Stephen C. Angle
Wesleyan University
Tian 天 is central to the metaphysics, cosmology, and ethics of the 800-year-long Chinese philosophical tradition we call “Neo-Confucianism,” but there is considerable confusion over what tian means—confusion which is exacerbated by its standard translation into English as “Heaven.” This essay analyzes the meaning of tian in the works of the most influential Neo-Confucian, Zhu Xi 朱熹, presents a coherent interpretation that unifies the disparate aspects of the term’s meaning, and argues that “cosmos” does an excellent job of capturing this meaning and therefore should be adopted as our translation of tian.
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DOI 10.1007/s11712-018-9599-5
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Thinking Through Confucius.David L. Hall & Roger T. Ames - 1991 - Philosophy East and West 41 (2):241-254.

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