||Dai Zhen 戴震 (1724-1777). The most influential Confucian scholar in the Qing dynasty. Also the leading philologist and a contributor of major works on phonology, astronomy and mathematics. Dai developed an alternative to the speculative metaphysics that had come to dominate China after the rise of Buddhism and orthodox Neo-Confucianism. He defended models of moral cultivation and moral agency that prioritized desires, sympathetic perspective-taking, textual analysis, and philosophical reflection.