|Summary||Cheng Hao (Cheng Mingdao程顥, 1032-1085) and Cheng Yi (Cheng Yichuan程頤, 1033-1107), commonly known as the Two Chengs, in that their sayings, writings, anecdotes are compiled together as the Collected Works of the Two Chengs (Ercheng Ji 二程集). Some of the remarks in this collection are simply referred to as “Master Cheng says” without indicating which of the two brothers said it. As a result, their view(s) are often jointly presented as the Two Chengs’ view, such as in Graham 1992 and Huang 2003. Nevertheless, many contemporary Chinese scholars such as Chen 2005 (cited under Song-Ming Neo-Confucianism) have convincingly argued that Cheng Hao’s ideas paved the ground for the later Lu-Wang school that stresses the role of the heart/mind (xin 心), while Cheng Yi’s view, under Zhu Xi’s elaboration, established the school of Li (lixue 理學). What is usually called the Cheng-Zhu School typically refers to the followers of Cheng Yi’s and Zhu Xi’s teachings. The Cheng brothers’ major contributions to neo-Confucianism include Cheng Yi’s conception of Li (理), Cheng Hao’s singling out “humaneness” (ren 仁) as the primary virtue, and the two Chengs’ theories of human nature. These ideas were later further developed by Zhu Xi into a more systematic philosophy.|
|Key works||Other than the brief selections in Chan 1963, there is no English translation of their works. Of secondary materials, Graham 1958 is an early work of this known sinologist, and it offers a comprehensive but accessible introduction to the two brothers’ views. Of late, Yong Huang has done extensive writings on the two brothers, such as Yong 2008 and Huang 2003. He has a book on the Cheng brothers forthcoming.|
Graham 1958 analyzes key concepts in both Cheng Hao’s and Cheng Yi’s philosophy. It opened the door of Neo-Confucianism to scholars on Chinese philosophy in English. Yong 2008 deals with the issue of moral motivation, and offers a sophisticated and contemporary analysis on Cheng brothers’ moral psychology. It is an important paper for anyone interested in the comparative analytic study of Neo-Confucianism. Huang 2003 is among the first to take a comparative approach to Neo-Confucian virtue ethics, and also examines the issue of fact and value to address Hume’s is-ought problem. It offers an innovative reconstruction of the Cheng brothers’ view to address contemporary philosophical issues.
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David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
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