The transformation of the Wang Yangming scholarship in the West, ca. 1960–1980: a historical essay

Asian Philosophy 28 (2):135-156 (2018)
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ABSTRACTStudents of Ming philosophy and the thought of Wang Yangming likely know that the 1960s–1970s was a period during which many scholarships in this field of study were produced in the English language. Indeed, it has been almost half a century since a group of scholars came together at the University of Hawaii to present papers on Wang Yangming in commemoration of the fifth centenary of his birth. That group included, for example, Wing-tsit Chan, David Nivison, and Du Weiming. These scholars, along with two others not present—Julia Ching and Carsun Chang—played a transformative role in introducing Wang Yangming to an English-reading audience. But, the history behind their achievement, as well as how they interpreted him for that audience, has yet to be written. This paper provides a synopsis of that history, explaining why the scholars chose to write about him and what they said about his life and ideas.



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George L. Israel
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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