Western Philosophy of History and Confucianism

In order to compare ideas of history in different cultures, the cultural traditions from which these ideas originated and developed must be considered. The teleological approach, which tends to characterize past historical culture from a modern perspective, must be avoided. There are, however, three major differences between Chinese and Western ideas of history. The first is religious. Unlike Confucianism that searches for an ideal past, the Judeo-Christian tradition believes in the fulfillment of history, which was translated into the idea of progress in the modern age. The second concerns the sociopolitical influence in historical writing. In contrast to the Chinese tradition in which history was often an official enterprise, Western historiography appeared pluralistic and critical. The third is that in the Western tradition, systematic logic and rational thinking characterized the conception of history, whereas in China, rational and scientific thinking is more or less a modern development.