Manyul Im’s Chinese Philosophy Blog

… 名可名非常名 …

Question Board

Got a quick question related to Chinese philosophy that someone who reads this blog might be able to answer? Here’s your chance. Put your life in the hands of a faceless, but not nameless, oracle. (Nameless would be the beginning of heaven and earth–I don’t think he/she/it checks in on this blog.)


  1. Chris wrote:

    …I’m trying to track down a resource that would tell me where exactly (in the Analects) the various important Chinese concepts appear. So, for instance, what passages mention hsueh? Or xin? Ren? And so on. I’m really interested in a very extensive resource (one with most of the concepts, not just the “big” ones). If anyone has any knowledge about such a book (or website?), I would greatly appreciate it.

    I wrote:


    Try Steve Angle’s etext project:
    There’s a link there to how you can read and search on your browser. If you have trouble, I’m sure Steve can help you.

    Anyone else have a suggestion?

    Comment by Manyul Im | February 19, 2008

  2. Manyul,

    Thanks — I’ll check out Steve’s page. Doing research and relying on memory or manually thumbing through the analects to find where concepts pop up is not particularly efficient.

    By the way, I think this page should be called “Shameless Q&A” or something of that sort.


    Comment by Chris | February 19, 2008

  3. Chris,

    “Shameless Q&A” sounds too much like a late night radio show–not that I’m that much above that. Anyway, there should be a few pedestrian headings…

    I also forgot that there’s another etext project, by Donald Sturgeon, that I actually put on my blogroll from the beginning:
    Check that out too; I haven’t tried text searching on it, but the site says it can be done.

    Comment by Manyul Im | February 19, 2008

  4. I just tried them — excellent. Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks again.


    Comment by Chris | February 19, 2008

  5. Chris,
    another place you might look is to the James Legge translations of the early Confucian texts–there are two volumes published by Dover, one containing the Analects, Zhongyong, and Daxue, and other called “The Works of Mencius”. Legge’s translations are way out of date, but the collections are useful because they contain an index of all terms used in the text, and listings of each of the places they come up. For the index alone, Legge is indispensible.

    Comment by Alexus McLeod | February 20, 2008

  6. Another resource worth exploring for the kind of purpose that Chris mentions — which also includes English translations — is the Shuhai Wenyuan site:

    For texts not included here or on my Wesleyan site, there are other sources; one good one is the Academia Sinica site in Taiwan:

    Comment by Steve Angle | February 20, 2008

  7. The following site might look good, but last year I found some of its texts to be missing sizable chunks – from error, not intent. It appears they may be working on it.

    Comment by Bill Haines | February 21, 2008

  8. Steve, Bill and Alexus,

    Thanks so much for the input here. These are all excellent resources and will keep me busy for a while! (Just what the doctor ordered)


    Comment by Chris | February 23, 2008

  9. Has anyone else suddenly been getting delays accessing this blog in the past 12 hours or so?


    Comment by Manyul Im | March 4, 2008

  10. No, and I’ve been accessing it pretty regularly during that whole period.

    Comment by Bill Haines | March 4, 2008

  11. Thanks, Bill. I’m at my in-laws’ so I’ll assume it’s their internet hookup unless I hear from anyone else that they’re having the same problem. (I’ll get back to your yong comments later, too; I’m going to be away from the computer the rest of the day today. Best.)

    Comment by Manyul Im | March 4, 2008

  12. Looking for yi 義 in the Mengzi I came across a glitch in the search engine of the Chinese Text Project.

    I wrote to Donald Sturgeon, and he checked in clever ways and reported that there’s a disconnect between the version of the search engine that reports to him and the version that reports to the rest of us. The latter misses about a fifth of the occurrences of the character in the Mengzi. He hopes to have the problem fixed in a day or so (which I think is quite wonderful). I’ll report back.

    If you’ve been relying on searches there, you might try them again after the problem is fixed.

    Comment by Bill Haines | March 31, 2008

  13. The problem *appears* to be fixed …

    Comment by Bill Haines | March 31, 2008

  14. from Donald Sturgeon
    Monday 10:30pm, Eastern Standard Time:

    “The cache is still rebuilding (it’s got about half way), so to be on the safe side I’d say it will be back to normal by tomorrow [Tuesday] morning. For some reason the issue only seemed to affect texts which had paragraphs split into sub-paragraphs, which is done extensively in the Mengzi and a minority of texts, mainly those with English translations; most texts appear to have been unaffected.”

    Comment by Bill Haines | March 31, 2008

  15. For searches like this, where accuracy is paramount, I’d rely only on the following three East Asian databases: (1) the Academia Sinica website, which Steve Angle already mentioned (#6, above); (2) the Hanquan database (, maintained by the Palace Museum in Taipei; and (3) the CHANT database in Hong Kong, which is fabulously useful but accessible only by subscription. No. 3 contains by far the largest selection of premodern philosophical texts; no. 1 is the easiest to use, but does not contain all the classical philosophers; and no. 2 lies somewhere between the two on both the ease-of-use and comprehensiveness axes. No offense to any of my North American colleagues who maintain their own online databases, but I don’t know anything about their input methods or accuracy checks, and have heard too many stories (such as the one in #12, above) about false negative results. By contrast, the error rate in the three East Asian databases that I mentioned is vanishingly small.

    It should be remembered that searches like this were possible even before the advent of the computer age through the use of printed concordances. They may be a little more tedious to use than online databases, but I highly recommend learning how to use them (in case, for example, your internet connection goes down…) CHANT has gorgeous printed concordances for each classical text in its database, but even before CHANG there were various concordance series that appeared over the course of the twentieth century (such as the Harvard-Yenching index series).

    Comment by Paul R. Goldin | April 24, 2008

  16. One issue with the Academia Sinica database is that some characters, including some pretty common ones, have been entered with non-standard codes. E.g., searching the DDJ for “眾” gets no hits, though it should retrieve DDJ 1, 8, 20, 21, 31, and 64, because “眾” has been entered with character code 0x8371, which is in an area reserved for user-defined characters (it should be 0xb2b3).

    I’m not sure how often this issue would trip you up (there are 34 instances of such non-standard characters in the DDJ, 312 in the Zhuangzi, 75 in the Mencius, and so on). But as someone who’s done work on quantifying expressions in classical Chinese, the “眾” example gives me pause.

    Comment by Dan Robins | April 24, 2008

  17. That’s a useful warning, and I can’t think of any excuse for such a lapse on the Academia Sinica site. At first I suspected that the edition they’re using as a basis (i.e. Zhu Qianzhi’s Laozi jiaoshi) might have some bizarre variant for zhong–but I checked, and it doesn’t.

    At any rate, the Hanquan and CHANT databases both give the correct results for zhong in the Laozi. CHANT is especially useful for cases like this because it will give you pop-up boxes showing variants right in the text.

    (I use the Academia Sinica site primarily for searches in the dynastic histories, because they are conveniently keyed to the Zhonghua shuju printed volumes.)

    Comment by Paul R. Goldin | April 29, 2008

  18. I have been trying to locate the original source of a quote uniformly (at least on the internet) attributed to Confucius:

    “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and Third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

    It appears that this particular English passage comes from “Chan’s Sources of Chinese Philosophy”, but I want to know the original quote in Chinese, if it does belong to Confucius.

    Thanks in advance.

    Comment by Felix Sadeli | May 14, 2008

  19. Felix, I don’t know where that would be. Maybe in the Kongzi Jiayu 孔子家語 ?

    Comment by Bill Haines | May 17, 2008

  20. Bill, thanks for the suggestion. A quick search in 孔子家語 regarding the quote offered no result. I will try again more carefully.

    Comment by Felix Sadeli | May 21, 2008

  21. Felix, it sure is quoted a lot for something with no clear source reference. I haven’t run across anyone who knows the source.

    Comment by Manyul Im | May 21, 2008

  22. Also, the quote sounds suspiciously un-Confucian to me. Confucius praising learning through refection (I would imagine this is supposed to be si 思) and saying nothing about wen 文? He and all of his followers were Ru after all! Also, referring to “experience” (I don’t know what Confucian term would translate this) in the suspiciously modern sense of “trial and error”? This seems dubious as well, unless whoever translated this used a radically different term than what was in the Chinese when they used ‘experience’ in this context.

    Comment by Alexus McLeod | May 23, 2008

  23. Good points, Alex. One could almost imagine that the line descends by a game of “operator” from Analects 16.9:

    Confucius said, “Those who are born knowing are highest. Those who know from study are next. Those who study only when pushed by problems are next. Those who have problems but do not study are the lowest.”

    Comment by Bill Haines | May 23, 2008

  24. Thank you all for the inputs. I concur with the opinion that the quote is suspiciously un-Confucian. Now that the source constraint is lifted, it seems to me that the quote could have come anywhere from a Buddhist text to some Greek stoic or even from some early modern philosopher (Descartes or Spinoza might have easily said that)!

    Comment by Felix Sadeli | May 23, 2008

  25. Hi all — Not a question, but (at Manyul’s suggestion) a couple resources that folks might be interested in. First, the new journal Frontiers of Philosophy in China is well worth looking at. Tables of contents are available from Springer’s website. Now in its third year, it publishes translations of recent Chinese-language journal articles on philosophy. Many are on Chinese philosophy.

    Second, if your institution has access to the Chinese Academic Journal Database, check it out! This is a terrific way to access Chinese-language (not translated) journal articles in all subjects, including huge amounts of stuff on Chinese philosophy.

    Comment by Steve Angle | July 18, 2008

  26. Here is an information link:

    Frontiers of Philosophy in China – Springer site

    Steve, or anyone else, is there an info link for Chinese Academic Journal Database?

    Comment by Manyul Im | July 18, 2008

  27. About the CAJD–as far as I know, you get it through the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) site–a listing of the databases they host:

    One of these is the China Academic Journals Database:

    Unfortunately, you’ve got to have a subscription to access full text of articles in the database–some universities have institutional subscriptions…my own university (UConn) appears not to have one. Damn.

    Comment by Alexus McLeod | July 19, 2008

  28. Hey, does anyone know if there is an online version of Cheng Shude’s Lunyu jishi? I can only find one volume of the hard version, and I have to order it by Interlibrary Loan (which sucks because you only get the thing for three weeks or so).

    For that matter, does anyone know of any sites on which I can find complete traditional commentaries on the Analects? I can usually only find bits and pieces.

    Comment by Alexus McLeod | July 23, 2008

  29. Here’s some discussion from another string that seemed like an off-topic, but interesting one. I’m going to paste the comments from there. If you’d like to add more information or comment, feel free!


    In Beijing around July 6 one couldn’t access this blog or Chris Panza’s “A Gu Indeed” (WordPress) or Alexus McLeod’s “Unpolished Jade” (Blogger).

    (Comment by Bill Haines | August 12, 2008 )

    My suspicion is that it’s platform-wide (blogger and wordpress), though I could be wrong. My blog has been political (in the sense of being negatively disposed towards the PRC), but I don’t make such posts often. I also don’t remember seeing any such posts here at this blog. Similarly for Alexus, I think his blog has been politically tame (can’t say the same about his facebook account, though, he’s an attack dog there!). That said, I _could_ completely understand why Sam Crane’s particular blog (The Useless Tree) is blocked (it is) — he is critical of the PRC on an almost daily basis.

    (Comment by Chris | August 12, 2008 )

    Here’s what the WordPress response to my query suggests. It could be useful for anyone planning travel to China. (Also, I’m going to COPY the past few comments and this bit of info to the Question Board so that if anyone wants to continue the string, we can do it there):

    Due to the free speech policies of China, and their nation-wide internet control is blocked in most regions. There are some easy ways around this – as most Chinese have figured out.

    There are some very easy ways for your friend to access freely the outside world from China. The most popular 2 ways used by most of the people inside China today are by email and by installing client side proxy softwares.

    For your friend, by installing client side proxy softwares should be the best choice.

    Quite a few of this kind of softwares available, best of all, for free, and are the most popular among Chinese, developed by overseas Chinese experts and hi-tech organizations to help people inside China to get through the China firewall.

    You can try the following 2 at least:

    1. UltraSurf
    Software download and User Guide are available at:

    2. Gpass:
    Software download and User Guide are available at

    3. Add to the domain name portion of the URL, like:

    Automattic |

    (Comment by Manyul | August 12, 2008 )

    Comment by Manyul Im | August 12, 2008

  30. Manyul — thanks for this information. I’ll need to make these alterations before I head to Beijing for the spring. I was worried about dealing with this problem while I’m over there — hopefully this will solve the problem!

    Comment by Chris | August 17, 2008

  31. Contributor Bill Goldman to Kirk Denton’s MCLC list (Modern Chinese Literature and Culture) wrote this March:

    “Yes: I just want to check that everyone can use the same software I use for evading the Chinese governments web control. You must have Firefox (or at least, be knowledgeable about configuring systems), then you google “Vidalia”. This will bring you to a page where the 2nd option down is “Download Vidalia” [there’s a Mac and a Windows option]. Obviously you do this, then I think all you have to do is re-start Firefox. It never goes wrong or has any other effect.”

    On “The China Beat” I found this paragraph:

    [A note from Andrew Field, H-ASIA’s editor: “[…] Unfortunately, like most other blogsites, this one is blocked in China, but by using a proxy server such as the Tor-Privoxy-Vidalia system, it is easy to get around this blockage. Another way to get round this is to subscribe to the [RSSS] feeder. I found that by using google reader, I can still read the posts on blocked blogs without having to resort to a proxy server. – AF”]

    Comment by Bill Haines | August 17, 2008

  32. I also tend to think there’s something more alien in “xin-ology” than just plain psychology located in–springing forth from (?)–the chest. But this hasn’t quite been mined as much here as in some of the “older” philology concerning the “psychology” of Homeric man. I’m thinking principally of E.R. Dodds’ *The Greeks and the Irrational*; there are probably other, more contemporary studies–I haven’t looked in a while, but I should. Partly, the thinking about Homeric accounts of deliberation and motivation is that the thinking seems to be done “by committee,” among the various organs/clusters of organs that serve as the “seats” of various feelings and judgments. Maybe Dodds takes that too far? I don’t know; I’ve always thought he was onto something. Something similar might be going on in early China since clearly the xin 心 is not even the sole locus of “psychological faculties.” The eyes, ears, mouth, and limbs seem to make certain kinds of judgments, or at least are the origins of certain sorts of desire and motivation. Not that that kind of talk hasn’t also had its history in the West…

    In short, I also think there’s something interesting here that people sail too serenely over when they simply declare that the core meaning of xin is ‘mind.’

    Comment by Manyul Im | August 17, 2008

  33. Hi Manyul Im … is it plausible, that the Guodian Laozi is written by a confucian philosopher? I’m at the moment discussing the possibility with other non-scholars and would like to have an scholarly opinion on the subject. We are focusing on the use of the term an1 wei4 in book C chapter 18, where the received Dao De Jing uses wei3. This use reverse the meaning in the sections 1, 3 and 4 of the chapter, but not in section 2 … maybe that’s why the section has been dismissed … by purpose?

    Comment by Jacques Briand de Crevecoeur | August 20, 2008

  34. Hi Jacques; maybe we could clarify your question a bit. We’re talking about the Guodian Laozi C:1, which contains versions of received chapters 17 and 18, right?

    What I see there that I think you are asking about is line 9. In modern equivalents (as transcribed by Peng Hao — I’m looking at Henricks (2000)), it reads: “故大道廢安有仁義”

    There we have:
    an1 安 (indexical, meaning “here” )
    you3 有 (meaning “there is” )

    I think the Mawangdui texts both have the same as this.

    On the other hand, in the traditional Wang Bi text there is simply you3 有.

    On that transcription, there’s no reversal of meaning. Are you construing an1 安 as a negation? Is your “wei3” a typo error? or has the transcription that Henricks relies on been superseded?

    Or have I misidentified the lines you’re asking about? I haven’t kept up with a lot of the very recent Guodian scholarship, so please let me know–Jacques, or anyone else who’s followed the scholarship more closely–if Henricks (2000) isn’t up-to-date any more; I shall “consign it to the flames” if so. Cheers!

    Comment by Manyul Im | August 20, 2008

  35. Hi Manyul … You got it right; here is my source:
    The webmisstress translate the Chu “fork” sign as wei3 but as wei4 on her comparison site:

    Click to access CC18.pdf

    I think that Henricks is up-to-date if the Guodian Laozi is written by a daoist, but … I have translated the Guodian Laozi into danish from the source above and every single chapter seems to have been edited by a very intelligent philosopher. An example: the connected chapter 5 and 16 quotations together describe the principle of the double action piston bellows invented about 350 BC in China.

    Comment by Jacques Briand de Crevecoeur | August 20, 2008

  36. Interesting; but I’m not sure what justifies the rather large emendation to the Guodian text, and why that would change/reverse the meaning of the chapter. Thanks for the links to your discussion!

    Comment by Manyul Im | August 20, 2008

  37. Hi Manyul … thanks for your kindly answer that underlines the difference between scholars and non-scholars … we can make large emendations without risking our reputation 🙂

    Comment by Jacques Briand de Crevecoeur | August 21, 2008

  38. Dear Manyul et al,

    I discovered your blog last month and have enjoyed greatly what I have been reading here. I have a quick question. I’ve been reading Dirk Meyer’s PhD. dissertation (which I found thanks to you). Reading about the Wuxing 五行 text from Guodian and Mawangdui, the five aspects of conduct are humaneness (仁), rightness (義), ritual propriety (禮), wisdom (智), and sagacity (聖). I’m wondering: what is the difference between wisdom and sagacity? (I also notice the Guodian text Liu De 六德 also has both wisdom and sagacity.)

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    Comment by Scott Barnwell | October 9, 2008

  39. Hi Scott,

    Interesting question. Just a quickie for now: Wisdom, zhi 智, may be narrower than sagacity, sheng 聖. Wisdom, at least in Mencius, seems linked to term, or concept, related knowledge and a certain kind of “know-how”–distinction making. Sagacity seems clearly broader, indicating a rarer, awe-inspiring know-how–in solving problems, often. This is related to the use of sheng to refer to legendary cultural heroes. There’s also just much more about sheng-figures and very little about zhi-people. Someone who’s looked more closely into zhi should correct me if that’s too gross.

    Comment by Manyul Im | October 10, 2008

  40. Hi Scott,

    I’m not sure I agree with Manyul about the Mencius. I think wisdom there might be mainly being smart in general. And sageliness seems to involve some further element of moral character.

    I think there are just three passages directly comparing the two terms. Here they are in order of decreasing clarity, with Legge’s translations.

    Zi Gong said, “You learn without satiety – that shows your wisdom. You teach without being tired – that shows your benevolence. Benevolent and wise – Master, you ARE a Sage.”

    “In Confucius we have what is called a complete concert. A complete concert is when the large bell proclaims the commencement of the music, and the ringing stone proclaims its close. The metal sound commences the blended harmony of all the instruments, and the winding up with the stone terminates that blended harmony. The commencing that harmony is the work of wisdom. The terminating it is the work of sageness. As a comparison for wisdom, we may liken it to skill, and as a comparison for sageness, we may liken it to strength – as in the case of shooting at a mark a hundred paces distant. That you reach it is owing to your strength, but that you hit the mark is not owing to your strength.”

    “The exercise of love between father and son, the observance of righteousness between sovereign and minister, the rules of ceremony between guest and host, the display of knowledge in [recognising] the talented, and the fulfilling the heavenly course by the sage – these are the appointment of Heaven.”

    I’m not sure Legge has this last passage right, so here’s my more noncommittal translation:
    “Ren in relation to father and son, righteousness in relation to ruler and sovereign, ritual in relation to guest and host, wisdom in relation to the excellent ones, the sage in relation to the way of heaven – these are the appointment of heaven.”

    Comment by Bill Haines | October 10, 2008

  41. Hey Bill,

    Thanks for the passage references. Slightly tangential question of my own: Does anyone think that either wisdom or sagacity goes beyond ethical *know-how* to anything more like the Greek *theoria*–or theoretical knowledge in any sense–in the Chinese tradition? I have my doubts; but I admit I haven’t thought a lot about this issue.

    Comment by Manyul Im | October 11, 2008

  42. Hi Manyul,

    I too have thought that Sheng is more inclusive or exhaustive with regards to wisdom. I have wondered if Sheng might apply only if one can “practice what he/she preaches,” whereas Zhi might just mean knowledgeable. If Zhi means “wise” or “possessing wisdom,” one would assume such a person must put what one has learned into practice, otherwise one would not truly be wise. Some of these thinkers regarded Zhi and Sheng as distinct virtues.

    Sheng has etymological connections with both Ting 聽 “to hear,” and Sheng 聲 “sound.” I have read further in the Wuxing text the following relevant lines:





    What do you make of these? It seems Sheng definately has something to do with hearing (聞). Wisdom has something to with seeing (見). Arguably our two primary senses. Perhaps a wise person “merely” sees and understands Rendao (人道) and the sage only needs to hear something to know (something), which includes Tiandao (天道), in addition to Rendao (or the Junzi’s Dao 君子道). There’s also mention Cong 聰 intelligence (which also seems to have something to do with hearing).

    Comment by Scott Barnwell | October 11, 2008

  43. Scott, the passages you quote seem to me to fit the idea that sheng(sageliness) is like zhi(wisdom) but more so.

    Manyul, I’m not sure about zhi(wisdom). From the fact that Mencius takes certain skills, dispositions, and concerns each to be evidence of zhi(wisdom), Van Norden infers in his new book that Mencius takes them to be essential parts of wisdom (273-7); but the inference looks to me invalid on its face.

    The rest of this Comment is something I wrote up recently about the cognate character zhi(knowledge), which may be relevant:

    A quick survey suggests that the pictures of knowledge implicit in the classical use of zhī 知 (know) are commonly closer to the idea of propositional knowledge than to the idea of behavioral dispositions. Consider the Mencius. There we find some eighty independent uses of zhī 知 (know). Up to sixty-eight are not very hard to classify.

    A. In three of these, the object of zhī is simply a sentence. “How do you know I can?” (1A7; see 5A2, 6B15). In five or six cases, the object of zhī is a placeholder whose antecedent is a sentence or a choice of sentences: “Jin state has no superior in strength under Heaven; this is something you know” (1A5); and in another case the antecedent gives a choice: “Was the millet he eats planted by Bó Yí? or was it planted by robber Zhí? These are things that cannot be known” (3B10).

    B. Eighteen cases fit the pattern of “know his [being] going to rebel” (2B9), where the object is a sentence with the subject put into the possessive.

    C. Eight or ten cases fit the pattern of “what the king greatly desires can be known” (1A7) “the officers do not yet know where you are going” (1B16), and “know [what is] the cause” (7A13). Here the object of zhī is a noun phrase, but knowing “where you are going” is not a familiarity with that place, nor awareness that it exists, nor skill in dealing with it. Rather, the noun phrase in effect picks out an open sentence (“You are going to x”) which if completed would give the content of the knowledge. Similarly in English, while “knowing the capital of France” can mean familiarity with Paris, it more naturally means knowing, for some x, that the capital of France is x. Still, language is probably less central to this variety of knowledge than the account I have just given suggests. For I might know who Susie is, how potato chips taste, the layout of my home, what paisley looks like, (what is) the shape of a durian, and (what are) the moves of the macarena. In these cases I might not know how to do the main work of filling in the blank with words alone. I might have to show something: a picture, diagram, model, sample, or Susie. Paisley looks like — this. How close such knowledge is to “propositional” knowledge may depend on how closely propositions are tied to sentences.

    D. In twenty-three cases the object of zhī is a simpler noun, such as “sprouts,” “Guăn Zhòng,” “words,” or “the Way” (1A6, 2A1, 2A2, 2A4). (Some of these cases may belong in our previous category.) Knowledge in these cases might be conceived as knowing that the thing exists, familiarity with it, knowing what its items are, understanding it, understanding its significance, knowing various key things about it such as its value or merits, knowing how to deal with it, or knowing how to interpret it. (One cannot paraphrase zhī in these cases as know how to or know to.)

    E. In six cases, zhī means know to, as in “know to collect taxes” (1A3). The remaining two cases fit know how: “know how to govern” (zhī wéi zhèng 知為政: 4B2) and “know how to counsel well” (zhī lǜ 知慮: 6B13).

    Groups A through C represent the majority of cases. If they reflect a certain conception of knowledge, perhaps it is knowledge as awareness of a situation or state of affairs. (I mean states of affairs as distinct from propositions, not facts as distinct from values. Examples of states of affairs might include my owing you money, or its being wrong to tax above ten percent.) The concrete paradigm might be seeing or hearing, and one might not draw a sharp distinction between being aware of states of affairs and understanding things (group D).

    This model predicts the absence of a common word that relates to zhī as “believe” relates to the narrowly propositional “know.” English has no common word that relates to “see” or “hear” in that way, nor do we say someone believes the capital of France or believes of the bottle’s containing poison.

    This picture of knowledge need not involve the idea of an inner mental picture to parallel the function of a sentence in propositional knowledge. But it allows for the idea that we can know things by way of other things. In seeing the skull and crossbones, I see the poison; or in seeing this bottle’s having that sign, I see this bottle’s having poison.

    Comment by Bill Haines | October 12, 2008

  44. Scott,

    I think I remember that Jane Geaney, in her book “On the Epistemology of the Senses in Early Chinese Thought,” argues at some length that in early Chinese thought seeing tends to be associated with observing actions, while hearing tends to be associated with observing words. She has in mind e.g. Analects 2.18.

    And by the way, I think the question you’ve raised is a really valuable one.

    Comment by Bill Haines | October 12, 2008

  45. Hi Bill,

    It’s nice of you to compliment me on asking this question.

    I’ve read a little bit of Jane Geaney’s book, but didn’t read what you refer to. Analects 2:18 does mention both Wen-hearing (聞) and Jian-seeing (見). I also found this passage in Xunzi 8 which might be of help, since it deals with hearing (聞), knowing (知), seeing (見): 不聞不若聞之,聞之不若見之,見之不若知之,知之不若行之,學至於行之而止矣。行之、明也,明之為聖人,聖人也者,本仁義,當是非,齊言行,不失豪釐,無他道焉,已乎行之矣。故聞之而不見,雖博必謬;見之而不知,雖識必妄;知之而不行,雖敦必困。不聞不見,則雖當,非仁也,其道百舉而百陷也。 But there is no mention of Zhi-wisdom or Sheng-sagacity (only Shengren 聖人), although, as the quote below shows, making appropriate decisions as to right and wrong (當是非) is considered Zhi-wisdom.

    Regarding Zhi 智, Mencius 2A6 has “是非之心,智之端也。” and Xunzi 2 has “是是、非非謂之智,非是、是非謂之愚。” This seems to make it clear that Zhi-wisdom refers to the ability to tell Shi-right from Fei-wrong. Xunzi 22 has: 所以知之在人者謂之知。知有所合謂之智。, but I’m not sure I understand it. Xunzi almost never discusses Sheng by itself. Xunzi 8 seems to show very little difference between Zhi-understanding and being a Shengren: 彼學者,行之,曰士也;敦慕焉,君子也;知之,聖人也。 Maybe this is one reason he objected to the theory of Wuxing 五行?

    You wrote, “the passages you quote seem to me to fit the idea that sheng(sageliness) is like zhi(wisdom) but more so.”
    Yes, perhaps. But it still seems to me that, as part of a list of Five Virtues, they are as distinct as, e.g. Ren and Li. The Shengren would embody them all, not just Sheng-sagacity. But I could be wrong.

    There are many lists of enumerated De-virtues/characteristics/character traits. Although not called De, Robber Zhi refers to: sagacity (聖), bravery (勇), righteousness (義), wisdom (知), benevolence (仁) in Zhuangzi 10: 夫妄意室中之藏,聖也;入先,勇也;出後,義也;知可否,知也;分均,仁也。 which watson translates as:
    “Making shrewd guesses as to how much booty is stashed away in the room is sageliness (聖); being the first one in is bravery (勇); being the last one out is righteousness (義); knowing whether the job can be pulled off or not is wisdom (知); dividing up the loot fairly is benevolence (仁).”

    Okay, I’ll stop now.

    Ps. Christoph Harbsmeier has an interesting essay called “Conceptions of Knowledge in Ancient China” in Lenk & Paul’s Epistemological Issues in Classical Chinese Philosophy (1993).

    Really now. That’s it!

    Comment by Scott Barnwell | October 12, 2008

  46. Hi Scott,

    Zhuangzi is a hoot.

    The idea that a 聖人 isn’t simply a 人 who is 聖 is a brand new idea to me. Perhaps I’m displaying my vast ignorance. I’d be grateful if you’d point me to some evidence for this point. Or you, Manyul, if you have something handy.

    In case there was evidence in Dirk Meyer’s dissertation, which I still haven’t read, I had my Machine search a few chapters, especially the one on 五行. All I found was a suggestion to the contrary. On p. 156, the third line of 15.1 seems to use 聖人 to mean person with the quality 聖. 160f considers the idea that this line may be a later addition to the original text, but doesn’t raise the point about 聖人 as a relevant piece of evidence.

    Thanks Scott, I had looked at the Harbsmeier piece. It’s worth returning to. My particular interest lately has been in how the early Confucians predominantly understood 知, and his main concern seems to be how neo-Mohists other later people sometimes theorized about it. Also I think he omits some of the main candidate conceptions of knowledge, such as the not-reallly-propositional “awareness of a situation” that I describe in my long comment above, and the “knowing-to” that Hansen sometimes says is the main early Chinese model of knowing.

    Comment by Bill Haines | October 13, 2008

  47. Hi Bill,

    You wrote: “The idea that a 聖人 isn’t simply a 人 who is 聖 is a brand new idea to me. Perhaps I’m displaying my vast ignorance.” No, I think you are correct here: this is the majority view in ancient China. But I think it’s important to realize that there were undoubtedly some who had different views. We shouldn’t over-generalize for a empire so large. (I could talk more about this sometime.) It seems to me that if an author lists/discusses Sheng-sagacity separately from Zhi-wisdom, as the authors of the Wuxing, chapter 10 of the Zhuangzi, and others do, then there must be some difference (in their minds). On page 161 Meyer writes: “The analysis has shown that ‘sagacity’ and ‘wisdom’ are exceptional virtues that stick out of the row of five virtues. Sagacity and wisdom answer for the formation of the other three of the five virtues.”

    Even so, Sheng-sagacity and Zhi-wisdom are distinct, which led me to ask about what is distinct enough about these two that warrants them being treated separately. If Sheng presupposes being wise, then why not drop Zhi-wisdom from the list? If one wanted exactly Five virtues, there’s plenty more to choose from.

    Regarding the 3rd line of 15.1: 聖人知天道也. All this says (to me) is that the sage understands the Heavenly Way, which in 1.2 is said to entail mastering all 5 virtues. Mastering only 4 means that one only understands/practices the Human Way 人道.

    But, I’m somewhat confused about this matter. But as “Zhuangzi” once said: 知其惑者,非大惑也。 😉

    Comment by Scott Barnwell | October 13, 2008

  48. Scott, the first paragraph in your most recent comment makes me wonder if you have misread my “isn’t simply a 人 who is 聖” as “isn’t simply a 人 who is 智” ??

    Comment by Bill Haines | October 13, 2008

  49. No Bill, I read and understood you correctly. I DO believe that most of the time a Shengren is a 人 who is 聖. I should’ve started a new paragraph with “It seems to me that if…”

    Comment by Scott Barnwell | October 13, 2008

  50. FWIW, Ken Holloway’s dissertation: “The Recently Discovered Confucian Classic: ‘The Five Aspects of Conduct'” (2002, and to be published next year by OUP) has a chapter that deals with this. Sorry I don’t have time to look into it, but perhaps someone can drum it up for you (I believe it’s available electronically on Pro Quest).

    Comment by Agui | October 13, 2008

  51. Found it! Thanks for posting the info, Agui.

    Scott, my follow-up question is then: “There were undoubtedly some who had different views [i.e. some who thought sheng is distinct from what makes a ren a shengren]” — can you help me arrive at your state of non-doubt by pointing to a passage somewhere that reflects that view? Thanks!

    Comment by Bill Haines | October 13, 2008

  52. Hi Bill,

    You wrote: “can you help me arrive at your state of non-doubt by pointing to a passage somewhere that reflects that view?”

    Probably not, if this Wuxing text hasn’t already convinced you. If embodying Sheng-sagacity is the only requirement to be a Shengren, then Sheng must be inclusive of all virtues/characteristics/abilities. As I’ve said, it doesn’t seem to be so in the Wuxing or any passage which lists it on par with, or separately from other virtues/abilities.

    Comment by Scott Barnwell | October 14, 2008

  53. Hi Scott,

    I haven’t studied the Wu Xing yet; I’ve only read parts of it. The mere fact of the list doesn’t look to me like a strong reason to think that sagacity isn’t sageliness, nor (a distinguishable point) that sagacity doesn’t imply the other four virtues. If the wu xing doesn’t go out of its way to say that sagacity isn’t sageliness, that would be, I think, a pretty good reason to think they’re supposed to be the same thing. But I really should give the thing a real reading and then reply more fully later.

    One possible view is that while sagacity implies each of the other four, sagacity includes more than just the other four. Then there would be a point to listing all five, not just the four or the one. Especially if sagacity is really rare.

    If sagacity=sageliness, then probably sagacity implies the other virtues. But that doesn’t mean it includes the other virtues. Lightning implies thunder but doesn’t include it.

    (For comparison: Aristotle thinks phronesis implies all the moral virtues. He thinks general justice is, in a way, the sum of the other moral virtues. He thinks magnanimity in a distinctive way implies the other moral virtues. He thinks each of the moral virtues in a sense implies each of the others, because each implies phronesis. But he still lists them all.)

    It’s my bedtime!

    Comment by Bill Haines | October 14, 2008

  54. Manyul et al,

    I just left this quote over at little fishes and now I am bothered

    I really want to know what the significance is of the “five” tripods.

    Google has provided nothing so far.

    In return here is my post on the Nine tripods.

    Comment by Peony | October 29, 2008

  55. Hey Manyul,

    How did you get the cluster map to work in wordpress on your front page? I’ve been looking for something like that.

    Am I missing something in the platform itself (the control panel options)?


    Comment by Chris | November 11, 2008

  56. Hey Chris (and any other WP blogger interested),

    I just went to the cluster map site (, registered, and got the html to paste.

    Then I went to my Dashboard and clicked on Design and then Widgets. Then I added a Text widget to my column and clicked on Edit to get the text-box into which I pasted the html.

    That should do it. It takes a couple of days for the cluster map to register enough hits to update itself.

    (The cluster map is very cool–isn’t it? Who’s out there in north-east Africa checking my blog?)

    Comment by Manyul Im | November 11, 2008

  57. Manyul –

    That’s explains it. I knew Cluster was out there, but couldn’t figure out how to paste the HTML into the platform, given that it doesn’t give you access to it (unless you pay for the privilege). I never thought of pasting it into a widget text box. I’ll give that a shot.

    It is very cool, by the way. I’ve been curious myself where the lurkers on my blog come from.


    Comment by Chris | November 11, 2008

  58. Chris,

    You shouldn’t have to pay for anything to use the html that they provide you once you register. By the way, I miss the wallpaper…

    Comment by Manyul Im | November 11, 2008

  59. M:

    I meant that you’d have to pay WordPress. I think you have to pay them a certain amount a year to have access to the HTML coding for the platform. Unless I’ve missed something. Using the widget text boxes get around it.

    You miss the bookshelf wallpaper? I got bored, and decided to go minimalist. 🙂

    Comment by Chris | November 11, 2008

  60. M:

    A while back I thought you had a post (or at least part of a discussion in comments) on blogs blocked in the PRC. I remember Bill saying that yours and mine were blocked (at least when he checked in Beijing). I also recall someone (maybe you?) posting a fix for the problem. Do you know where that discussion is? I’ve looked around, but can’t locate it. I’d like to get this problem fixed before I leave for China. I notice that your blog is taking hits from Beijing (or that general area) so I assume you fixed the problem.

    Comment by Chris | November 15, 2008

  61. Chris, it’s at ##29ff here on the Question Board.

    Comment by Bill Haines | November 15, 2008

  62. Good lord! I’m Mr. Magoo blind. I walked through this thread slowly looking too.

    Thanks, Bill.

    Comment by Chris | November 15, 2008

  63. Not a question, but others might be interested in knowing that Nicholas Gier (emeritus professor at the University of Idaho) has just published a review of Jiyuan Yu’s The Ethics of Confucius and Aristotle: Mirrors of Virtue in the latest Journal of Chinese Philsoophy. Gier concludes:

    “Yu’s book is the best book on comparative philosophy I have ever read. He has proposed a very creative methodology and he applies his expert knowledge of Greek and Chinese philosophy with great care and insight. I recommend this book without reservation.”

    Comment by Steve Angle | November 17, 2008

  64. What’s up everyone–this isn’t a question either, but what the hell…

    I’ve finally had it with, which is going crazy and not allowing me to upload new posts to my blog, so I’m moving to WordPress with all the cool people. I haven’t found a way to import all the old posts and comments yet, but there’s a functional (yet not very stylish) reincarnation of Unpolished Jade up at

    I’ve just posted something on Analects 12.1 up there, with more to come. Hopefully I can figure out how to get all the old stuff back soon. I’ll leave the old site up for some time until I figure out how to do it (IF I can).

    Comment by Alexus McLeod | December 2, 2008

  65. Hey Alexus and Everyone Else,

    I’ve put up a page called ‘The Kiosk‘ for non-question items that you’d like to announce. Still shameless, but not so much worn on the sleeve…

    Comment by Manyul Im | December 2, 2008

  66. Manyul,

    Bao Pu asked me if I could activate the ‘reply-notification’ feature on my blog. He says you have it turned ‘on’ here at your blog. I’m not aware of this being a feature. Do you know of it and if so, where is it?

    Comment by Chris | December 9, 2008

  67. Chris,

    I think Bao Pu benefits from the Feedburner subscription to my blog–that gives him notifications via email about changing content on the blog. (Bao Pu, confirm if this is what you mean.)

    I don’t know that WordPress has the function internally. Go to to get the subscription widget and put the html into a text widget on your sideboard.

    Comment by Manyul Im | December 9, 2008

  68. Here’s something from Mencius 7B12 that might support “weak,” if not–or even better than–“tenuous” for xu 虛:


    What do you think? Or would this somehow indicate that the kingdom would become less populous? Less full of worthies? This may be exceptional enough that one of the latter meanings may be more likely than “weak.”

    Comment by Manyul Im | December 21, 2008

  69. Interesting reference, Manyul. My instinct is to take 空虛 there as something like “hollow and insubstantial.” It’s only a short step from that interpretation to “weak,” though.

    Comment by Chris Fraser | December 21, 2008

  70. Hi Chris — I can’t resist pointing out how elegantly Brandom’s theory of meaning allows one to capture ideas like “part of the basic connotation of xu1 虛 is a contrast with shi2 實”: commitment to a thing’s being 虛 automatically licenses the inference that it is not 實.

    Comment by Steve Angle | December 22, 2008

  71. Steve, I fully agree. In textual interpretation, I’m typically working with Brandom’s theory in the back of my head. Setting aside the issue of whether it’s the most defensible theory of meaning, it is surely a leading contribution to the theory of interpretation.

    When I see people turn to Gadamer as a basis for discussions of interpretive methodology, I always wish they would read Brandom too (or instead). The details of Brandom’s theory — the multiple “scorebooks” — explain the mysterious claims that meaning is unfixed and that the meaning of a text for us is different from that for its author. They also explain what it would be to get a text “right,” in the sense that our interpretation approaches convergence with that of its author.

    Comment by Chris Fraser | December 22, 2008

  72. Happy Newyear Manyul Im – xu1 is used in the Guodian Laozi book A chapters 5 and 16 to describe the situation, when the handle of a working pull-and-push box-bellows arrives at one of the two extremes, leaving no room for air to one side and maximum space for air to the other side of the box-piston.

    Comment by Jacques Briand de Crevecoeur | January 5, 2009

  73. Hi Manyul Im – You asked for something anti-Henricks?

    Cut off knowledge and throw away distinction
    and people benefit hundred times
    Cut off ability and throw away welfare
    and thiefs and robbers no more exist
    Cut off self-defence and throw away anxiety
    and people turn back to filial children

    Guodian Laozi begins with three anti-mohist paroles!!!

    The second part of each anti-mohist parole can be read both as an argument and as something to be thrown away too.

    Comment by Jacques Briand de Crevecoeur | January 8, 2009

  74. Correction: and people return to lastborn children
    The original min2 fu4 ji4 zi3 was corrected to min2 fu4 xiao4 zi3 by the chinese Guodian editors. This correction was a mistake. The mohists philosophy was to show filial piety to others parents first. That’ll say to show filial piety to the youngest son and not the oldest son as a consequence.

    Comment by Jacques Briand de Crevecoeur | January 10, 2009

  75. Hi! I am writing a legal theory essay and having attended HKPU Chinese school over summer (which had an additional chinese philosophy class) a vague memory I have may serve my immediate purposes and I was wondering whether anybody could help me clarify the vagueness?
    I seem to remember the professor telling me about the “hungry ghost state” and a picture featuring skeletal beings surrounded by food and he either said or implied that this would be Hell but then asked us to question whether we were not already in that state now. with the abundance of advertisements and pictures of fame and wealth are we all not hungry ghosts living in a land of food? however, I’d like to bring this into my essay but I dont know what book it came from or how I would possibly quote it etc. CAN ANYBODY SHED SOME LIGHT ON THIS PLEASE! it would be greatly appreciated thank you!!!! xxx

    Comment by Dianne Lai | January 16, 2009

  76. Hi Dianne,

    The Abhidharmakosa contains descriptions of heavenly realms and hells. Actually, any good introduction to Buddhism as a religion should give you references for descriptions of hungry ghosts–they can only eat feces, scum, pus, etc. because they have thin tube-like throats and/or mouths–more importantly because, “poetically,” they have insatiable appetite for things that have obviously, um, low value. There’s a nice Japanese press book (Kosei Publishing) in English by Akira Sadakata, called *Buddhist Cosmology: Philosophy and Origins* that has more detail of heavens and hells collated together than any other volume I’ve found. Have fun.

    Comment by Manyul Im | January 16, 2009

  77. Hi Manyul Im – Henricks translated the Guodian chapter 17/18 without noticing the rythme of 4 characters in each line. That’s why he totally missed the pointe, that the chapter is an anti-feudalism (anti-nobility) text. He too translated ‘hundred surnames’ bai3 xing4 as ‘common people’, but only the nobility had surnames untill 375 BCE (new law in the state of Qin). ‘hundred surnames’ bai3 xing4 was originally the ancient chinese nickname for the nobility. When did it change meaning to ‘common people’?

    Comment by Jacques Briand de Crevecoeur | January 16, 2009

  78. Interesting question, Jacques. Here’s what Mark Lewis argues in Writing and Authority in Early China (pp.25-26). According to him, the change occurred in “the early Warring States” period. I’ve put the most relevant statements of that in bold below:

    The practice of regulation through the awarding of titles points to another feature of Warring States documentary administration derived from earlier ritual practices: the granting of family names. Our current understanding of Shang and Zhou naming practices suggests that the patronym (xing 姓) first appeared under the Zhou as a function of the division of the single royal ancestral cult into a multitude of noble lineages and sublineages. The Zhou aristocracy was divided into a small number of patronyms distinguished by a taboo on intermarriage, and a larger number of “clan names” (shi 氏) usually derived from names of fiefs or official titles. The establishment of cults to the founders of the feudal states and the lineages of hereditary officials was followed by the royal granting of family names to all those tracing descent from a common ancestor. Both patronym and clan name were granted in the enfeoffment process and were hence a noble privilege, while commoners had no family names.

    There is no direct evidence of the extension of this privilege to the masses. However, as service obligations were extended, governments began to register peasants by name, perhaps as early as the eighth century B.C., and certainly by the sixth. To register tens of thousands of households solely on the basis of personal names would have been impossible, so it is a reasonable hypothesis that the granting or recognition of surnames took place in association with the process of registration. While no government registers have survived, other remains provide evidence of the appearance of family names among the common people during the Warring States period. Inscriptions on pottery found in excavations at the capital of the state of Qi often include the names of craftsmen. Inscriptions on pots produced in government shops include the personal name of the craftsman, his political unit, and the location of the shop. Those from the hands of private craftsmen recorded personal name, town, and quarter. Thus at first there is no evidence of family names, but place of residence was used instead. However, where craftsmen were organized on kin lines and produced certain vessel types over several generations, in some cases the name of the founding ancestor came to identify the workshop and was adopted as a clan name. In addition, pre-Qin seals contain thousands of examples of individuals with both personal and family names. Thus it was in the early Warring States that the phrase “hundred surnames” (bai xing 百姓) ceased to refer to the nobility and came to mean “the common people.” Just as the incorporation of the common people into state administration entailed the granting of ritual titles, it also included the ritual gift and subsequent inscription of a family name based on the model of the old Zhou nobility. This practice was fundamental not only to registration but to the execution of law, for the “Models for Sealing and Investigations” from the Yunmeng legal documents states explicitly that any testimony begins with the name, status (i.e., rank), and legal residence of the witness, and the cases from Baoshan provide numerous examples of this practice.

    Does that help? I don’t have a strong opinion about it, but Lewis seems aware of the question and of evidence for his answer to it.

    Comment by Manyul Im | January 16, 2009

  79. Hi Manyul Im. Lewis writes in his new book The Early Chinese Empires page 235, that:
    “In the Zhou state a family name had been an aristocratic privilege, but in the Warring States this was extended to commoners … Membership in society, as defined by law, entailed by being registered within a lineage and a household.”
    Servants and slaves were e.g. not registered this way, so “common people” didn’t mean all people, but only common people in contrast to aristocratic people as I understand it?

    Comment by Jacques Briand de Crevecoeur | January 21, 2009

  80. If that is true uniformly about servants and slaves, then yes, that would follow from Lewis’s statements.

    Just a follow up thought: “All people” is a loaded term all around, though, isn’t it? Ren 人 probably has a smaller range of application than what we could classify as “biological human” at least up to a historical point, in pre-Qin China. Likewise, min 民 encompasses something smaller than “all people.” I’m not sure “all people” is something precise even in English; it depends on if we’re talking about biological, legal, or some other significance of personhood or “people-hood.”

    Comment by Manyul Im | January 22, 2009

  81. Forgive my ignorance; I’m new to Chinese philosophy. Here’s a quick question:

    In that famous passage in Mencius IIA6 about sprouts, the Lau translation says, “the heart of courtesy and modesty [is the sprout of] observance of the rites”. What are the Chinese words used here for “courtesy and modesty”? (If you could show me both the character and the Pinyin, that would be great.) And is “observance of the rites” here “li” or is it something else? Thanks for your help.

    Comment by Heidi | March 28, 2009

  82. Thanks, gentlemen. I’ll go ahead and throw out the bigger question(s) to see what comments folks have:

    I’ve been trying to figure out the extent to which the main virtues Mencius discusses might be similar to the cardinal virtues in classical Western philosophy (wisdom, temperance, courage, and justice). I was wondering whether “courtesy and modesty” were at all similar to temperance. (I’ve also been wondering whether the larger idea/project of self-cultivation reasonably could be taken as development of temperance (or “self-discipline”), but that seems awkward if self-cultivation is supposed to make us ren and “ren” doesn’t mean “temperate”.)

    Comment by Heidi | March 31, 2009

  83. Hi Heidi,

    Taken as “self-discipline,” temperance seems in Mencius to be prerequisite to possession of the virtues. I’m thinking primarily of Mencius 1B1-5, where Xuan of Qi confesses a variety of “delights” (hao 好)–things he loves or enjoys, that seem to be getting in the way of virtuous actions and policies. That seems most directly to be about your interest. 6A10,14,&15 might also be relevant.

    Courtesy and modesty–or really deference and yielding–seem more specifically tied to the virtue involved in ritualized interaction. They are really the flip side of respectfulness and a kind of self-modesty (i.e. the opposite of self-promotion).

    For self-discipline, the phrase “self-cultivation” (xiu shen 修身) comes to mind, because as a matter of fact, I think the focus in Mencius is less on cultivation and more on self-correcting, or discipline. So, I’m sympathetic to the idea that self-discipline (temperance?) leads to virtue in Mencius. You just have to separate it from courtesy and modesty and attach it to xiu shen–what a lot of people translate as “self-cultivation.” Then you have to think of it in terms of self-discipline, or temperance itself, as the thing that IS the project leading to the virtues–hence, temperance as prerequisite to virtue.

    Sounds like an interesting project.

    Comment by Manyul Im | March 31, 2009

  84. Hi, is there anyone who can access Shuhai Wenyuan’s worktable? I haven’t been able to in months and I’ve gotten no response to my emails.

    Comment by Bao Pu | October 14, 2009

  85. Bao Pu,

    Brian Bruya emailed me back with this update on the Shuhai Wenyuan:

    Dear Manyul,

    We’re in the midst of some significant adjustments.  For the time being, we’re asking users to try the Chinese Text Project.

    Apologies for the inconvenience.


    Comment by Manyul Im | October 14, 2009

  86. Thanks Manyul. He said almost the same thing about 4 years ago when he did email me back.

    Comment by Bao Pu | October 14, 2009

  87. Hi all,

    I was wondering if anyone could offer a few suggestions regarding whether and to what extent any philosophers have attempted to associate the classical Chinese thought, especially the Analects and Mencius, with consequentialism?
    That is, to what extent the content of the texts have been understood through the ideas of a consequentialist ethic…

    It’s for part of a dissertation.

    Thanks for any insight you might have!

    Andy Lambert

    Comment by Andy | October 30, 2009

  88. Hi Andy; I have a paper that is coming out about Mencius and consequentialism:

    “The Case for Mencian Consequentialism,” in *Ethics in Early China* edited by Chris Fraser, Timothy O’Leary, and Dan Robins. It’s forthcoming in 2010 from Hong Kong University Press.

    I actually have to make some final edits and send it off to Chris this weekend. I’ll send you a copy too; maybe it’ll be helpful.

    Comment by Manyul Im | October 30, 2009

  89. Hey Andy,

    Bryan Van Norden’s ‘Virtue Ethics and Consequentialism in Early China’ comes to mind (CUP 2007), but he makes the case for the Mohists, not the Confucians.

    I’m not too familiar with his research just yet, but for some reason I feel like recommending you contact Alexus McLeod. See, for example, the post titled ‘Reasons? We Don’t Need No Stinking Reasons!’ on his old blog:

    Comment by Hagop Sarkissian | October 30, 2009

  90. On consequentialism in Chinese thought, I suggest reading the Stanford Encyclopedia articles on Mohism and on Xunzi (sect. 7).

    Comment by Chris Fraser | October 31, 2009

  91. Andy,
    I would suggest looking into the work of Yong Huang who places a heavy emphasis on joy “le” to be a moral motivation especially in regards to the work of the Cheng brothers, but with much emphasis on Confucius and Mencius to support this position. (Tying in with J.S. Mill’s consequentialism and Mill’s inference of there being two levels of happiness– altruistic happiness being the highest).

    Comment by David | November 2, 2009

  92. I’m working on a paper suggesting a kind of “virtue consequentialism” in the Analects as we speak! Of course most of the paper is taken with blaming Zhu Xi for obscuring this feature of the Analects through his “psychologization” of 仁.

    Comment by Alexus McLeod | November 3, 2009

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