Xunzi's Philosophy and the School of Huang-Lao

Contemporary Chinese Thought 34 (1):37-60 (2002)
Abstract
The transmitted Xunzi consists of thirty-two chapters. The book criticizes all philosophers of the pre-Qin era, but thereby it also assimilates their thought. The Xunzi is eclectic, to the extent that there was no school of thought that it does not include. In scholarly circles, it is generally believed that Xunzi was the most prominent Confucian scholar of the final years of the Warring States period. At the same time, it is commonly acknowledged that the Confucianism of Xunzi was different from that of Confucius or Mencius. What brought about this change in Confucianism? When we analyze Xunzi from the viewpoint of the Daoist philosophy of Huang-Lao, it is not difficult to notice that a large part of Xunzi's thought originates in Huang-Lao—that is, in the philosophy of the silk manuscript Four Canons of the Yellow Emperor. The discovery of this manuscript thus helped to find the sequence of ideas leading to the change in Confucianism
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