Modern confucian synthesis of qualitative and quantitative knowledge: Xiong shili

Journal of Chinese Philosophy 36 (3):376-390 (2009)

Xiong was the originator and founder of Modern Confucianism (xin ruxue ) as well as one of the first Chinese philosophers, who developed his own system of thought, which was based upon classical Confucian concepts and, at the same time, adjusted to the conditions of the New Era. His contribution to the development of modern Chinese philosophy can also be demonstrated in a much broader, general sense. Xiong Shili, namely, also represents one of the first theoretically qualified intellectuals of his age, who didn’t advocate the conservative elitist nationalism, but at the same time opposed the prevailing trends of iconoclastic negation of tradition. Even later on, during the predomination of the so-called communist ideologies, Xiong rather consequently persisted in his—for that time completely unacceptable— standpoints.Thus Xiong Shili, remaining a real Confucian scholar at a time, when Confucianism was everything else but the prevailing state doctrine, doubtless represents a real traditional sage. For him, Confucianism was not solely the predominating system of thought, to which he should formally conform in order to achieve the realization of some privileges and private interests. He was a Confucian scholar by following his own inner conviction, or, with other words, he was a Confucian “inner sage.” Hereby,we encounter an extremely rare kind of Confucian scholars, namely of those, who did not remain limited to a paper-wrapped reproduction of idealistic principles of Confucian thought, but who also tried to perform them in their own life. Xiong’s personal moral was the ethics of a Confucian scholar, who can be a gentle, subtle thinker and a steadfast, consequent rebel at the same time.
Keywords Xiong Shili  Modern Chinese philosophy  Confucianism and Buddhism  Modern Chinese epistemology  Chinese theory of knowledge
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DOI 10.1111/j.1540-6253.2009.01525.x
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