How to make sense of the claim “true knowledge is what constitutes action”: A new interpretation of Wang yangming's doctrine of unity of knowledge and action
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 8 (2):173-188 (2009)
No one denies the importance of applying knowledge to actions. But claiming identity (unity) of knowledge and action is quite another thing. There seem to be two problems with the claim: (1) the identity claim implies that the sole cause for one to fail to act on what one judges to be right is ignorance, but it is obviously false that the sole cause of failure in moral actions is ignorance. (2) The identity statement implies non-separation of knowledge and action. But knowledge does not necessarily lead to action. However, the identity of knowledge and action is what a famous Ming Confucian scholar, W ang Yang-ming, proposed and the concept became the central doctrine of his teaching. Though there are several major interpretations of Wang’s doctrine in contemporary literature, it is not clear to me how they deal with the above mentioned difficulties. In this article, I will discuss these interpretations of the doctrine and propose a new interpretation. My purpose is to give an interpretation of Wang’s doctrine that has the capacity of dealing with these challenges to the doctrine and also captures the essence of his teaching.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Aristotle (2006). Nicomachean Ethics. Oxford University Press.
Aristotle (1998). Nicomachean Ethics. Dover Publications.
Jonathan Dancy & Ernest Sosa (eds.) (1992). A Companion to Epistemology. Blackwell Reference.
Warren G. Frisina (2002). The Unity of Knowledge and Action: Toward a Nonrepresentational Theory of Knowledge. State University of New York Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Stephen C. Angle (2006). A Fresh Look at Knowledge and Action: Wang Yangming in Comparative Perspective. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 33 (2):287–298.
Elia Zardini (2013). Knowledge-How, True Indexical Belief, and Action. Philosophical Studies 164 (2):341-355.
Paul Wienpahl (1972). Spinoza and Mental Health. Inquiry 15 (1-4):64 – 94.
John Allen Tucker (1985). A.S. Cua, The Unity of Knowledge and Action: A Study of Wang Yang-Ming's Moral Psychology, University Press of Hawaii, Honolulu, 1982 (12.95, 133pp.). [REVIEW] Journal of Chinese Philosophy 12 (1):97-100.
Keith Hossack (2003). Consciousness in Act and Action. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 2 (3):187-203.
Jill Graper Hernandez (2005). Divine Omniscience and Human Evil: Interpreting Leibniz Without Middle Knowledge. Philosophy and Theology 17 (1/2):107-120.
Lyman V. Cady (1928). Wang Yang Ming's Doctrine of Intuitive Knowledge. The Monist 38 (2):263-291.
Ignacio Silva (2013). Thomas Aquinas Holds Fast: Objections to Aquinas Within Today's Debate on Divine Action. Heythrop Journal 54 (4):658-667.
John Gibbons (2001). Knowledge in Action. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (3):579-600.
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.
Added to index2009-05-02
Total downloads24 ( #73,821 of 1,102,628 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #29,857 of 1,102,628 )
How can I increase my downloads?