Two Versions of Desire-based Subjectivism: A Comparative Study of the Analects and the Lotus Sutra

Asian Philosophy 21 (4):419 - 435 (2011)
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Abstract

In this paper, I discuss subjective desire and its subtle relationship with moral facts based on a comparative study of the Analects of Confucius and the Lotus Sutra. I pick out two points in this pair of classics in order to examine their ideas about accessing the highest wisdom: (1) the relationship between desire and Confucian ren, humanity, benevolence or virtue in the Analects, and (2) the role of learning and the ontological status of the mind and the world in the Lotus Sutra. Through comparative study, I argue that the Confucian Analects and the Lotus Sutra contain two different versions of desire-based subjectivism (DBS). The difference is that Confucianism is an example of desire-based moral subjectivism (DBS-moral), and the Lotus Sutra demonstrates desire-based ontological subjectivism (DBS-ontological)

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