'Cultural Additivity' and How the Values and Norms of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism Co-Exist, Interact, and Influence Vietnamese Society: A Bayesian Analysis of Long-Standing Folktales, Using R and Stan

WUH-ISR Working Paper 1801 (Centre for Interdisciplinary Social Research)

36 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2018 Last revised: 21 Mar 2018

Quan Hoang Vuong

Centre Emile Bernheim (SBS-EM; ULB); Vuong & Associates

Tung Ho

Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences - Institute of Philosophy

Viet-Phuong La

Vuong & Associates

Dam Nhue

National Economics University, Hanoi

Quang-Khiem Bui

(NEU) National Economics University of Vietnam

Nghiem Phu Kien Cuong

Vuong & Associates

Thu-Trang Vuong

Vuong & Associates

Manh-Toan Ho

Vuong & Associates; Thanh Tay University

Hong Kong Nguyen

Toan Viet Info Service

Ha Nguyen

Vietnam Panorama Media Monitoring

Hiep-Hung Pham

Chinese Culture University

Nancy K. Napier

Boise State University - College of Business & Economics

Date Written: March 4, 2018

Abstract

Every year, the Vietnamese people reportedly burned about 50,000 tons of joss papers, which took the form of not only bank notes, but iPhones, cars, clothes, even housekeepers, in hope of pleasing the dead. The practice was mistakenly attributed to traditional Buddhist teachings but originated in fact from China, which most Vietnamese were not aware of. In other aspects of life, there were many similar examples of Vietnamese so ready and comfortable with adding new norms, values, and beliefs, even contradictory ones, to their culture. This phenomenon, dubbed “cultural additivity,” prompted us to study the co-existence, interaction, and influences among core values and norms of the Three Teachings – Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism – as shown through Vietnamese folktales. By applying Bayesian logistic regression, we evaluated the possibility of whether the key message of a story was dominated by a religion (dependent variables), as affected by the appearance of values and anti-values pertaining to the Three Teachings in the story (independent variables). Our main findings included the existence of the cultural additivity of Confucian and Taoist values. More specifically, empirical results showed that the interaction or addition of the values of Taoism and Confucianism in folktales together helped predict whether the key message of a story was about Confucianism, β_{VT⋅VC} =0.86. Meanwhile, there was no such statistical tendency for Buddhism. The results lead to a number of important implications. First, this showed the dominance of Confucianism because the fact that Confucian and Taoist values appeared together in a story led to the story’s key message dominated by Confucianism. Thus, it presented the evidence of Confucian dominance and against liberal interpretations of the concept of the Common Roots of Three Religions (“tam giáo đồng nguyên”) as religious unification or unicity. Second, the concept of “cultural additivity” could help explain many interesting socio-cultural phenomena, namely the absence of religious intolerance and extremism in the Vietnamese society, outrageous cases of sophistry in education, the low productivity in creative endeavors like science and technology, the misleading branding strategy in business. We are aware that our results are only preliminary and more studies, both theoretical and empirical, must be carried out to give a full account of the explanatory reach of “cultural additivity.”

Keywords: Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Three Religions, cultural additivity, Vietnamese culture, folktales, social norms, values, beliefs, ideals

JEL Classification: A13, M14

Suggested Citation

Vuong, Quan Hoang and Ho, Tung and La, Viet-Phuong and Nhue, Dam and Bui, Quang-Khiem and Cuong, Nghiem Phu Kien and Vuong, Thu-Trang and Ho, Manh-Toan and Nguyen, Hong Kong and Nguyen, Ha and Pham, Hiep-Hung and Napier, Nancy K., 'Cultural Additivity' and How the Values and Norms of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism Co-Exist, Interact, and Influence Vietnamese Society: A Bayesian Analysis of Long-Standing Folktales, Using R and Stan (March 4, 2018). WUH-ISR Working Paper 1801 (Centre for Interdisciplinary Social Research). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3134541 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3134541

Quan Hoang Vuong (Contact Author)

Centre Emile Bernheim (SBS-EM; ULB) ( email )

ULB CP 145/01
21 Ave. F.D. Roosevelt
Brussels 1050
Belgium
+32-2-6504864 (Phone)
+32-2-6504188 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.solvay.edu/profile/dr-vuong-quan-hoang

Vuong & Associates ( email )

3/161 Thinh Quang
Dong Da District
Hanoi, Hanoi
Vietnam
+84-4-37738654 (Phone)
+84-4-37738653 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.vuongassociates.com

Tung Ho

Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences - Institute of Philosophy ( email )

1 Lieu Glai
Ba Dinh
Hanoi
Vietnam

Viet-Phuong La

Vuong & Associates ( email )

3/161 Thinh Quang
Dong Da District
Hanoi, 100000
Vietnam

Nhue Dam

National Economics University, Hanoi ( email )

Giai Phong Road
Hai Ba Trung District
Hanoi, Hanoi 10000
Vietnam

HOME PAGE: http://www.neu.edu.vn

Quang-Khiem Bui

(NEU) National Economics University of Vietnam ( email )

207 Giai phong Road
Hai Ba Trung District
Hanoi, Hanoi 10000
Vietnam

Nghiem Phu Kien Cuong

Vuong & Associates ( email )

3/161 Thinh Quang
Dong Da District
Hanoi, 100000
Vietnam

Thu-Trang Vuong

Vuong & Associates ( email )

3/161 Thinh Quang
Dong Da District
Hanoi, 100000
Vietnam

Manh-Toan Ho

Vuong & Associates ( email )

3/161 Thinh Quang
Dong Da District
Hanoi, 100000
Vietnam

Thanh Tay University ( email )

Hanoi
Vietnam

Hong Kong Nguyen

Toan Viet Info Service ( email )

D4 Giang Vo
Ba Dinh
Hanoi
Vietnam

Ha Nguyen

Vietnam Panorama Media Monitoring ( email )

D4 Giang Vo
Ba Dinh
Hanoi
Vietnam

Hiep-Hung Pham

Chinese Culture University ( email )

Yaipei, 111
Taiwan

Nancy K. Napier

Boise State University - College of Business & Economics ( email )

1910 University Drive
Boise, ID 83725
United States
208 426-1314 (Phone)
208 426-3637 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://cobe.boisestate.edu/graduate/faculty/VITAES/html%20format/Nancy%20Napier.htm

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