Category Archives: Zhu Xi

Columbia Neo-Confucianism Seminar this Friday

The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies will convene Friday, October 4, 2013 from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the Komoda Room of the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University.

Our presenter is Gopal Sukhu of the Department of Classical Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures at Queens College, City University of New York.  His paper is titled “Repossessing the Exorcised: Zhu Xi and the Songs of Chu.”  You might also like to consult his new book, The Shaman and the Heresiarch: A New Interpretation of the Li Sao (SUNY, 2012).

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ToC: Asian Philosophy 23.3

A new issue of Asian Philosophy 23.3 (2013) has been published. Five out of the six papers are on Chinese Philosophy:

Moral Emotions, Awareness, and Spiritual Freedom in the Thought of Zhu Xi (1130–1200)
Kai Marchal

Dōgen and Wittgenstein: Transcending Language through Ethical Practice
Laura Specker Sullivan

Han Fei’s Enlightened Ruler
Alejandro Bárcenas

Han Fei, De, Welfare
Henrique Schneider

Clearing Up Obstructions: An Image Schema Approach to the Concept of ‘Datong’  in Chapter 6 of the Zhuangzi
C. Lynne Hong

Relation-Centred Ethics in Confucius and Aquinas
Qi Zhao

When Confucius criticizes Zhu Xi and more stories…

When Confucius criticizes Zhu Xi and more stories…


I have had the chance to come across fascinating interpretations of the Great Learning in a book titled Daxue zhengshi 大學證釋 (Evidential Interpretation of the Great Learning). To be more accurate, the striking part of the story lies less in the philosophical originality of the interpretations than in the identity of the commentators.

In this volume, the original Daxue text is commented upon by a series of sages (liesheng qishu 列聖齊述) including Confucius, Yan Hui, Zengzi and Mencius… Zhu Xi was also a contributor to this volume and wrote a nice self-criticism piece about his problematic Song-dynasty interpretations of the text. He finally admitted that he got it completely wrong with his former discussions on the “extension of knowledge lying in the investigation of things” (zhizhi zai gewu  致知在格物), etc…  Among the other contributions, the one of Confucius was interesting but I doubt that Zhu Xi enjoyed it much because it happens that he was wrong again ! Kongzi’s line of argument was the following: basing himself on Zhu Xi’s edited introductory sentence of the Daxue (大學之道,在明明德 , 在親民,在止於至善) he criticized Zhu’s replacement of the original 在親親 , 在新民 by 在親民  (understood as: 在新民). He posited that these changes did not reflect “the entirety of Confucian doctrine” (fei rujiao jiaoyi zhi quan yi 非儒教教義之全矣) and highlighted the fact that ideas such as “ruling the country primarily requires to regulate the family” (zhi guo bi xian qi jia 治國必先齊家) or “the foundations of the country lie in the family” (guo zhi ben zai jia 國之本在家) all originated from the “affection to the kindred” (親親), that is, from characters cut off  by Zhu Xi….

I will skip my comments on these comments and concentrate on some background information that might be more interesting. Continue reading →

New Book: Daxue and Zhongyong: Bilingual Edition

I’ve just received a copy of the new Johnston and Wang translation of Daxue and Zhongyong from the Chinese University of Hong Kong Press (distributed in the US by Columbia University Press). Since there are quite a few translations of these texts around, and it doesn’t seem that one can get a Table of Contents or much information from the CUP or Amazon websites, I thought I’d share a bit about the volume here.

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New book published

Christian Soffel and Hoyt Cleveland Tillman, Cultural Authority and Political Culture in China: Exploring Issues with the Zhongyong and the Daotong during the Song, Jin and Yuan Dynasties. Stuttgart, Germany: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2012. ISBN 978-3-515-10134-9.

Although the book covers a considerable spectrum of thinkers, especially during the Song, special attention is given to Wang Bo in the Southern Song and Hao Jing in the Yuan. In addition to exploring how the Zhongyong and the Daotong were used to shed light on views of cultural authority, the volume shows the complexity of Zhu Xi’s influence and its limitations in the 13th century — even among those who have been regarded as major followers of his teachings.

Kwong-loi Shun at Columbia Neo-Confucian Seminar, 10/14/11

The next session of the Neo-Confucianism Seminar will convene on Friday, October 14 from 4:00 to 6:00pm in the Board Room on the first floor of the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. Please note that this meeting occurs on the second Friday of the month, a date selected to accommodate our speaker’s travel schedule.  Our other meetings this year will convene on the usual “First Friday” of the month schedule.

Our presenter on October 14 will be Prof. Kwong-loi Shun, Chair Professor of Chinese Philosophy and President of New Asia College at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Continue reading →