and Culture Review
VOLUME 4 ·Number 1 ·March 2017
·Special Theme: Mutual Interactions between Western Philosophers
and Chinese Culture·
4 Introduction to the Special Theme
5 The Axial Age and China: Mutual Interactions
15 Fukuyama’s Limitations from the Perspective of Chinese Culture
29 The Gongfu Ethics of Wang Yangming’s Theory of the Heart-Mind
and the Reconstruction of Values
·Overseas Confucian Studies·
41 Interpretations of Zhu Xi’s Ideas in Korean Confucianism
·Studies of Mencius·
50 The Conceptual Structure of Intuitive Knowledge in
Mencius’s Mind–Nature Ethics
60 Mencius’s Idea of an Inherently Good Human Nature and
the Dual Meaning of the Faculty of Mind–Nature
68 Rite-Based Education as a Central Theme of Zhang Zai’s
80 Huang Zongxi’s Argument Concerning Mencius 2A:6 in
My Teacher Comments on the Mencius
89 A Confucian Slippery Slope Argument
Michael Harrington (USA)
102 Lo Kuang and Mou Zongsan’s Variant Understandings of Confucianism
Main articles Abstract
The Axial Age and China: Mutual Interactions
Abstract: Jaspers’s organizing of the civilization of the Axial Age is, to a great extent, based on his investigation of how the three civilizations of China, India, and Greece attained das Umgreifende in human history. In reaching this ultimate stage, Chinese thought brought Jaspers great enlightenment. This paper investigates the role that Chinese resources played when Jaspers was forming his idea of the Axial Age. It traces the origin of Jaspers’s Chinese resources and tries to prove that without the involvement of Chinese thought, the idea of the Axial Age would not have come into being. On the other hand, by means of its representation through this great existentialist, Chinese thought becomes more vivid, thus better meeting the needs of the times. This paper also introduces and discusses the different responses Jaspers’s works have aroused since they entered China. Through this interesting comparison the author hopes to illustrate what kind of changes the ideas may have in the course of their circulation.
Keywords: Jaspers, Axial Age, Chinese thought, Confucius
Li Xuetao is professor and doctorate supervisor of the Institute for Global History at Beijing Foreign Studies University.
Fukuyama’s Limitations from the Perspective of Chinese Culture
Abstract: Human history does not develop linearly but it exhibits pluralism and parallelism, each with its own cultural traits and dynamism. Human history cannot end with Christian culture as was imagined by Hegel and Fukuyama. Song–Ming Neo-Confucianism has long since proposed the ideal Chinese social order, that is, to arouse “human compassion” in the social elites, on the basis of which people-oriented principles of virtuous rule are to be constructed. Through constant innovation and absorption of the merits of Western democracy, Chinese culture will have a bright future.
Keywords: West-centrism, monistic conception of history, all under heaven being common, Chinese culture, social order
Xie Youtian is distinguished professor of Sichuan University and former research fellow of Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
The Gongfu Ethics of Wang Yangming’s Theory of
the Heart-Mind and the Reconstruction of Values
Abstract: The fact that Wang Yangming uses the concept of gongfu to summarize what his theory is all about is highly significant. The core of his theory is zhi liangzhi (implementing one’s pre-reflective conscience). If we take a person’s pre-reflective conscience as the ontological basis of his gongfu, we may say that the effects generated through the implementation justifies it as the foundation of morality. The gongfu ethics entailed in the theory is the most characteristic and valuable part of Confucian ethics. This paper will articulate the main ideas of gongfu ethics and explore the significance of Wang Yangming in regards to the reconstruction of contemporary moral values through three central theses of Wang Yangming’s theory of the heart-mind: (1) The principle of Heaven flows, my human nature is adequate; (2) one body, different roots, ten-thousand things are one; (3) knowledge and action are unified, regulating affairs by implementing one’s knowledge.
Keywords: Wang Yangming, gongfu, gongfu ethics, the learning of the heart-mind
Ni Peimin is Professor of the Department of Philosophy at Grand Valley State University, USA and Executive Vice-President of the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Peking University.
Interpretations of Zhu Xi’s Ideas in Korean Confucianism
Abstract: Taking Zhu Xi as its mainstream representative, Korean Confucianism is generally divided into two schools: the School of Li (principle) and the School of Qi (vital force). While different from each other, they are also different from Chinese Confucianism after the Song–Ming period in their interpretation of Zhu Xi, and they have also come to supplement the present-day New Confucian analysis of Zhu Xi. In this paper, their different interpretations are incorporated with relevant ideas of Kant’s moral philosophy, in response to Mou Zongsan’s claim that Zhu Xi has developed a heteronomic ethics and, being a “stepson,” usurped the place of orthodoxy in the Confucian lineage.
Keywords: Korean Confucianism, School of Qi, School of Li, Zhu Xi, interpretation, Kant, moral philosophy
Yang Cho-hon is professor and doctoral supervisor of the Department of Chinese Literature at National Central University.
The Conceptual Structure of Intuitive Knowledge in Mencius’s Mind–Nature Ethics
Abstract: Intuitive knowledge (liangzhi) is the basis for Mencius’s theory of human nature, as it binds together major concepts like mind (xin), human nature (xing), human feelings (qing), and principle (li) that are closely linked with its conceptual structure. In Mencius’s doctrine, intuitive knowledge refers to humanity’s original moral mind, manifests itself as filial love and fraternal respect (xiao-ti), and also denotes the highest expression of benevolence and righteousness (ren-yi). According to Mencius, “feelings are the manifestations of human nature, while human nature is the originating substance of feelings.” This paper analyzes the logic of Mencius’s arguments according to the conceptual structure of mind–feelings–nature to demonstrate the foundational role of intuitive knowledge, and that the composition of this structure is what establishes Mencius’s doctrine on human nature.
Keywords: Mencius, mind, human nature, feelings, intuitive knowledge, ethics, structure
Guo Xiaolin, PhD, is an instructor of the College of Philosophy and Social Development at Guizhou University, and a guest researcher with the Research Institute of Traditional Chinese Culture at Confucius Academy.
Mencius’s Idea of an Inherently Good Human Natu re and
the Dual Meaning of the Faculty of Mind–Nature
Abstract: Mencius used the term cai (the faculty of mind–nature) primarily in two senses. On the one hand, he referred to cai as an innate, common, universal and stable faculty possessed by all human beings, which emphasizes that it is an inborn basis for morality, whereby humankind can spontaneously choose to do what is good and virtuous. In that sense, it is an a priori conception of human nature as inherently good. On the other hand, Mencius used cai as an acquired quality, being different in individuals and unstable in one’s life experience, so that virtues such as benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom could only be attained by personal preservation and cultivation. That is, the inherently good human nature has to be nurtured and cultivated by moral praxis.
Keywords: Mencius, faculty of mind–nature, cai, inherent goodness of human nature
Li Shiping, PhD, is a lecturer at the Philosophy Department of the Party School of Xi’an Municipal Committee of CPC.
Rite-Based Education as a Central Theme of Zhang Zai’s Educational Philosophy
Abstract: Zhang Zai is best known for his advocacy of rites, as he developed a distinctive thought on Confucian rites. He considered ritual study to be the primary purpose/theme in his educational philosophy and teaching practice, which is known as “rite-based education.” This paper sketches the movement of encouraging education in the Northern Song dynasty, takes it as the background where Zhang developed his philosophy of education, and probes into the rite-based principles of Zhang’s philosophy and its practical functions in nurturing peoples’ moral character and improving social custom by advocating rites.
Keywords: Zhang Zai, rite-based, philosophy of education, nurturing moral character, promoting social custom by practicing rites
Lin Lechang is professor and PhD supervisor in Chinese philosophy of the Department of Philosophy at Shaanxi Normal University.
Huang Zongxi’s Argument Concerning Mencius 2A:6 in
My Teacher Comments on the Mencius
Abstract: Huang Zongxi’s arguments in his My Teacher Comments on the Mencius are mainly directed at Zhu Xi’s ideas. Huang believed that three key points are expounded in Mencius 2A:6: (1) the goodness of inherent nature and the mind of compassion are illustrated by the case of “seeing a child about to fall into a well”; (2) the mind of compassion is the beginning of benevolence; and (3) effort is needed for its expansion. However, Zhu Xi’s interpretation of this chapter conveys only two key points: (1) the feeling of compassion is the beginning of benevolence, while the mind dominates inherent nature and feeling; and (2) the full extent of original virtue can be restored through expansion. Providing ample supporting materials, Huang attempted to refute Zhu’s interpretation and return to Mencius’s original intentions. Huang’s philosophies of the mind and qi serve as an indispensable link in interpretations of the Mencius, and played the role of inheriting the past and ushering in the future in the transition from the Ming to the Qing dynasty.
Keywords: Four Beginnings of Humanity, (virtues) rooted in the mind, expansion, inherent nature, virtue
Cai Jiahe is professor of the Department of Philosophy at Tunghai University.
A Confucian Slippery Slope Argument
Abstract: The Song and Ming dynasty Confucians make frequent use of what would today be identified as a slippery slope argument. The Book of Changes and its early commentaries provide both the language and the rationale for this argument, inasmuch as the Confucians regard these texts as a method for identifying tiny problems that will one day threaten the state. While today the slippery slope argument is often criticized for promoting an unreasoned resistance to change, a close look at its use by Confucians reveals that they largely avoid this criticism, using the argument in a reasoned way to target not change, but excess.
Keywords: slippery slope argument, hairsbreadth argument, Mozi, Yang Zhu, Cheng Hao, Buddhists, Wang Yangming, Zhu Xi
Michael Harrington is associate professor of the Philosophy Department at Duquesne University, Pennsylvania, USA.
Lo Kuang and Mou Zongsan’s Variant Understandings of Confucianism
Abstract: Twentieth-century Chinese philosophy for the most part interpreted Confucianism from a Chinese–Western comparative perspective and pursued a modern reconstruction of traditional Confucianism. Its interpretive trends included both metaphysical and anti-metaphysical approaches, and within the former, two representative figures were Stanislaus Lo Kuang and Mou Zongsan. They adopted the standpoints of Scholastic philosophy and Song–Ming Confucianism respectively and hence came to define Confucian metaphysics very differently. This essay attempts to appraise Lo’s and Mou’s interpretive differences through the analysis and explication of particular texts.
Keywords: metaphysics, interpretations of Confucianism, Lo Kuang, Mou Zongsan
Liao Xiaowei, Doctor of Philosophy, is a lecturer of the Department of Philosophy at Huazhong University of Science and Technology.