, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 153–167 | Cite as

A Study of the Heart of the Huainanzi: With the Contradictory Evaluations of Emotions as Clues

  • Woo-jin Jung
  • Suk-yoon Moon


The writers of the Huainanzi 淮南子 show that emotions are based on resonance. In this ancient Chinese text, emotional expressions are considered natural phenomena; however, at the same time, they are sometimes evaluated negatively. It states that sometimes, not only emotions stemming from desires but also emotional expressions in daily lives must be controlled. This is due to the following prescriptions stemming from the art of rulership: (1) a ruler must clearly and distinctly recognize a situation. Emotional expressions lose the Quintessential Spirit (jingshen 精神), which mediates the recognition of the situation; and (2) the intention must not be revealed to the ruler’s vassals. The concept of heart (xin 心) in the Huainanzi, on the foundation called the “theory of cultivation” of Daoism, is influenced by the art of rulership from Legalism.


Huainanzi 淮南子 Heart (xin 心) Resonance Emotion Legalist art of rulership 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, College of HumanitiesKyung Hee UniversitySeoulKorea

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