About this topic
Summary Major Neo-Confucians in the Song-Ming period include Zhou Dunyi (1017-1073), Shao Yong (1011-1077), Zhang Zai (1020-1077), the Cheng brothers – Cheng Hao (1032-1085) and Cheng Yi (1033-1107), Lu Xiangshan (1139-1193), Zhu Xi (1130-1200), Wang Yangming (1472-1529), and Wang Fuzhi (1619-1692). Other than what is selected in Chan’s Source Book (Chan 1963, cited under *General Overviews*), there are scanty translations of Neo-Confucian works in English. The translations are of Zhu Xi (Chan 1967, Gardner 2003, Gardner 1990), Lu Xiangshan (Ivanhoe 2009) and Wang Yangming (Ivanhoe 2009, Henke 2012), but they are mere selections and far from complete in presenting the huge corpus of Neo-Confucian works.  
Key works Huang 1999 lists the first eight major philosophers and leaves out Wang Fuzhi, whose copious work and sophisticated philosophical views were not appreciated until of late. Chen 2005, written in Chinese, is a representative work of Chen Lai 陳來, a leading expert on the intellectual history of Neo-Confucianism in China today.  Angle 2009 focuses on the ethical teachings of two key neo-Confucians – Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming, and Keenan 2011 focuses on one key ethical theme: self-cultivation.  Among philosophical papers on general themes in neo-Confucianism, Peterson 1986 is an early work that has some impact in the West while Tang 1971 (Tang, Chun-I 唐君毅. “The Spirit and Development of Neo-Confucianism.” Inquiry14 (1-4): 56 – 83. 1971) represents a well-received Chinese perspective.  More recent works such as Liu 2005 takes on neo-Confucian metaphysics with the analytic approach, and Behuniak Jr 2009 gives the important concept Li 理a revolutionary analysis inspired by Plato’s day analogy in the Parmenides.

Introductions

Angle 2009 focuses primarily on two neo-Confucians – Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming. It analyzes the notion of sagehood as handled by these two philosophers and explicates their moral psychology, virtue ethics and their views on education. It renders the ethical teachings of Neo-Confucianism more engaging for contemporary readers.

How to analyze the concept of Li (translated as principle, order, coherence, pattern, etc.) has always been a challenging task for scholars on neo-Confucianism, and in Behuniak Jr 2009, the author offers an innovative interpretation using Plato’s analogy of day as the interpretative tool. It is a refreshing piece even if readers do not accept this interpretation.

Chen, Lai 陳來. Songming Lixue 宋明理學. Shanghai: East China Normal University Press, 2005. 2nd edition.

This Chinese book is the renowned Chinese scholar Chen Lai’s introduction to Song-Ming Neo-Confucianism. The analysis is of the more traditional style, focusing on conceptual analysis and historical lineage.

Huang, Siu-chi 黃秀璣. Essentials of Neo-Confucianism: Eight Major Philosophers of the Song and Ming Periods. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1999.

This is a somewhat dated book in that the analysis is more traditional, but the explications of the eight philosophers selected here are useful as introductory pieces.

Keenan, Barry. Neo-Confucian Self-Cultivation. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2011.

This small book focuses on the theme of self-cultivation in the Great Learning treated by the Cheng brothers and Zhu Xi. It also provides the background in the intellectual history of Neo-Confucianism.

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  1. Lyman V. Cady (1928). Wang Yang Ming's Doctrine of Intuitive Knowledge. The Monist 38 (2):263-291.
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  2. Wing-tsit Chan (1973). Chan Jo-Shui's Influence on Wang Yang-Ming. Philosophy East and West 23 (1/2):9-30.
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  3. Wing-Tsit Chan (1973). Wang Yang-Ming Yü Ch An. Wu Yin Ching She.
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  4. Wing-tsit Chan (1972). Wang Yang-Ming: A Biography. Philosophy East and West 22 (1):63-74.
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  5. Wing-tsit Chan (1972). Wang Yang-Ming: Western Studies and an Annotated Bibliography. Philosophy East and West 22 (1):75-92.
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  6. Wing-Tsit Chan (1962). How Buddhistic is Wang Yang-Ming? Philosophy East and West 12 (3):203-215.
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  7. Carsun Chang (1955). Wang Yang-Ming's Philosophy. Philosophy East and West 5 (1):3-18.
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  8. Stephen Chao-Ying Pan (1937). “La Philosophie Morale de Wang Yang-Ming”. New Scholasticism 11 (3):290-292.
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  9. Chung-Ying Cheng (1979). Practical Learning in Yen Yuan, Chu Hsi and Wang Yang-Ming. In William Theodore De Bary & Irene Bloom (eds.), Principle and Practicality: Essays in Neo-Confucianism and Practical Learning. Columbia University Press. 39--45.
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  10. Chung-ying Cheng (1973). Unity and Creativity in Wang Yang-Ming's Philosophy of Mind. Philosophy East and West 23 (1/2):49-72.
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  11. A. S. Cua (1993). Between Commitment and Realization: Wang Yang-Ming's Vision of the Universe as a Moral Community. Philosophy East and West 43 (4):611-647.
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  12. Thomé H. Fang (1973). The Essence of Wang Yang-Ming's Philosophy in a Historical Perspective. Philosophy East and West 23 (1/2):73-90.
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  13. Warren G. Frisina (1989). Are Knowledge and Action Really One Thing?: A Study of Wang Yang-Ming's Doctrine of Mind. Philosophy East and West 39 (4):419-447.
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  14. Peng Guo-Xiang (2004). The Debate About the Concept of Investigating Things of Wang Yangming's Leaming in the Mid-Late Ming [J]. Modern Philosophy 1:009.
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  15. Frederick G. Henke (1914). Wang Yang Ming, a Chinese Idealist. The Monist 24 (1):17-34.
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  16. Hiroyuki Iki (1961). Wang Yang-Ming's Doctrine of Innate Knowledge of the Good. Philosophy East and West 11 (1/2):27-44.
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  17. Philip J. Ivanhoe (2000). Confucian Moral Self Cultivation, 2nd Ed. Hackett.
    A concise and accessible introduction to the moral philosophy of Kongzi (Confucius), Mengzi (Mencius), Xunzi, Zhu Xi, Wang Yangming, Yan Yuan and Dai Zhen.
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  18. Hwa Yol Jung (1965). Wang Yang-Ming and Existential Phenomenology. International Philosophical Quarterly 5 (4):612-636.
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  19. S. L. (1963). Want Yang-Ming. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 16 (3):580-580.
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  20. Jig-chuen Lee (1987). Wang Yang-Ming, Chu Hsi, and the Investigation of Things. Philosophy East and West 37 (1):24-35.
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  21. Ian McMorran (1973). Late Ming Criticism of Wang Yang-Ming: The Case of Wang Fu-Chih. Philosophy East and West 23 (1/2):91-102.
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  22. Ronald Moore (1973). Report on the Panel Discussion: "Wang Yang-Ming and Western Thought". Philosophy East and West 23 (1/2):207-216.
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  23. Ronald Moore (1973). Report on the Panel Discussion: Wang Yang-Ming and Japanese Culture. Philosophy East and West 23 (1/2):217-224.
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  24. David S. Nivison (1973). Moral Decision in Wang Yang-Ming: The Problem of Chinese "Existentialism". Philosophy East and West 23 (1/2):121-137.
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  25. Takehiko Okada & Robert J. J. Wargo (1973). The Chu Hsi and Wang Yang-Ming Schools at the End of the Ming and Tokugawa Periods. Philosophy East and West 23 (1/2):139-162.
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  26. Stephen Chao-Ying Pan (1937). “La Philosophie Morale de Wang Yang-Ming”. New Scholasticism 11 (3):290-292.
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  27. Mou Tsung-san (1973). The Immediate Successor of Wang Yang-Ming: Wang Lung-Hsi and His Theory of Ssu-Wu. Philosophy East and West 23 (1/2):103-120.
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  28. Wei-Ming Tu (1976). Neo-Confucian Thought in Action Wang Yang-Ming's Youth. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
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  29. Wei-ming Tu (1973). Subjectivity and Ontological Reality: An Interpretation of Wang Yang-Ming's Mode of Thinking. Philosophy East and West 23 (1/2):187-205.
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  30. Shou-jên Wang, Frederick Goodrich Henke & James Hayden Tufts (1916). The Philosophy of Wang Yang-Ming. Open Court.
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  31. Nelson I. Wu (1973). Intellectual Movements Since the Teachings of Wang Yang-Ming: Parallel but Nonconcurrent Developments. Philosophy East and West 23 (1/2):225-236.
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  32. Junmai Zhang (1962). Wang Yang-Ming: Idealist Philosopher of Sixteenth-Century China. Jamaica, N.Y.,St. John's University Press.
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  33. Jiang Zhiyen (1993). The Effect of Wang Ming's Ultra-Leftist Line on the Student Movement for National Salvation. Chinese Studies in History 27 (1):162-167.
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Zhou Dunyi
  1. Ming Dong Gu (2003). The Taiji Diagram: A Meta-Sign in Chinese Thought. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 30 (2):195–218.
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  2. Youngmin Kim (2008). Cosmogony as Political Philosophy. Philosophy East and West 58 (1):108-125.
    : This essay examines the Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate and its shifting interpretations—those of Zhu Xi (1130–1200) and Wang Tingxiang (1474–1544) in particular—and by doing so explores the significance of ‘‘cosmogony’’ in the Confucian tradition and its significance for the change of political philosophy from the Song dynasty through the Ming. First, through a close reading of Zhu Xi’s commentaries on the Diagram, it is argued that they should be interpreted primarily as a statement of political philosophy rather than (...)
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  3. JeeLoo Liu (2005). The Status of Cosmic Principle (Li) in Neo-Confucian Metaphysics. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 32 (3):391-407.
    In this paper, I attempt to make use of Western metaphysical taxonomy to explicate the cosmological variances in Chinese philosophical schools, especially with regard to the debates among the Neo-Confucian thinkers. While I do not presume that Chinese philosophers dealt with the same Western issues, I do believe that a comparative study of this nature can point to a new direction of thinking concerning the metaphysical debates in Neo-Confucianism. This paper is divided into three parts. In Part I, I employ (...)
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  4. Galia Patt-Shamir (2004). Moral World, Ethical Terminology: The Moral Significance of Metaphysical Terms in Zhou Dunyi and Zhu XI. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 31 (3):349–362.
  5. Robin Wang (2005). Zhou Dunyi's Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate Explained (Taijitu Shuo) : A Construction of the Confucian Metaphysics. Journal of the History of Ideas 66 (3):307-323.
  6. Xianglong Zhang (2006). Flowing Within the Text: A Discussion on He Lin's Explanation of Zhu XI's Method of Intuition. Frontiers of Philosophy in China 1 (1):60-65.
    The author examines He Lin's interpretation of Zhu Xi's method of intuition from a phenomenological-hermeneutical perspective and by exposing Zhu's philosophical presuppositions. In contrast with Lu Xiangshan's intuitive method, Zhu Xi's method of reading classics advocates "emptying your heart and flowing with the text" and, in this spirit, explains the celebrated "exhaustive investigation on the principles of things (ge wu qiong li)." "Text," according to Zhu, is therefore not an object in ordinary sense but a "contextual region" or "sensible pattern" (...)
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Shao Yong
  1. Anne D. Birdwhistell (1989). The Philosophical Concept of Foreknowledge in the Thought of Shao Yung. Philosophy East and West 39 (1):47-65.
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  2. Anne D. Birdwhistell (1989). Transition to Neo-Confucianism: Shao Yung on Knowledge and Symbols of Reality. Stanford University Press.
    Shao Yung1 Shao Yung (-77) was an extraordinary thinker who lived during an extraordinary age. Among the great thinkers of the Northern Sung (960-), ...
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  3. Anne D. Birdwhistell (1982). Shao Yung and His Concept of Fan Kuan. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 9 (4):367-394.
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  4. James A. Ryan (1996). Leibniz' Binary System and Shao Yong's "Yijing". Philosophy East and West 46 (1):59-90.
    The Yijing/Binary System Episode involved Leibniz' discovery of a de facto representation of the binary number system in the sixty-four-hexagram Fu Xi "Yijing." Scholars have left the match unexplained, since they have found no evidence of a forgotten binary number system in ancient China. The interesting similarities and differences are discussed between the thought of Leibniz and that of Shao Yong, both of whom, it is argued, understood and recognized the importance of the double geometric progression in the diagram.
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  5. James A. Ryan (1993). The Compatibilist Philosophy of Freedom of Shao Yong. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 20 (3):279-291.
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  6. Bernard Paul Sypniewski (1998). Don J. Wyatt, The Recluse of Loyang - Shao Yung and the Moral Evolution of Early Sung Thought. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii. 248 + 92. Notes, Glossary, Bibliography, Index. [REVIEW] Journal of Chinese Philosophy 25 (2):263-267.
Zhang Zai
  1. Wing-Cheuk Chan (2011). Mou Zongsan and Tang Junyi on Zhang Zai's and Wang Fuzhi's Philosophies of Qi : A Critical Reflection. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 10 (1):85-98.
    Fuzhi’s philosophies of qi. In this essay, both the strength and weakness of their interpretations will be critically examined. As a contrast, an alternative interpretation of the School of qi in Song-Ming Neo-Confucianism will be outlined. This new interpretation will uncover that, like Leibniz, Zhang Zai and Wang Fuzhi introduced a non-substantivalist approach in natural philosophy in terms of an innovative concept of force. This interpretation not only helps to show the limitations of Mou Zongsan’s and Tang Junyi’s understandings of (...)
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  2. Kai-wing Chow (1993). Ritual, Cosmology, and Ontology: Chang Tsai's Moral Philosophy and Neo-Confucian Ethics. Philosophy East and West 43 (2):201-228.
  3. Tang Chün-I. (1956). Chang Tsai's Theory of Mind and its Metaphysical Basis. Philosophy East and West 6 (2):113-136.
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  4. David Elstein, Zhang Zai. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  5. Ira E. Kasoff (1984). The Thought of Chang Tsai (1020-1077). Cambridge University Press.
    Chang Tsai is one of the three major Chinese philosophers who, in the eleventh century, revitalised Confucian thought after centuries of stagnation and formed the foundation for the neo-Confucian thinking that was predominant till the nineteenth century. The book analyses in depth Chang's views of man, his nature and endowments, the cosmos, heaven and earth, the problems of learning and self cultivation, the ideal of the sage - and how that ideal might be attained. It looks at the intellectual climate (...)
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