Three Neo-Confucian Perspectives on Transcending Self-Boundaries
By Galia Patt-Shamir
Persons Emerging explores the renewed idea of the Confucian person in the eleventh-century philosophies of Zhou Dunyi, Shao Yong, and Zhang Zai. Galia Patt-Shamir discusses their responses to the Confucian challenge that the Way, as perfection, can be broadened by the person who travels it. Suggesting that the three neo-Confucian philosophers undertake the classical Confucian task of “broadening the way,” each proposes to deal with it from a different angle: Zhou Dunyi offers a metaphysical emerging out of the infinitude-finitude boundary, Shao Yong emerges out of the epistemological boundary between in and out, and Zhang Zai offers a pragmatic emerging out of the boundary between life and death.
Through the lens of these three Song-period China philosophers, the idea of “transcending self-boundaries” places neo-Confucian philosophies within the global philosophical context. Patt-Shamir questions the Confucian notions of person, Way, and how they relate to human flourishing to highlight how the emergence of personhood demands transcending metaphysical, epistemological, and moral self-boundaries.
Table of Contents:
Introduction A Riddle: The Person as the Way?
1. I Think, Therefore You Are: Emerging Out of Self-Boundaries in Early Confucianism
2. Emerging to a Self through Transcending the Infinitude-Finitude Dichotomy: Zhou Dunyi’s Anthropocosmic Riddle and Its Response
3. Emerging through Transcending the In-Out Duality: Shao Yong’s Epistemological Shift
4. Emerging Out of Life and Death: Zhang Zai’s Pragmatic Point of View
Appendix A Brief Methodological Remark: Chan Buddhism and Living Riddles
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