|Summary||Wang Fuzhi (Wang Fu-chih王夫之, 1619-1692) was one of the most (if not the most) prolific philosophy writers in the history of Chinese philosophy, and his contributions to the reinvention of Confucianism could not be enumerated. Wang thought that Neo-Confucianism developed to his times has greatly distorted the essence of classical Confucianism, and vowed to spend his mature life to rediscovering and reinvigorating the ideas in the classics themselves. By writing massive commentary on the classics, Wang’s own philosophy emerged as a new form of qi-naturalism derived from the Yijing, as well as a new form of moral psychology informed by Mencius’ conviction in the goodness of human nature.|
|Key works||Even though there are many books and articles on Wang Fuzhi in Chinese, due to the absence of English translation of Wang’s copious works, there is virtually little research on his philosophy in English. Fortunately, we have Black 1989 that provides a comprehensive introduction to Wang’s metaphysics, his epistemology and his moral philosophy. Among current scholars writing in English, JeeLoo Liu has done the most work on Wang Fuzhi, reconstructing his philosophy of history, his metaphysics and his moral psychology. Liu 2001 is an early work on Wang’s philosophy of history, Liu 2011 reconstructs Zhang Zai and Wang Fuzhi’s view on qi into qi-realism, and Liu 2012 takes Wang’s moral psychology to defend a form of social sentimentalism.|
Black, Alison Harley. Man and Nature in the Philosophical Thought of Wang Fuzhi. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 1989.
This is the first systematic study of Wang Fuzhi’s philosophy in English. This book is well written and provides a good introduction to Wang’s philosophy.
Liu 2011 tackles the issue of fact and value in neo-Confucian qi-philosophy championed by Zhang Zai, Luo Qinshun (羅欽順 1465-1547), Wang Tingxiang (王廷相1474-1544) and Wang Fuzhi. It is not a historical survey but an analytic reconstruction of this qi philosophy into qi-realism.
Liu 2012 engages in a comparative study on Thomas Nagel, Zhang Zai and Wang Fuzhi in terms of their views on altruism or humaneness. It further suggests a social sentimentalist proposal, inspired by Wang Fuzhi’s view, for developing altruism in contemporary society.