Moral knowledge and self control in mengzi: Rectitude, courage, and qi

Asian Philosophy 14 (1):59 – 77 (2004)
Abstract
In this paper, I reveal systematic aspects of the moral epistemology of the Warring States Confucian, Mengzi. Mengzi thinks moral knowledge is 'internally' available to humans because it is acquired through normative dictates built into the human heart-mind (xin). Those dictates are capable of motivating and justifying an agent's normative categorizations. Such dictates are linked to Mengzi's conception of human nature (ren xing) as good. I then interpret Mengzi's difficult discussion of courage and qi in Mengzi 2A: 2 as illuminating the idea of 'internal' justification. The epistemology of courage is intimately related in 2A: 2 to its practice. Finally, I indicate at the end in outline the ways in which Mengzi and Gaozi are engaged in a dispute about moral epistemology that pits each of them against Xunzi and also against Zhuangzi.
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