Mental Partitioning and Explanations of Mental Conflict: An Investigation of Han Sources with Reference to Greek Psychology

Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 21 (3):407-430 (2022)
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This article examines the problem of mental partitioning and mental conflict in Han 漢 dynasty sources. It begins by outlining two Greek psychological models—the Platonic tripartite model and the Stoic monistic model—and explains the connection between the two psychological models and their differing descriptions of mental conflict. It then analyzes passages from a seldom discussed text, the _Extended Reflections_ (_Shenjian_ 申鑒), written by the Eastern Han thinker X un Yue 荀悅. A combined analysis of the _Extended Reflections_ with fragments from other Han dynasty thinkers uncovers debates on mental partitioning and mental conflict that are in some ways analogous to those found in Greek philosophical literature. One view posits that the human psyche is composed of two parts capable of producing conflicting motivations. The other view sees all actions as stemming from a single psychological center. The conclusions of this article offer new perspectives on early Chinese moral psychology that have important implications for modern research on early Chinese philosophy.



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Jordan Palmer Davis
Zhejiang University (PhD)

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References found in this work

Nicomachean Ethics.H. Aristotle & Rackham - 2019 - Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company.
An Introduction to Plato's Republic.Julia Annas - 1981 - Oxford University Press.
The World of Thought in Ancient China.Benjamin Isadore Schwartz - 1985 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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