The Cultivation of Moral Feelings and Mengzi’s Method of Extension
Emily McRae, 587
Offered here is an interpretation of the ancient Confucian philosopher Mengzi’s (372–289 B.C.E.) method of cultivating moral feelings, which he calls “extension.” It is argued that this method is both psychologically plausible and an important, but often overlooked, part of moral life. In this interpretation, extending our moral feelings is not a project in logical consistency, analogical reasoning, or emotional intuition. Rather, Mengzi’s method of extension is a project in realigning the human heart that harnesses our rational, reflective, and emotional capacities in order to extend the feelings we already have to the appropriate objects for these feelings. It is argued that there are three main features of Mengzi’s account that make it an attractive explanation of the cultivation of moral feelings. The first is the way Mengzi sees reasoning and philosophical reflection as an aid to, rather than the foundation for, moral development. The second is Mengzi’s precision regarding the relationship between the basic moral feelings we start with (the “sprouts”) and their corresponding virtues. The method of extension acts as a well-designed bridge between feelings and virtues. Third, Mengzi’s account, unlike that of the Mohist Yi Zhi, whom he criticizes, pays special attention to the complexities and limitations of human psychology. In conclusion it is shown how a Mengzian understanding of the relationship between feelings and morality can answer some traditional challenges, especially Kantian ones, regarding the proper role of emotion in moral life.
A Genealogy of Early Confucian Moral Psychology
Ryan Nichols, 609
This essay tentatively develops a genealogical interpretation of Early Confucian moral psychology by informing close readings of Early Confucian texts, in particular the Mencius and the Analects, with research in the mind sciences. This includes examinations of the discussions of emotions and their morality. First the relationship is analyzed between Confucian filial piety, genetic kinship, and moral emotions, then the relationship between Early Confucian ethical principles for interaction with non-kin, empathy, and reciprocal altruism. These two issues are framed by a description of the variance between the (high) usage and importance of emotions in the moral philosophy of Early Confucianism and the (low) usage and importance of emotions in the moral philosophy of competing Western moral theories.
Philosophy, Biography, and Anecdote: On the Portrait of Sun Wu
Albert Galvany, 630
This is an attempt to demonstrate that in early China anecdotes and biographical scenes are not to be despised in philosophical examination but, on the contrary, merit close attention. By analyzing the encounter between the monarch Helü of the state of Wu and the celebrated strategist Sun Wu, as it is described in various ancient written sources, an attempt will be made to show that this event, far from being a trivial story, concentrates and explains some of the most important ideas to be found in the work traditionally credited to the latter, The Art of War, as well as in other military treatises of the time.
Mou Zongsan’s notion of “Buddhistic ontology” is interpreted here in its fundamental difference from his own previous metaphysical scheme, in the light of the Kyoto School philosophers’ similar attempts to resolve the Kantian antinomy of practical reason. This is an alternative both to the analysis provided by previous interpreters of Mou’s Buddhistic philosophy, such as Hans-Rudolf Kantor and N. Serina Chan, and to the comparative studies of Mou’s theories with Kyoto School philosophy by Ng Yu-kwan. Previous researchers considered Mou’s Buddhist philosophy in continuity with moral metaphysics. However, this idea of ontology, inspired by Tiantai perfect teaching, is essentially different from the Qixinlun-inspired scheme of “twofold ontology.” The implications of this problematic idea, however, were not pursued by Mou himself, but by the next generation of philosophers, such as Wing-cheuk Chan and Ng Yu-kwan. A comparison with Kyoto School philosophy enables us to clarify how the idea of Buddhism-inspired ontology is a radical criticism against Kantian philosophy, and how it shows similarity to Nishitani’s Heidegger-inspired interpretation of Buddhism, which seeks to affirm the being of all things without reserve.
Wuwei and Flow: Comparative Reflections on Spirituality, Transcendence, and Skill in the Zhuangzi
Nathaniel F. Barrett, 679
Much of recent scholarship on the Zhuangzi has focused on the distinctive picture of spiritual fulfillment offered by its various “knack” stories. These stories describe a special kind of skillful action marked by fine-tuned responsiveness, non-deliberative spontaneity, effortlessness, and enjoyment. Scholars agree that the Zhuangzian theme of effortless action, or wuwei, indicates an intimate relationship between spiritual satisfaction and skill. However, this emerging consensus has so far failed to produce a clear analysis of the transcendence of wuwei with respect to everyday instances of skillful spontaneity. This essay attempts to clarify the issue of transcendence by using the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s theory of flow as a reference point. While flow may not provide a comprehensive theory of wuwei spirituality, it sharpens our thinking about the various kinds of transcendence that wuwei might entail. A comparison between wuwei and flow also helps to clarify more general questions about spirituality and its alleged separation from religious belief in the modern world.
The Bhagavadgītā: Philosophy versus Historicism, a review of Desire and Motivation in Indian Philosophy, by Christopher G. Framarin
Joydeep Bagchee, 707
COMMENT AND DISCUSSION
Response to Joydeep Bagchee’s “The Bhagavadgītā: Philosophy versus Historicism”
Christopher G. Framarin, 718
Reply to Christopher Framarin
Joydeep Bagchee, 720
Die Konzeption des Messias bei Maimonides und die fruehmittelalterliche islamische Philosophie (Maimonides’ concept of the Messiah and early medieval Islamic philosophy), by Francesca Yardenit Albertini
Reviewed by Esther Seidel, 723
The Teachings of the Odd-Eyed One: A Study and Translation of the Vīrūpākṣapañcāśikā with the Commentary of Vidyācakravartin, by David Peter Lawrence
Reviewed by Gavin Flood, 726
Consciousness in Indian Philosophy: The Advaita Doctrine of ‘Awareness Only,’ by Sthaneshwar Timalsina
Reviewed by Alan Preti, 730
The Dialogue of Civilizations in the Birth of Modern Science, by Arun Bala
Reviewed by Sundar Sarukkai, 736
Expanding Process: Exploring Philosophical and Theological Transformations in China and the West, by John H. Berthrong
Reviewed by Ian M. Sullivan, 741
Books Received, 745