Ancient Chinese Philosophical Thought and Currere

  • Wanying Wang
Part of the Curriculum Studies Worldwide book series (CSWW)


In this chapter I address the affinities between ancient Chinese philosophical thought and the concept of currere. The ancient Chinese philosophical thought on which I focus is advanced by Wang Yangming, Mencius, and Lao Tzu. This thought includes pure knowing (Liang zhi), investigation of mind/heart (Ge xin), and the concept of voidness. Pure knowing means “innate knowledge,” or “intuitive moral knowledge,” and the concept originated with Mencius. Investigation of mind/heart means one should consult one’s own heart to understand the truth. Wang Yangming (Instructions for Practical Living and Other Neo-Confucian Writings by Wang Yang-Ming (W. T. Chan, Trans.). New York: Columbia University Press, 1963) argues that as every living thing is a manifestation of Principle (Li), one does not need to look outside of oneself in order to understand Principle (and therefore morality); one should consult one’s own mind/heart, wherein Principle presumably lies. The concept of voidness (or nothingness), proposed by Lao Tzu, perceives the value of the invisible existence of the world and acknowledges the invisible qualities of the world. In this chapter, I explore these affinities which include (1) pure knowing and the pre-conceptual, (2) ge xin and working from within, and (3) voidness and invisibility. In the following sections, I explain concepts from both Chinese philosophical thought and currere and then associate them.


Pure knowing Ge xin Lao Tzu Voidness Wang Yangming 


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Wanying Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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