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Summary Xunzi  was the influential philosopher of China's Warring States period (479–221 B.C.E.). He considered himself a follower of Confucius and his philosophy belongs to the tradition of what might be called classical Confucianism. It certainly took part in consolidating the doctrine. Xunzi's significance has often been underestimated, especially in favour of Mencius. Xunzi system addresses topics ranging from economic and military policy, through the justification of traditional authority and institutions, to action theory and the philosophy of language.
Key works Original texts by Xunzi can be found in Xunzi 1963. There are alternative, older translations of Xunzi texts Xunzi 1928 that also include the Chinese original text.
Introductions Littlejohn 2010 Robins 2008
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  1. Silin Ai, Shuyun Dang & Fan Zhang (1996). Zhi Guo Ming Ru--Xunzi. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
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  2. Robert E. Allinson (1998). The Debate Between Mencius and Hsün-Tzu: Contemporary Applications. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 25 (1):31-49.
    This article takes one of the richest historical debates, that of Hsun-Tzu and Mencius, as the contextual starting-point for the elaboration of human goodness. In support of Mencius, this article develops additional metaphysical and bio-social-evolutionary grounds, both of which parallel each other. The metaphysical analysis suggests that, in the spirit of Spinoza, an entity’s nature must necessarily include the drive toward its preservation. Likewise, the multi-faceted bio-social-evolutionary argument locates the fundamental telos of humanity in the preservation of social ties and (...)
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  3. Alejandro Bárcenas (2012). Xunzi and Han Fei on Human Nature. International Philosophical Quarterly 52 (2):135-148.
    It is commonly accepted that Han Fei studied under Xunzi sometime during the late third century BCE. However, there is surprisingly little dedicated to the in-depth study of the relationship between Xunzi’s ideas and one of his best-known followers. In this essay I argue that Han Fei’s notion of xing, commonly translated as human nature, was not only influenced by Xunzi but also that it is an important feature of his political philosophy.
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  4. James Behuniak (2000). Nivison and the "Problem" in Xunzi's Ethics. Philosophy East and West 50 (1):97-110.
    David Nivison has argued that there is a problem in Xunzi's ethical thinking resulting from a tension between the "deontological" and "consequentialist" tendencies in his thought. Here it is argued that the problem Nivison locates in Xunzi is not so severe once it is recognized that being human, according to Xunzi, has more to do with being social, recognizing distinctions, and assuming roles than with having an open, unfilled "sense of duty." The famous "ladder" passage in the Xunzi (9.16a) is (...)
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  5. John Berthrong (2013). Xunzi and Zhu Xi. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 40 (3-4):400-416.
    Mou Zongsan 牟宗三 ironically once wrote that Zhu Xi 朱熹 could be considered Xunzi's 荀子 philosophical revenge on Mengzi 孟子. Mou implied that when you retreat from Zhu's staunch rhetorical support of Mengzi philosophy, what you discover are all kinds of significant analogies between the philosophical lexicon as well as deeper structural affinities between Xunzi and Zhu Xi. We discover, ironically, that there is a great deal of merit in Mou's offhanded suggestion of the comparison of two of the greatest (...)
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  6. John Berthrong (2010). Father and Son in Confucianism and Christianity: A Comparative Study of Xunzi and Paul – by Yanxia Zhao. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 37 (2):330-333.
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  7. John Berthrong (2003). From Xunzi to Boston Confucianism. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 30 (3-4):433-450.
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  8. Joanne D. Birdwhistell (2002). Rituals of the Way: The Philosophy of Xunzi (Review). Philosophy East and West 52 (4):498-500.
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  9. Nicholas Bunnin (2008). Situating Xunzi. In Zhongying Cheng & On Cho Ng (eds.), The Imperative of Understanding: Chinese Philosophy, Comparative Philosophy, and Onto-Hermeneutics: A Tribute Volume Dedicated to Professor Chung-Ying Cheng. Global Scholarly Publications
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  10. Liang Ch'I.-Hsiung (1974). A Descriptive Review of Hsün-Tzu's Thought. Contemporary Chinese Thought 6 (1):4-60.
    The sources of "knowledge," for Hsün-tzu, came from the realities in objective existence. He took the impressions of these objectively existent realities as his basis of knowledge.
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  11. Hok Nam Chan, Reconstructing Xunzi's Moral Knowledge.
    Reconstructing the content of Xunzi’s moral knowledge is the main goal of this thesis. A first main task of this reconstruction is to provide a clarification of the content and functions of li. A second primary goal of the reconstruction is to discuss the roles and functions of the moral sage or morally superior person, junzi, in Xunzi’s account of moral practice. The figure of the sage is important in explaining the rationale of li and exemplifying how to behave in (...)
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  12. Teng-chi Chang (2000). A Comprehensive Overview And Discussion On The Contemporary Significance Of Hsun-tzu's Political Theory. Philosophy and Culture 27 (7):683-700.
    In contemporary Western political theory with its socio-economic system and the universal implementation of the global environment, I state whether the traditional political philosophy is still worthy of review to reflect the era, the social scientists in general nowadays, it seems is no longer the subject of concern. Research in the field of traditional Chinese philosophy, political theory and the Western mainstream dialogue, on the one hand is not dense in the temporal degree: the other hand, basic training and academic (...)
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  13. Yun-Hsiang Chang (2007). Xun Zi's Prudence in His Ideas of "Not Seeking to Know Heaven" and "Knowing Heaven". Philosophy and Culture 34 (12):69-86.
    When the person for Xunzi "Heaven" and Relations interpretation, usually to address Xun Xue to "days" as a purely natural justice stance in mind, using them to solve read the "Xunzi" "no knowledge Heaven" and "knowledge space" of speech. In fact, the "day" on the one hand with natural justice; also has a moral and human associated. Sage with prudence, the so-called "do not know the day" and "knowing the sky" for the Wisdom For the "day" of a sensible trade-off (...)
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  14. Bo Chen (2009). Xunzi's Politicized and Moralized Philosophy of Language. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 36 (1):107-139.
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  15. Fu-Bing Chen (2008). Xun Zi's Philosophy of Li and Its Value. Philosophy and Culture 35 (10):25-44.
    Confucius' words, "Qui Nhon photo gifts" to "gifts" for the order of life, and a switching order of the specific content , to follow "reasonable" and to be changed; gifts are attributed to conscious basis, it is also the cultural order ; Ceremony is a "sequence", which the rest of a switch meaning都unifying the "order" among the "gifts also, management of the not to traders also," "Ceremony, heaven and earth order also," Xunzi same strain of Confucius Ceremony Education in favor (...)
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  16. Fu-Bing Chen (2007). Xun Zi's Thought on Education and Its Importance. Philosophy and Culture 34 (12):5-20.
    Education is the human civilized society, not available or lack of a social activity and social regime; humans through education, the future for personal and group's survival and development, and social culture of the transfer and promote; human life has been able to gradually improve, human Japanese culture has been able to profit or progress, education is indeed the main amount of force. Confucian thought to Confucius, Mencius, Xun, represented that the education is focused on human nature, inspired by the (...)
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  17. Lai Chen (2009). “ Ru ”: Xunzi's Thoughts on Ru and its Significance. [REVIEW] Frontiers of Philosophy in China 4 (2):157-179.
    No matter what the original meaning of “ Ru ” was, looking at it from the perspective of the history of philosophy, the image of “ Ru ” as portrayed by other schools in the Warring States period was infused with the characteristics of Confucianism of that time. The self-understanding of Warring States Confucians expressed by their employment of the character “ Ru ” clearly displayed Ru ’s character as well as the main points of the Ru school, namely Confucianism. (...)
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  18. Lisheng Chen (2010). Courage in the Analects : A Genealogical Survey of the Confucian Virtue of Courage. [REVIEW] Frontiers of Philosophy in China 5 (1):1-30.
    The different meanings of “courage” in The Analects were expressed in Confucius’ remark on Zilu’s bravery. The typological analysis of courage in Mencius and Xunzi focused on the shaping of the personalities of brave persons. “Great courage” and “superior courage”, as the virtues of “great men” or “ shi junzi 士君子 (intellectuals with noble characters)”, exhibit not only the uprightness of the “internal sagacity”, but also the rich implications of the “external kingship”. The prototype of these brave persons could be (...)
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  19. Wenjie Chen (2008). Xunzi de Bian Shuo. Huaxia Chu Ban She.
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  20. Chung-ying Cheng (2008). Xunzi as a Systematic Philosopher: Toward an Organic Unity of Nature, Mind, and Reason. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35 (1):9–31.
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  21. Chung-Ying Cheng (1977). Rectifying Names [Cheng-Ming] in Classical Confucianism. Chinese Studies in Philosophy 8 (3):67.
    The concept of rectifying names [cheng-ming] is a familiar one in the Confucian Analects. It occupies an important, if not central, position in the political philosophy of Confucius. Since, according to Confucius, the rectification of names is the basis of the establishment of social harmony and political order, one might suspect that later political theories of Confucian-ists should be traced back to the Confucian doctrine of rectifying names. It need not be added that the theory of rectifying names, as developed (...)
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  22. Chung-Ying Cheng, Roger T. Ames, Vincent Shen, Kim-Chong Chong, Paul R. Goldin, Karyn L. Lai & Tan Mingran (2008). Philosophy of Xunzi and Antonio S. Cua. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35 (1).
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  23. Leo K. C. Cheung (2001). The Way of the Xunzi. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 28 (3):301–320.
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  24. Chaehyun Chong (2012). Xunzi'sSanhuo(Three Types Of Cognitive Delusions). Journal of Chinese Philosophy 39 (3):424-435.
    This article explicates Xunzi's three types of cognitive delusions in Xunzi's Zhengming Pian. The followings are my conclusions: first, general names such as “a white horse,” “a horse,” “a thief,” and “a man” are thought of as proper nouns because the classic Chinese theory of language concerned pragmatics rather than semantics. Second, classic Chinese epistemology does not address conceptual knowledge or knowledge based on argumentation distinguished from the art of description. Third, Gongsun Long believes in an extreme form of one‐name‐one‐thingism. (...)
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  25. Kim Chong Chong (2003). Xunzi's Systematic Critique of Mencius. Philosophy East and West 53 (2):215-233.
    : Some commentators hold that Xunzi's criticism of Mencius' thesis that human nature is good depends more on Xunzi's definition of xing or nature than on substantive argument. Some also claim that Xunzi is committed to accepting Mencius' thesis. A more precise account of Xunzi's critique is offered here, based on an elaboration of his distinction in the "Xing e pian" between ke yi (capacity) and neng (ability). Others have noted this distinction, but no one has sufficiently appreciated its role (...)
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  26. Kim-Chong Chong (2008). Classical Confucianism (Ii) : Meng Zi and Xun Zi. In Bo Mou (ed.), Routledge History of Chinese Philosophy. Routledge
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  27. Kim-chong Chong (2008). Xunzi and the Essentialist Mode of Thinking on Human Nature. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35 (1):63–78.
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  28. Kim-Chong Chong, Ritual Transformation—Xunzi’s Response to Mozi in the Lilun Pian.
    It is well known that Mozi criticizes the ritual practices of the Ru for being wasteful. However, another criticism has been less appreciated: These practices are merely conventional habituations and violate the Ru’s own moral ideals of ren 仁 , yi 義 and xiao 孝 . Xunzi responds to both criticisms in the Li Lun Pian 禮論篇 . Based on an account of Mozi’s arguments and Xunzi’s replies, this essay discusses the significance of ritual transformation in Xunzi’s moral philosophy.
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  29. Kim-Chong Chong, Xunzi and the Essentialist Mode of Thinking About Human Nature.
    In his essay “Philosophy of Human Nature,” Antonio Cua argues that the term “bad” in Xunzi’s statement that “Human nature is bad” is to be taken in a consequential sense. This goes against a common tendency to read the Xunzi in what I refer to as the essentialist mode of thinking. In this paper, I show how it is that the consequential reading of “bad” and other features that Professor Cua describes offer a significant understanding of Xunzi’s position as a (...)
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  30. Kim-Chong Chong (2003). Xunzi's Systematic Critique of Mencius. Philosophy East and West 53 (2):215 - 233.
    Some commentators hold that Xunzi's criticism of Mencius' thesis that human nature is good depends more on Xunzi's definition of xing or nature than on substantive argument. Some also claim that Xunzi is committed to accepting Mencius' thesis. A more precise account of Xunzi's critique is offered here, based on an elaboration of his distinction in the "Xing e pian" between ke yi (capacity) and neng (ability). Others have noted this distinction, but no one has sufficiently appreciated its role in (...)
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  31. Chih-I. Chʻêng (1928). Hsüntzu's Theory of Human Nature and its Influence on Chinese Thought. [Peking.
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  32. Erin M. Cline (2008). Mirrors, Minds, and Metaphors. Philosophy East and West 58 (3):pp. 337-357.
    The metaphor of the heart or mind as a mirror appears not only in the work of Zhuangzi and Xunzi but also in the work of Western philosophers such as Kierkegaard and Rorty. This essay shows how a properly contextualized comparison of the mirror metaphor in the work of these four philosophers highlights the different ways in which they use it, helping us to understand more clearly critical differences between their views. The significance of the mirror metaphor in the work (...)
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  33. Erin M. Cline (2006). Human Nature, Ritual, and History: Studies in Xunzi and Chinese Philosophy – Antonio S. Cua. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 33 (3):453–455.
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  34. Amina Crisma (2004). Conflitto E Armonia Nel Pensiero Cinese Dell'età Classica: Il Trattato Sui Riti di Xunzi. Unipress.
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  35. A. S. Cua (2005). Human Nature, Ritual, and History: Studies in Xunzi and Chinese Philosophy. The Catholic University of America Press.
    In this volume, distinguished philosopher Antonio S. Cua offers a collection of original studies on Xunzi, a leading classical Confucian thinker, and on other ...
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  36. A. S. Cua (1989). The Problem of Conceptual Unity in Hsün Tzu, and Li Kou's Solution. Philosophy East and West 39 (2):115-134.
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  37. A. S. Cua (1987). Hsün Tzu and the Unity of Virtues. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 14 (4):381-400.
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  38. A. S. Cua (1985). Ethical Uses of the Past in Early Confucianism: The Case of Hsün Tzu. Philosophy East and West 35 (2):133-156.
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  39. A. S. Cua (1983). Hsün Tzu's Theory of Argumentation: A Reconstruction. Review of Metaphysics 36 (4):867 - 894.
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  40. A. S. Cua (1979). Dimensions of Li (Propriety): Reflections on an Aspect of Hsün Tzu's Ethics. Philosophy East and West 29 (4):373-394.
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  41. A. S. Cua (1978). The Quasi-Empirical Aspect of Hsün-Tzu's Philosophy of Human Nature. Philosophy East and West 28 (1):3-19.
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  42. A. S. Cua (1977). The Conceptual Aspect of Hsün Tzu's Philosophy of Human Nature. Philosophy East and West 27 (4):373-389.
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  43. Antonio S. Cua (2003). The Ethical Significance of Shame: Insights of Aristotle and Xunzi. Philosophy East and West 53 (2):147 - 202.
    A constructive interpretation of the Confucian conception of shame is offered here. Xunzi's discussion is considered the locus classicus of the Confucian conception of shame as contrasted with honor. In order to show his conception as an articulation and development of the more inchoate attitudes of Confucius and Mencius, and excursion is made into the Lunyu and the Mengzi. Aristotle's conception of shame is used as a sort of catalyst, an opening for appreciating Xunzi's complementary insights.
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  44. Antonio S. Cua (2003). The Ethical Significance of Shame: Insights of Aristotle and Xunzi. Philosophy East and West 53 (2):147-202.
    : A constructive interpretation of the Confucian conception of shame is offered here. Xunzi's discussion is considered the locus classicus of the Confucian conception of shame as contrasted with honor. In order to show his conception as an articulation and development of the more inchoate attitudes of Confucius and Mencius, an excursion is made into the Lunyu and the Mengzi. Aristotle's conception of shame is used as a sort of catalyst, an opening for appreciating Xunzi's complementary insights.
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  45. Wm Theodore de Barry (2011). Finding Wisdom in East Asian Classics. Columbia University Press.
    _Finding Wisdom in East Asian Classics_ is an essential, all-access guide to the core texts of East Asian civilization and culture. Essays address frequently read, foundational texts in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese, as well as early modern fictional classics and nonfiction works of the seventeenth century. Building strong links between these writings and the critical traditions of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism, this volume shows the vital role of the classics in the shaping of Asian history and in the development (...)
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  46. Wiebke Denecke (2010). The Dynamics of Masters Literature: Early Chinese Thought From Confucius to Han Feizi. Distributed by Harvard University Press.
    Introduction: Chinese philosophy and the translation of disciplines -- The faces of masters literature until the Eastern Han -- Scenes of instruction and master bodies in the Analects -- From scenes of instruction to scenes of construction: Mozi -- Interiority, human nature, and exegesis in Mencius -- Authorship, human nature, and persuasion in Xunzi -- The race for precedence: polemics and the vacuum of traditions in Laozi -- Zhuangzi and the art of negation -- The self-regulating state, paranoia, and rhetoric (...)
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  47. Homer H. Dubs (1956). Mencius and Sün-Dz on Human Nature. Philosophy East and West 6 (3):213-222.
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  48. Bau-Ruei Duh (2007). Xun Zi's Doctrine of Nature and Doctrine of the Heaven. Philosophy and Culture 34 (10):45-63.
    This article will deal with Xunzi's theory of human nature and Heaven on the concept in an attempt to clarify the theoretical meaning and mutual relations, and to explore the establishment of Xunzi thought the possibility of evil nature of humans, and Confucianism in the context of human nature and Heaven, on the development of an important type of theory for positioning argumentation. The article pointed out that the idea of the evil nature Xunzi concept of human nature, human nature (...)
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  49. Werner Eichhorn (1969). Hsün-Tzu Translated Into German. Philosophy and History 2 (1):37-38.
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  50. David Elstein, Xunzi. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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