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The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 3, 1999

Philosophy of Education

Tu Wei-ming
Pages 27-39

Self-Cultivation as Education Embodying Humanity

The primary purpose of Confucian education is character-building, and the starting point and source of inspiration for character-building is self-cultivation. This deceptively simple assertion is predicated on the vision of the human as a learner, who is endowed with the authentic possibility of transforming given structural constraints into dynamic processes of self-realization. The true function of education as characterbuilding is learning to be human. Paideia or humanitas is, in its core concern, educating the art of embodiment. Through embodiment we realize ourselves (body, mind-heart, soul, and spirit) in community, nature, and Heaven.