Dobin Choi
University of Iowa
This essay examines the structural position of Mengzi’s 孟子 heart of compassion within his theoretical goal of teaching moral self-cultivation. I first investigate Kim Myeong-seok’s account that views ceyin zhi xin as a higher cognitive emotion with a concern-based construal. I argue that Kim’s conclusion is not sufficiently supported by the text of the Mengzi, but is also tarnished by the possibility of constructing a noncognitivist counter-theory of ceyin zhi xin. Instead, I suggest that David Hume’s causation-based approach to sentiment provides an alternative route to reach the theoretical core of Mengzi’s ceyin zhi xin. People’s uniform moral sentiment as the effect of mental causation implies that there is a natural cause universally engraved in the human heart. As Mengzi’s practical teaching of moral self-cultivation begins with recognizing this heart of compassion, his focus is placed not upon the characteristics of the expressed emotion, but upon the universal presence of its natural cause in the human heart which demonstrates our moral potential to care for others.
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DOI 10.1007/s11712-018-9641-7
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References found in this work BETA

Of the Standard of Taste.David Hume - 1757 - In Essays Moral, Political, and Literary. Libertyclassics (1987). pp. 226-249.
What an Emotion Is: A Sketch.Robert C. Roberts - 1988 - Philosophical Review 97 (April):183-209.

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Citations of this work BETA

Moral Artisanship in Mengzi 6A7.Dobin Choi - 2018 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 17 (3):331-348.
Moral Psychology of the Confucian Heart-Mind and Interpretations of Ceyinzhixin.Bongrae Seok - 2022 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 21 (1):37-59.

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