Ethics in the Confucian Tradition: The Thought of Mengzi and Wang Yangming / Edition 2

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This volume serves both as an introduction to the thought of Mengzi (Mencius) and Wang Yangming and as a comparison of their views. By examining issues held in common by both thinkers, Ivanhoe illustrates how the Confucian tradition was both continued and transformed by Wang Yangming, and shows the extent to which he was influenced by Buddhism. Topics explored are: the nature of morality; human nature; the nature and origin of wickedness; self cultivation; and sagehood. In addition to revised versions of each of these original chapters, Ivanhoe includes a new chapter on Kongzi's (Confucius') view of the Way.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This enlightening book is a comparative study of the moral and metaphysical theories of these two luminaries of the Confucian tradition. . . . Ivanhoe draws in masterful strokes the trajectory of the Confucian image of the sage, from the semi-divine creator heroes revered by Kongzi, to Mengzi's human exemplars of perfected self-cultivation, to Wang Yangming's concept of the innate sagehood of every human. --Rene Goldman, Pacific Affairs

Ivanhoe's fine book deserves a wide readership. It will interest scholars of Confucianism as well as those specializing in Chinese intellectual history. Two informative appendices, along with the excellent index (which includes the most important Chinese characters used in the book), make it a useful work for specialists. I also recommend this book to anyone concerned with comparative philosophy and to those currently working in virtue ethics. The latter will find many ideas and arguments within this book that resonate with, and perhaps complement, Western virtue ethics. --Victoria Harrison-Carter, Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy

Ivanhoe (philosophy and Asian languages and cultures, U. of Michigan-Ann Arbor) revises the 1990 first edition, published by The American Academy of Religion, partly in response to its critical reception. He examines the moral philosophy of Wang (1472-1529) in light of its relation to the moral philosophy of Mengzi, highlighting how Wang recasts Mengzi's moral teachings in terms characteristic of his own time. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780872205987
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2002
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: REVISED
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 243

Meet the Author

Philip J. Ivanhoe is Reader-Professor of Philosophy, City University of Hong Kong.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Kongzi's View of the Way 1
Ch. 2 The Nature of Morality
Mengzi 12
Wang Yangming 21
Ch. 3 Human Nature
Mengzi 37
Wang Yangming 46
Ch. 4 The Nature and Origin of Wickedness
Mengzi 59
Wang Yangming 72
Ch. 5 Self Cultivation
Mengzi 88
Wang Yangming 96
Ch. 6 Sagehood
Mengzi 109
Wang Yangming 121
Conclusion 137
App. I The Evolution of the Chuanxilu 143
App. II The Meaning of "Chuanxi" in the Title Chuanxilu 154
Notes 162
Western Language Works Cited 221
Name Index 233
Subject Index 238
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