and Culture Review
VOLUME 4 ·Number 2 ·June 2017
·Special Theme: Regional Confucian Studies·
4 Introduction to the Special Theme
6 On the Principal Spirit of Shuxue
Shu Dagang and You Xiaoxiao
21 Historical Changes and Connotations in the Appellation of Xiangxue
30 Zhang Zai’s Doctrine of Daxin Tiwu and the Rationalist Tradition of Confucianism
Tian Wenjun and Wei Bing’e
40 ‘No Philosophy in China’: A Rebuttal Based on Epistemic Paradigms
50 True Nature and Sprouts of Goodness: Zhuangzi’s and Mencius’s Thoughts on Human Nature
64 A Comparative Study of Criticism of Liu Xin’s Old Text Confucianism and The Forged Classics of the Wang Mang Period
Huang Kaiguo and Huang Zijian
71 Institutional Reform in the Early Han Dynasty and the Rise of Gongyang Commentary Studies
79 Pre-Institutional Confucianism: Existence, Transformation, and Modern Inspiration
·Traditional Chinese Eco-Philosophy·
82 Ecological Implications of the Confucian ‘Unity of Heaven and Human’
91 The History and Trends of Buddhist Eco-Philosophy Research
106 Wang Yangming’s ‘Instructions for Disciples at Longchang’ and Its Significance to Educational Philosophy
Main articles Abstract
On the Principal Spirit of Shuxue
Abstract: The principal tenets of Shuxue co nsist of a belief system based on the concepts of sancai huang (the “three-power sovereigns”) and wuse di (“five-colored emperors”); the metaphysical concepts of yin-y ang, sancai (Three Powers), and wuxing (Five Elements); the core values of dao-de-ren-yi-li (the Way, virtue, benevolence, righteousness, and rites); the system of classics evolving from the Seven Classics, to the Thirteen Classics, and to the Eighteen Classics; and the ethical precept of xiao-ti (filial piety and fraternal affections). The present paper attempts to make an in-depth inquiry into the intellectual spirit of Shuxue, an evaluation of its contributions to Confucianism, and a suggestion of its advancement in the future. It will shed light on the development of traditional Chinese culture by inheriting the Shuxue spirit of tolerance and innovation, reinterpreting Confucian classics, and constructing a system of New Shuxue.
Keywords: Shuxue, Confucianism, principal spirit, core concept
Shu Dagang is professor and PhD supervisor of International Confucian Institute at Sichuan University, resident scholar at Guiyang Confucius Academy;
You Xiaoxiao is a research assistant for the All about Ba–Shu project of Sichuan University, resident postgraduate at Guiyang Confucius Academy.
Historical Changes and Connotations in the Appellation of Xiangxue
Abstract: Xiangxue is an intellectual and academic concept that has strong regional features, appearing at the heights of both the ancient and pre-modern periods. Ancient Xiangxue, first identified and named by Zhu Xi, was well known among scholars of the Southern Song dynasty. Zhu Xi referred to Xiangxue as the Huxiang School of Confucianism, which was initiated by Hu Anguo and promoted by Hu Hong. The concept of pre-modern Xiangxue or the pre-modern Huxiang School of Confucian Studies was proposed by Liang Qichao an d Li Xiaodan. Pre-modern Xiangxue was no longer limited to Neo-Confucianism and its major aims extended from the internal self-cultivation to humanistic pragmatism.
Keywords: Xiangxue, Hunan, Zhu Xi, humanistic pragmatism, Chinese intellectual history, Neo-Confucianism
Wang Lixin is professor of the School of Humanities at Shenzhen University.
Zhang Zai’s Doctrine of Daxin Tiwu and the Rationalist Tradition of Confucianism
Abstract: Zhang Zai has a unique understanding of the important role played by knowledge of the mind in any inquiry into the principle of things. Affirming that humans can gain access to the principle of things through their knowledge of the mind and its cognitive activities, Zhang systematically develops his doctrine of daxin tiwu (enlarging the mind and entering into all things). Zhang’s achievement carries forward the rationalist tradition of Confucian philosophy, and marks the high point of early Northern Song Neo-Confucianism in regard to the theory of knowledge.
Keywords: theory of knowledge, daxin tiwu, qiongshen zhihua, rationalism, Neo-Confucianism, epistemology, Zhang Zai
Tian Wenjun is professor and PhD supervisor of the School of Philosophy at Wuhan University;
Dr. Wei Bing’e is associate professor of the School of Politics at Chongqing Normal University.
‘No Philosophy in China’: A Rebuttal Based on Epistemic Paradigms
Abstract: Even though the charge that traditional China had no philosophy has been cast aside, it has had enduring effects within the world of Chinese thought and Chinese scholars have continually tried to refute and correct that impression. Perhaps the answer lies in the application by twentieth-century Chinese scholars of materialist, scientific, humanistic, and logical epistemic paradigms. Their efforts can prove that Chinese philosophy had not only its own categories and forms of abstract thought but also its own systems, and furthermore they can show that Chinese philosophy’s characteristic vagueness and interest in moral matters not only is not proof that China had no philosophy but on the contrary serves as evidence of Chinese philosophy’s special character.
Keywords: “No philosophy in China,” Hegel, epistemic paradigm, category, abs tract thought
Li Chenggui is professor and PhD supervisor of the Department of Philosophy at Nanjing University.
True Nature and Sprouts of Goodness: Zhuangzi’s and
Mencius’s Thoughts on Human Nature
Abstract: Zhuangzi and Mencius offered the most sophisticated reflections about human nature in pre-imperial China. Metaphysically, Zhuangzi shed revealing light on human nature from the theoretical perspective of dao, or the Way, asserting that there are differences between the phenomenal and noumenal self and between human nature and true nature, and that human nature was perfect and self-sufficient in terms of the noumenal self. Such assertions were metaphysically grounded in dao. In contrast, Mencius empirically demonstrated the existence of Four Sprouts constituting the basic elements of human nature. He believed that the Four Sprouts—benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom—originated from Heaven and remained within human nature, and that everyone should consciously take these Four Sprouts as their nature rather than their small self. The common ground shared by Zhuangzi and Mencius lay in the universal equality of human nature. Both went further, demonstrating the possibility of immanent transcendence based on the equality intrinsic to human nature.
Keywords: true nature, Four Sprouts, equality of human nature, immanent transcendence
Zeng Zhenyu is professor and PhD advisor of the International Institute of Confucianism at Huaqiao University.
A Comparative Study of Criticism of Liu Xin’s Old Text Confucianism and
The Forged Classics of the Wang Mang Period
Abstract: This paper aims to make a comparative study of Liao Ping’s Criticism of Liu Xin’s Old Text Confucianism and Kang Youwei’s The Forged Classics of the Wang Mang Period. The original of the former was lost, but its content can be found in A Study of Old Text Confucianism, which, in turn, can be used as a reference for the comparison. This comparison finds that Kang Youwei’s negation of Old Text Confucianism resulted from Liao Ping’s idea, but there are some differences between their thoughts. In its knowledge of Confucianism, Liao’s book is better than Kang’s, but in terms of thought and historical significance, Kang’s is much better.
Keywords: Criticism of Liu Xin’s Old Text Confucianism, Liao Ping, The Forged Classics of the Wang Mang Period, Kang Youwei, comparison, Old Text Confucianism
Huang Kaiguo is professor and PhD supervisor of the Institute of Confucian Classics Studies at Sichuan Normal University;
Huang Zijian is lecturer at Sichuan Normal University and a PhD student of the Institute of Religious Studies at Sichuan University.
Institutional Reform in the Early Han Dynasty and the Rise of
Gongyang Commentary Studies
Abstract: The late Qin and early Han dynasties witnessed one of the most dramatic changes in China. This historical background is conducive to understanding Dong Zhongshu and the rise of Gongyang Commentary studies in the Western Han. The Qin monarch ruled the country by draconian law but collapsed under its second emperor. Obviously, its governing principle failed to secure national long-term stability. This dealt a blow to the rulers and intellectuals of the early Han, and forced them to reflect on how to avoid the recurrence of the Qin’s collapse and realize their prolonged rule. Under these circumstances, they adopted Huang–Lao Daoism as their guide to ruling. During the reign of Emperor Wu, Confucianism began to prevail. Studies on the Gongyang Commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals, represented by Dong Zhongshu, resonated with the historical trend of the times and finally won the favor of the rulers. Thereafter, Confucianism attained its status as official ideology in the Han dynasty.
Keywords: Dong Zhongshu, Legalism, Huang–Lao, institutional reform, Gongyang Commentary studies
Ren Milin, PhD, is associate researcher of the Institute for Philosophy of Chinese Academy of Social Science.
Pre-Institutional Confucianism: Existence, Transformation, and Modern Inspiration
Detailed Abstract: Gan Chunsong干春松proposes the concept of institutional Confucianism (zhiduhua rujia 制度化儒家), which means that Confucian ideas and doctrines became the official ideology of Chinese feudal society, developing a complete set of national institutions and codes. This period lasted for two thousand years, from the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) to the late Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Gan refers to the period from the late Qing until today as the “post-institutional period,” that is, the period after institutional Confucianism disintegrated.2 In this vein, the period before institutional Confucianism can be referred to as pre-institutional Confucianism, which is roughly from Confucius’s (551–479 BCE) era to the reign of Emperor Wu of Han (156–87 BCE). Thus the history of Confucianism can be divided into three stages: pre-institutional Confucianism (non-office-holding), institutional Confucianism (office-holding), and post-institutional Confucianism (back to non-office-holding).
In other words, Confucians’ relation with the imperial power is a product of history, which occurred only in one historical period of Confucianism.
Keywords: institutionalization, Confucianism, original state, transformation, modern inspiration
Cao Jingnian is assistant research fellow in China Confucius Institute.
Ecological Implications of the Confucian ‘Unity of Heaven and Human’
Abstract: With the rise of studies on Chinese ecological philosophy, many Chinese scholars seek to explore the ecological implications of the Confucian doctrine of the “unity of Heaven and human,” in an endeavor to construct the discourse system of Chinese ecological philosophy. This endeavor is made along two lines. First, on a theoretical level, the doctrine establishes core principles and values, sets the goal of human self-cultivation, and transcends Western anthropocentrism. Second, on a practical level, it leads to the making of laws and regulations and the establishment of offices to implement environmental practices. Although most scholars agree on the ecological implications of the unity of Heaven and human, there is some skepticism, which the author considers to be groundless. Therefore, a more elaborate and systematic approach to the ecological philosophy of the unity of Heaven and human should be taken. Specifically, three aspects of this philosophy can be developed: the history of Confucian ecological philosophy, the environmental conservation system in ancient China, and comparative studies on Chinese and Western ecological thought.
Keywords: unity of Heaven and human, ecological significance, moral metaphysics
Zhang Simin, PhD, is lecturer of the School of Humanities at Xidian University.
The History and Trends of Buddhist Eco-Philosophy Research
Abstract: Research on Buddhist eco-philosophy began in the 1960s. Since the 1990s, following the critical reflections of Harris, et al., research in this field has thrived and it has produced a total of five schools: eco-apologists, eco-critics, eco-constructivists, eco-ethicists, and cultural–anthropologists/sociologists. In China, scholarship on Buddhist eco-philosophy first began in Taiwan, where it made great progress in the mid-1990s. In mainland China, the research generally began in the late 1990s. Around 2007, scholars began to think critically about previous scholarship, and studies on Buddhist eco-philosophy have subsequently become much improved. It is necessary to conduct systematic and indepth studies on Buddhist eco-philosophy by learning from overseas contributions and considering what is needed to establish an ecological civilization.
Keywords: Buddhism, eco-philosophy, construction of ecological civilization, review
Chen Hongbing, PhD, is professor in the School of Law at Shandong University of Technology and the Shandong Research Center of Ecological Culture and Sustainable Development.
Wang Yangming’s ‘Instructions for Disciples at Longchang’
and Its Significance to Educational Philosophy
Abstract: Wang Yangming wrote “Instructions for Disciples at Longchang” to exhort his disciples at Longgang Academy of Guizhou on the fundamental principles of pursuing learning and conducting themselves. He emphasized four aspects: fixing the determination, studying diligently, rectifying errors, and inciting to goodness by reproof. Wang’s instructions revealed his outlooks on life, study, morality, and moral cultivation. Yangming philosophy of the mind and intuitive knowledge is, in essence, a philosophy of education that advocates moral humanism. It can provide practical inspiration for today’s education, which takes establishing morality and rearing students as its fundamental task. Contemporary education should prioritize humanistic qualities and morality while paying attention to knowledge and skills.
Keywords: fixing the determination, studying diligently, rectifying errors, inciting to goodness by reproof, educational philosophy, establishing morality and rearing students, Wang Yangming
Zhang Hongmin, PhD, is associate research fellow in Institute of Philosophy at Zhejiang Academy of Social Sciences.