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Zhu Xi’s Metaphysical Theory of Human Nature

  • Junghwan LeeEmail author
Chapter
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Part of the Dao Companions to Chinese Philosophy book series (DCCP, volume 13)

Abstract

The Chinese philosophical inquiry of human nature began with Mencius’ argument that “human nature is [morally] good” (xing shan 性善). This descriptive definition inevitably leads to a fundamental question: If human nature is [morally] good, why are there human beings who are not so moral? Mencius’ apparently counterintuitive description immediately provoked objections and counterarguments, resulted in the emergence of diverse alternative views, and thus made human nature one of the foremost subjects in premodern Chinese philosophy. More than one and half millennia after Mencius, the first orthodox, and most enduring, view on human nature was formulated by Zhu Xi 朱熹 (1130–1200).

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AestheticsSeoul National UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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