<i>Agon</i> and <i>Hé</i>: Contest and Harmony

David B. Wong

in Ethics in Early China

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9789888028931
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9789882209800 | DOI:
Agon and Hé: Contest and Harmony

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This chapter considers two values that are usually taken to be in tension with each other: the value of agon or contest, a central value of Greek classical culture, and the value of or harmony, a central value of Chinese classical culture. The association of these values with the Greek and Chinese traditions respectively leads to contrasts between the “combative individualism of the West” and the “harmonious social humanism of China.” Agon and are often taken to be mutually exclusive. However, the chapter argues that contest and harmony co-exist in both the Greek and Chinese moral traditions, because these values not only exist in tension with one another but also mutually imply one another. The Greek and Chinese traditions differ in the prominence given to contest in the former and to harmony in the latter, but the other value given less prominence is still present in each tradition.

Keywords: agon; Greek classical culture; ; harmony; Chinese classical culture

Chapter.  9114 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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