Dissertation, University of Hawaii at Manoa (2002)
This dissertation reinterprets the notion commonly translated as "human nature" (renxing in the Mencius by appealing to philosophical assumptions common to Warring States thought. Taking advantage of recently unearthed archeological finds from the Mencian school, the argument is made that renxing in the Mencius is most adequately understood as a dynamic disposition shaped by cultural and historical conditions, not as an a-historical "nature" common to all humans at all times. The notion of "becoming human" in the Mencius that results from this re-reading brings the text as a whole into focus. The central themes of the Mencius - the role of family, personal growth, moral development, and human advancement - are each understood within the framework of this alternative reading
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