The Epistemology of Mengzian Extension

In Karyn L. Lai (ed.), Knowers and Knowledge in East-West Philosophy: Epistemology Extended. Springer Nature. pp. 43-61 (2021)
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Abstract

In this chapter I give an account of the epistemology underlying the concept of “extension” in the Mengzi, an early Confucian text written in the fourth century BCE. Mengzi suggests in a conversation with King Xuan of Qi that a solution to the King’s problem of how one comes to act in a kingly manner is that one engages in “extension”. I argue that a long-standing scholarly debate on the exact nature of Mengzian “extension” can be resolved by closely investigating the epistemological assumptions that must be in place for “extension” to be a viable solution to King Xuan’s problem. More specifically, my argument is that knowledge of a certain kind, namely knowing-to, is both necessary and sufficient for extension to take place. In other words, for a person S to extend X, where X is a capacity for action, S at least needs to have knowing-to.

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Waldemar Brys
University of New South Wales (PhD)

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Virtuous actions in the Mengzi.Waldemar Brys - 2023 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 31 (1):2-22.

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