“Relational Rationality” and Real “Community”

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.6, 2015


“Relational Rationality” and Real “Community”



He Lai


The contradiction between subjective rationality and sense of commonality is the profound antinomy of modernity. This underlying predicament of modernity requires that philosophy reflect deeply on and rebuild the concept of rationality. The new rationality cannot be “objective rationality” based on an abstract “community,” or “subjective rationality” relying on abstract “individuals”; instead, it should be a “relational rationality” that transcends both. The establishment of the concept of “subjectivity for others” under the basic principle of relational rationality sets down a fundamental intellectual precondition for overcoming the contradiction between subjective rationality and sense of commonality. The philosophical self-consciousness of relational rationality involves both the deepening of self-understanding and the recalibration of the intellectual tasks and value concerns of philosophy. For Chinese, Western and Marxist philosophy, this should involve encouraging interpersonal unity and at the same time advancing the development of the individual’s free personality. On this basis, our pursuit of a real “community” should become a self-conscious philosophical awareness and value concern. This constitutes an important growth point for dialogue and integration between Chinese, Western and Marxist philosophy.