This thesis attempts to analyse and evaluate several interpretations of the Confucian Analects under the light of Gadamerian hermeneutics. In chapter 1, I explicate Gadamerian hermeneutics and analyse Gadamer’s hermeneutical view. In chapter 2, I introduce a challenge to Gadamer’s theory regarding the problem of objectivity, give Gadamer a limited defence, and then reconstruct Gadamerian hermeneutics in order to answer the challenge. Chapter 3 deals with some further concerns about the application of Gadamerian hermeneutics in terms of evaluating interpretations. Chapter 4 and 5 are spent on analysing two groups of interpretations of the Confucian Analects as well as the interpreters’ hermeneutical views. The first group consists of Zhu Xi, a scholar in the Song dynasty. The second group consists of three Qing scholars – Mao Qiling, Gu Yanwu, Liu Baonan – and three English-speaking translators – Roger Ames, Edward Slingerland, and Robert Eno. Conclusive evaluations of the two groups of interpretations are made in chapter 6.


Thomson, Garrett

Second Advisor

Bonk, James


East Asian Studies; Philosophy


Asian History | Chinese Studies | Comparative Philosophy | Continental Philosophy | Epistemology


Hermeneutics, Confucianism

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



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