. Our reactions to a child about to fall into a well, animals trembling with fear before they are slaughtered, trees cut down, and mountains denuded may vary in emotional intensity in evoking our responses, but in different ways they all affect us. We are, consciously or unconsciously, connected to community, nature, and the cosmos. By implication, Wang maintained that the full realization of humanity requires that we are rooted in our body, community, nation, the world, and indeed the cosmos.

This move from the concrete to the general rejects both closed particularism and abstract universalism. The negotiation is between personal rootedness and public-spiritedness. The authentic possibility of such negotiation is predicated on the mutual intelligibility and potential complementarity of self and society. To be personal is not to be private. Although I normally choose not to disclose my private thoughts, I often feel impelled to share values that I personally cherish. A personal identity that remains open, acknowledges plurality, and practices self-examination can help to move, at least conceptually, from the private to the public. The reasoning may be stated as follows: I must take care of myself, but I am private, my family is public; I must take care of my family, but my family is private, the community is public. To continue with this line of thinking, the community is private, the nation is public; the nation is private, the global village is public; the global village is private, the cosmos as a whole is public. Public-spiritedness for individuals, communities, nations, and the global village requires that we overcome not only egoism, nepotism, parochialism, and nationalism, but that we overcome anthropocentrism as well.

We cannot but be rooted in our lived concreteness. Yet, rootedness is not an excuse for closed particularism or, worse, chauvinistic exclusivism. As a concrete living person here and now, we are connected with an ever-changing network of relationships. This connectedness compels us to recognize that we are flowing streams rather than deserted islands. To use a Mencian metaphor, this is analogous to digging a well: getting the spring water through deepening self-knowledge is a proper way of true communication. Only if we deeply immerse ourselves in self-understanding will we benefit from the flowing stream beneath to enrich our ways of life through human-relatedness.

The recognition of and respect for the other is a point of departure for entering a fruitful relationship. The spirit of reciprocity should pervade all human interactions. The golden rule stated in the negative, which is Jewish as well as Confucian, “Do not do unto others what you would not want others to do unto you,” is based on a self-awareness that the integrity of the other takes precedence over the desire to establish a relationship in one’s own terms. This spirit of reciprocity should be augmented by a positive charge: “in order to establish myself, I must help others to establish themselves; in order to enlarge myself, I must help others to enlarge themselves.”

This dialogical mode is applied to nature and Heaven as well. In the spirit of dialogue, nature is, in Thomas Berry’s felicitous expression, “a communion of subjects,” rather than “a collection of objects.” Nature is the mother earth enabling us to survive, grow, and flourish.

The Han dynasty Confucian thinker Dong Zhongshu identified three great roots: Heaven is the root of creativity, Earth is the root of nourishment, and humanity is the root of completion. Song dynasty philosopher Zhang Zai’s Western Inscription, a foundational text in Neo-Confucianism, begins with a similar idea: “Heaven is my father and earth is my mother. Even such a tiny existence as I finds an intimate niche in their midst. That which fills the universe I take as my body and that which directs the universe I take as my nature. All people are my brothers and sisters and all things are my companions.” We learn to return to our human nature by discovering our interconnectedness with Heaven, Earth, and the myriad things. We also learn that our “great body” is great because of this capacity for interconnectedness. Based upon this anthropocosmic insight, Mencius proposed a moral way of life:

A person, in giving full realization to his heart-and-mind, knows his nature; knowing his nature, he knows Heaven. By preserving his heart-and-mind and nurturing his nature, he serves Heaven. Whether he will die young or live to a ripe old age makes no difference to his singlemindedness. He cultivates himself and waits for death. This is how he stands firm in his destiny.

The Doctrine of the Mean (Zhongyong), an important source for Mencius’s worldview, explicitly states that the human’s self-realization is more than personally meaningful and socially valuable. It is cosmically significant as well:

Only those who are the most sincere (true and authentic) can realize their own nature. If they can realize their own nature, they can realize the nature of others. If they can realize the nature of others, they can realize the nature of things. If they can realize the nature of things, they can take part in the transforming and nourishing process of Heaven and Earth. If they can take part in the transforming and nourishing process of Heaven and Earth, they can form a trinity with Heaven and Earth.

This is perhaps the underlying reason that Confucius stated that “humanity can make the Way great; the Way cannot make the human great.” Lest this be construed as an anthropocentric assertion about human hubris, what Confucius believed in is human potential, promise, and responsibility. A salient feature of Confucian humanism, unlike modern secular and anthropocentric humanism, is its necessary connection with Heaven and Earth. Humanism, as Confucians would have it, is neither despirited nor denatured. In theory and in practice, it is rooted in the spiritual realm and grounded in the natural world.

Our innate sense of being connected in a sympathetic resonance with Heaven, Earth, and the myriad things may very well be our deepest and commonest source of morality.

Tu Weiming is Harvard-Yenching Professor of Chinese History and Philosophy and of Confucian Studies at Harvard University and director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute. This article has been adapted from “Sociality, Individuality, and Anthropocosmic Vision in Confucian Humanism,” Polishing the Chinese Mirror: Essays in Honor of Henry Rosemont, Jr. in Association of Chinese Philosophers of America and Open Court (Global Scholarly Publications, 2008). He presented this version at the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School, on March 19, 2008, as part of the center’s series “Rethinking the Human.”

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