Rational Justification in Xunzi

Thinkers justify their views in a variety of ways. Operating in an alien intellectual milieu, the early Confucian Xunzi (c. 310–215 B.C.E.) provides an intriguing counterpoint to familiar contemporary options for such reasoned support. This essay examines an idea thatis crucial to Xunzi’s justification of his larger philosophical vision, and which has been the object of incompatible and misleading interpretations. This key term of art is li, meaning “order” or “pattern,” which some scholars have translated as “principle,” and others more recently as “reason” or “rationale.” Examining how, for Xunzi, li never means “reason” in the sense of a faculty of the mind, or a warrant for an action or belief, nor “rationale” in the sense of a justifying account, helps us to grasp the distinctive ways he conceived of thinking and arguing. It also illuminates his understanding of the cosmos and human relations with and within it
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  History of Philosophy
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0019-0365
DOI 10.5840/ipq200444164
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 26,692
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Xunzi as a Semantic Inferentialist: Zhengmin, Bian-Shuo and Dao-Li.Chung-I. Lin - 2011 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 10 (3):311-340.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Nivison and the "Problem" in Xunzi's Ethics.James Behuniak - 2000 - Philosophy East and West 50 (1):97-110.
Sorai and Xunzi on the Construction of the Way.Kurtis Hagen - 2005 - Asian Philosophy 15 (2):117 – 141.
Xunzi's Systematic Critique of Mencius.Kim Chong Chong - 2003 - Philosophy East and West 53 (2):215-233.
The Role of Virtue in Xunzi's 荀子 Political Philosophy.Eirik Lang Harris - 2013 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 12 (1):93-110.
Virtues in Xunzi's Thought.Jonathan W. Schofer - 1993 - Journal of Religious Ethics 21 (1):117 - 136.
Xunzi and Han Fei on Human Nature.Alejandro Bárcenas - 2012 - International Philosophical Quarterly 52 (2):135-148.
From Desire to Civility: Is Xunzi a Hobbesian?Kim Sungmoon - 2011 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 10 (3):291-309.
Xunzi on Moral Expertise.Justin Tiwald - 2012 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 11 (3):275-293.
The Development of Xunzi's Theory of Xing.Dan Robins - 2001-2002 - Early China 26:99-158.
Aspects of Xunzi's Engagement with Early Daoism.Aaron Stalnaker - 2003 - Philosophy East and West 53 (1):87-129.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

26 ( #194,054 of 2,158,467 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #354,697 of 2,158,467 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums