Throughout much of Chinese history, Mencius (372-289 BC) was considered the greatest Confucian thinker after Confucius himself. Following the enshrinement of the Mencius (an edited compilation of his thought by disciples) as one of the Four Books by Sung neo-Confucianists, he was studied by all educated Chinese. This book begins a reassessment of Mencius by studying his ethical thinking in relation to that of other early Chinese thinkers, including Confucius, Mo Tzu, the Yangists, and Hsün Tzu. The author closely examines (...) his ethical concepts and terms, showing how they were used in the Mencius and other texts. (shrink)
The Chinese ethical tradition has often been thought to oppose Western views of the self as autonomous and possessed of individual rights with views that emphasize the centrality of relationship and community to the self. The essays in this collection discuss the validity of that contrast as it concerns Confucianism, the single most influential Chinese school of thought. Alasdair MacIntyre, the single most influential philosopher to articulate the need for dialogue across traditions, contributes a concluding essay of commentary. This is (...) the only consistently philosophical collection on Asia and human rights and could be used in courses on comparative ethics, political philosophy and Asian area studies. (shrink)
With the world's population aging, hospitals are facing pressure to adequately meet the needs of a growing number of frail older patients. For this population, comorbidities combined with a limited ability to face stressful situations contribute to frailty whereby a small injury or illness can lead to significant loss of function. It is widely recognized that hospitalized older patients are more vulnerable to physical or cognitive functional decline and require increased assistance in activities of daily living (Creditor 1993; Sager et (...) al. 1996; Mahoney, Sager, and Jalaluddin 1998; Kortebein et al. 2008; English and PaddonJones 2010; Covinsky, Pierluissi, and Johnston 2011; Zisberg et al. 2011;... (shrink)
The use of the term hsing in the Meng-tzu is discussed, along with Mencius' views on jen-hsing. It is argued that while the use of hsing need not connote something unlearned and shared, Mencius did view jen-hsing in terms of certain unlearned emotional predispositions shared by all jen. He regarded jen as a species distinguished from other animals by its capability of cultural accomplishment, and felt that it is the presence of the emotional predispositions that makes this possible.
The origin, content, argumentative basis, practical implication, and influence of Mencius' views of mind-heart and human nature are discussed. While the differences between Confucius and Mencius are acknowledged, it is argued that Mencius' view that human nature is good is consistent with and is a further development of basic ideas in Confucius' thinking. The basis of Mencius' view is not empirical generalization but inner reflection and personal experience, which reveal a shared natural endowment in human beings with a transcendental source. (...) In addition to a discussion of Mencius' views, the development of his ideas in the Sung and Ming and by contemporary Neo-Confucians is also considered. (shrink)
The philosophical study of Confucian thought seeks to both understand the nature of Confucian thought in its historical and cultural context and relate it in an intellectually fruitful manner to contemporary philosophical discourse. Someone engaged in such a study will be pulled inward toward approximating the perspectives of the Confucian thinkers set in the context of their concerns and activities, and pulled outward away from the Confucians’ world of ideas to relate them to our present concerns and interests, specifically those (...) that characterize contemporary philosophical discourse. These two psychological forces, the inward pull and outward pull, can be combined in different ways in the psychological orientation that underlies such a study. This essay presents and discusses the merits of an approach that it describes as “studying Confucian thought from the inside out.” On this approach, the inward pull is maximally dominant, and even as the outward pull leads us to move beyond the Confucians’ own perspectives to relate their ideas to our present concerns and interests, we at the same time seek to do so in a way that is maximally continuous with their perspectives. Such an approach helps draw out the distinctive characteristics and insights of Confucian thought, and also furthers a direction of inquiry that the Confucian thinkers themselves advocate. (shrink)
The article discusses Dai Zhen's views on pattern. For Dai, pattern has to do with ensuring that the means by which one attains one's emotional propensities and satisfies one's desires will not prevent others from doing the same. The heart/mind has the capacity to know pattern on such basis and such knowledge will guide action. Ethical failure is due to a deficiency in knowledge, and self-cultivation involves developing one's capacity to know so that one can grasp the pattern in any (...) affair one encounters. (shrink)
Against the Artists. Jun'ichirō Tanizaki and the Man of Art. -/- This essay explores the concepts of "art" (gei) and "man of art" (geinin) in Tanizaki's works. These two notions belong to an ancient Japanese aesthetic tradition. The concept of 'gei' means "realization", "skill", but also "technique" and "ability". Traditional stage performances such as 'nō', 'kyōgen', 'bunraku', 'kabuki', are typical examples of 'gei'. On the other hand the concept of 'geinin' implies three pivotal aspects: 1) a strict and harsh aesthetic (...) education; 2) an environment suitable to develop the man of art's sensitivity; 3) a long process of emotional maturation. This perspective, according to this paper, sheds light on the peculiar Japanese aesthetic "difference" in relation to the concepts of art and artist developed - on the contrary - in Western tradition. (shrink)
In the Mengzi there is a hypothetical situation relating how the ancient sage-king Shun 舜 would respond if his father had committed murder. This has recently become a source of debate among Chinese philosophers. Here we will apply arguments made by Johannes de silentio (Kierkegaard's pseudonym) about the “teleological suspension of the ethical” related to the action of the biblical Abraham, and link them up to alternative interpretations of the actions of Shun. This challenges the current and traditional interpretations of (...) his actions, suggesting how this new approach can overcome ethical quandaries related to the Mengzian account of Shun's behavior. (shrink)
EDITOR’S ABSTRACTIn this article Zhang Jinghua provides a stern critique of the idea that Shun Culture is the origin of Chinese moral culture. He provides abundant textual evidence to show that such generalized claims can be misleading, and points out the difficulty in drawing sweeping conclusions from terse ancient sources.
EDITOR’S ABSTRACTThis article attempts to demonstrate the practical relevance of Shun Culture and the values it embodies for the rejuvenation of China. The author focuses on the social relevance of family relationships through concepts such as justice, loyalty, and filial piety, and the political relevance of ruling virtuously.
EDITOR’S ABSTRACTIn this article Zhou Jiachen explores the various faces of Shun developed throughout history that are present today. He identifies three representations: Shun as a historical figure, Shun as a protagonist of myths and legends, and Shun as a cultural symbol. Zhou hopes that reviving interest in this ancient figure will provoke reflective thinking on what it means to be Chinese and will generate a critical and creative revival in Chinese culture.
ABSTRACTFollowing the cultural and social devastation of the mid-twentieth century, posttraditional, post-Marxist China is experiencing a resurgence of interest in numerous traditional cultural elements, including the figure of the ancient sage-king Shun through what is being called Shun Culture. This issue of Contemporary Chinese Thought is devoted to bringing this phenomenon to light as it is expressed among the intellectual elite of contemporary mainland China. This introduction highlights significant features of the discourse that occurs within this phenomenon, raising questions regarding (...) the claims and perspectives presented, and probing a possible alternative to these claims by means of the role and values associated with a “cultural hero” and through engagement with a contemporary Anglo-European ethical discussion. (shrink)
EDITOR’S ABSTRACTIn this book excerpt, Wang Tiankui and He Hongbin set out to demonstrate both that Shun culture is the root of Confucian culture and that ethics sits at the core of Shun culture and all of Chinese culture. In both sections they cover a broad range of classical texts in support of their claim that understanding the essence of Shun culture is necessary to understanding the development of Confucian culture and Chinese civilization.
EDITOR’S ABSTRACTThis article by Chen Zhonggeng attempts to “fix the root” of Chinese culture in Shun Culture. He develops his argument through five core values of sincerity, filial piety, holding fast to the Mean, benevolence, and harmony, each of which he draws from a variety of classical texts. He closes by claiming that Shun should replace Master Kong as the true source of Chinese moral culture, and the foundation upon which future Chinese society should be built.
Like other mathematically intensive sciences, economics is becoming increasingly computerized. Despite the extent of the computation, however, there is very little true simulation. Simple computation is a form of theory articulation, whereas true simulation is analogous to an experimental procedure. Successful computation is faithful to an underlying mathematical model, whereas successful simulation directly mimics a process or a system. The computer is seen as a legitimate tool in economics only when traditional analytical solutions cannot be derived, i.e., only as a (...) purely computational aid. We argue that true simulation is seldom practiced because it does not fit the conception of understanding inherent in mainstream economics. According to this conception, understanding is constituted by analytical derivation from a set of fundamental economic axioms. We articulate this conception using the concept of economists' perfect model. Since the deductive links between the assumptions and the consequences are not transparent in ‘bottom‐up’ generative microsimulations, microsimulations cannot correspond to the perfect model and economists do not therefore consider them viable candidates for generating theories that enhance economic understanding. (shrink)
Confucianism advocates the lofty moral ideal of humane love (ren ai ä»æ) and condemns immoral actions. Strangely enough, however, Mencius, a paradigmatic Confucian intellectual who believed that a true man cannot be corrupted by wealth, subdued by power, or affected by poverty (Tu 1989a: 15), highly commended such typically corrupt actions as bending the law for the benefit of relatives or appointing people by mere nepotism when he talked about Shun è in the text of the Mencius. In the first (...) four sections of this article, I will address the issue of how Confucianism encourages a special kind of corruption through its fundamentally consanguineous affection. Then, in the remaining sections, I will try to respond to some criticisms of my views by a few Chinese scholars. (shrink)