Category Archives: Wang Yangming

MARCH 12, 2021: A Passage from Wang Yangming’s “Questions on the Great Learning


PresentsA Passage from Wang Yangming’s “Questions on the Great Learning”

Presenter: Harvey Lederman (Princeton University)
Discussants: Stephen Angle (Wesleyan University), Warren Frisina (Hofstra University), Xiaomei Yang (Southern Connecticut State University)

ABSTRACT: This session will follow the organization of those we had on Zhuangzi and Śāntideva from Fall 2020. A lead presenter will give some background on the text from which the passage below is derived–namely, Wang Yangming’s “Questions on the Great Learning” (大學問)–and introduce Wang’s notion of liangzhi (良知). The presentation will then discuss Wang’s understanding of “the extension of knowledge” (致知) and “making inclinations wholehearted” (誠意) from the Great Learning (大學) before giving a focused reading of the passage itself. According to this reading, a person has extended their knowledge if and only if they have made their inclinations wholehearted. Each of the discussants will then follow with some brief comments and questions before we open things up for Q&A.

DATE: March 12, 2021
TIME: 7:00-8:30 pm

Here is the passage:

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New Book: Chung on Wang Yangming in Korea

Rowman & Littlefield has published Edward Chung, The Great Synthesis of Wang Yangming Neo-Confucianism in Korea. The author adds that for those colleagues who would like to purchase it at the author’s discount (30%), its special promotion code is LEX30AUTH20. The table of contents follows.

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Free download of article on Wang Yangming

Larry Israel has published an article with Asian Philosophy, titled “The Transformation of the Wang Yangming Scholarship in the West, ca. 1960-1980: A Historical Essay.”  He asked me to post this because Routledge makes 50 eprints freely available here, and he didn’t know what to do with them, or if they would be of any interest. Feel free to download!

What was published on Wang Yangming in 2016?

A Chinese journal is endeavoring to assemble a list of all the articles related to Wang Yangming published in 2016. I would like to ask anyone who knows of articles published in Europe, North America, or South America during 2016 to please post the information here as a comment, or email me directly if you prefer. Thanks!

Israel on Wang Yangming

Larry Israel wrote to share information on two articles he’s recently published on Wang Yangming. We are always happy to pass on this kind of news!  “The Renaissance of Wang Yangming Studies in the People’s Republic of China,” Philosophy East and West, vol. 66, no. 3 (July 2016): 1001-1019.  Takes the story up to 2014.

link to A new journal launched by Cambridge, the Journal of Chinese History Israel, G.L. (2016) ‘WANG YANGMING IN BEIJING, 1510–1512: “IF I DO NOT AWAKEN OTHERS, WHO WILL DO SO?”’ Journal of Chinese History, pp. 1–33. 

Columbia Neo-Confucian Seminar: Hagop Sarkissian “Experimental Philosophy and the Confucian Philosophical Tradition: A Brief History and Comparison.” Friday, September 30 @ 3:30pm

The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies (University Seminar #567) will convene Friday, September 30, 2016 from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University.

Hagop Sarkissian (City University of New York, Baruch College | Graduate Center) will present his paper

“Experimental Philosophy and the Confucian Philosophical Tradition: A Brief History and Comparison.”

ABSTRACT: Continue reading →

Harvey Lederman – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Weakness of the Will and Liangzhi in Wang Yangming”, Mar.18 @ 5:30pm


Welcomes: HARVEY LEDERMAN (New York University)
With responses from: STEVE ANGLE (Wesleyan University)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, MARCH 18th at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:

Weakness of the Will and Liangzhi in Wang Yangming”

This paper starts from Wang Shouren’s (王守仁, Yangming 陽明 1472-1529) doctrines concerning weakness of the will, with the aim of developing an interpretation of his theory of “intuition” (l ́ıangzh ̄ı 良知). Wang famously insisted on the “unity of knowledge and action” (知行合一). “Action” is understood in this claim as the subject’s affect; to act appropriately is to have the ethically appropriate affective response. In claiming that knowledge and action are one Wang claims that one form of weakness of the will is impossible: if one knows piety (for example), one is guaranteed to have a pious affective response, that is, to act piously. Wang held that humans have an innate capacity to respond to stimuli with ethically appropriate affect, and that the explanation of this capacity somehow involves the faculty of “intuition” (良知), the faculty by which one obtains moral knowledge. But how does intuition yield moral knowledge? And how does this knowledge guarantee that one will have the affect appropriate to the circumstances? Continue reading →