How to make sense of the claim “true knowledge is what constitutes action”: A new interpretation of Wang yangming's doctrine of unity of knowledge and action

Abstract
No one denies the importance of applying knowledge to actions. But claiming identity (unity) of knowledge and action is quite another thing. There seem to be two problems with the claim: (1) the identity claim implies that the sole cause for one to fail to act on what one judges to be right is ignorance, but it is obviously false that the sole cause of failure in moral actions is ignorance. (2) The identity statement implies non-separation of knowledge and action. But knowledge does not necessarily lead to action. However, the identity of knowledge and action is what a famous Ming Confucian scholar, W ang Yang-ming, proposed and the concept became the central doctrine of his teaching. Though there are several major interpretations of Wang’s doctrine in contemporary literature, it is not clear to me how they deal with the above mentioned difficulties. In this article, I will discuss these interpretations of the doctrine and propose a new interpretation. My purpose is to give an interpretation of Wang’s doctrine that has the capacity of dealing with these challenges to the doctrine and also captures the essence of his teaching.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11712-009-9110-4
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,169
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
Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle - 1999 - Courier Dover Publications.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Knowledge in Action.John Gibbons - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (3):579-600.
Consciousness in Act and Action.Keith Hossack - 2003 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 2 (3):187-203.
Spinoza and Mental Health.Paul Wienpahl - 1972 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 15 (1-4):64 – 94.
Knowledge-How, True Indexical Belief, and Action.Elia Zardini - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (2):341-355.
Added to PP index
2009-05-02

Total downloads
63 ( #85,702 of 2,192,005 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #42,191 of 2,192,005 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature