Discursive Understanding and Experiential Confirmation: Mou Zongsan and Tang Junyi on Human Nature

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Abstract

The philosophy of human nature is a core issue in traditional Confucianism from which ethical doctrines and teachings of moral practice are developed. The problem of human nature can be discussed from anthropological, social, cultural, and even biological perspectives. However, as far back as 300 BCE, Confucianism made it clear that human nature should be treated as a metaphysical problem, if it is able to be the ground of morality. The claim that “human nature is good” can be called a signifier of “genuine” Confucianism. Contemporary New Confucians like Mou Zongsan and Tang Junyi inherited this idea and inferred further that this claim is not a postulate, but a reality. Both of them also thought that the claim “human nature is good” cannot be regarded as a problem about the objective world which can be justified by external evidence. So how do these two contemporary New Confucian philosophers, who are learned in Chinese philosophy and well-trained in Western philosophical reasoning, tackle the problem? This is the focus of this chapter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDao Companion to Contemporary Confucian Philosophy
EditorsDavid ELSTEIN
PublisherSpringer
Chapter21
Pages469-487
Number of pages19
Volume15
ISBN (Electronic)9783030564759
ISBN (Print)9783030564735
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Dec 2020

Publication series

NameDao Companion to Contemporary Confucian Philosophy
Volume15
ISSN (Print)2211-0275
ISSN (Electronic)2542-8780

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