Coming from a more comparative point of view as far as Theology of Religions and Interreligious Studies are concerned – though to a certain extent as well as a pluralist in the sense of hope for universal understanding and well-being – I want to ask how Interreligious and Intercultural Hermeneutics are a necessary tool when we try to set up minimal standards for a Global Ethics in the reality of nowadays multicultural societies. I introduce for Ethics as well as for Hermeneutics the concept of ‘Responsible Interim’ – the latter reflecting the fact that human beings do have universals only under the ‘eschatological reserve’ (in Christian terminology), as ‘Suchness in Emptiness’ (in Buddhist terminology). I will proceed from universal truth questions and more general questions of philosophy of religion towards questions of cultural i.e. religious contexts shaping ethical and religious view(s) and convictions. Can smallest common denominators be found? How does legal rule help to establish and keep them? How does society, how do individuals change by starting from a spiritual, creative and holistic and maybe even transpersonal point of view – a view of co-creation and incarnatio continua in religious, i.e. in Christian terminology again?
This paper consists of two parts. The first deals with the issue of whether it is possible to coherently employ the term ‘critical Confucian’ in general, i.e. whether it is a paradox or oxymoron. It will be argued that Confucianism should not be identified with any particular ideology and, therefore, can be critical. This critical potential, in turn, can be developed by bringing it into dialogue with Critical Theory. As such, the second part indicates, in an introductory way, some possible overlaps between Confucianism and Critical Theory by comparing Heiner Roetz’s and Axel Honneth’s respective interpretations of these traditions.
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