Zhang Zai's Cosmology of Qi/qi and the Refutation of Arrogant Anthropocentrism: Confucian Green Theory Illustrated

Environmental Values 31 (5):533-554 (2022)
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This essay seeks to demonstrate the following: 1. the value of metaphysical cosmology to our relationship with nature, and to making policy about the environment; 2. the mistaken nature and harmful consequences of the hegemonic cosmology of anthropocentrism; and, 3. the possibility of Zhang Zai's Qi/qi Great Harmony cosmology as both the refutation of and replacement for anthropocentrism. The essay concludes that ultimate moral progress of expanding the self from the narrow and exclusionary views of anthropocentrism consists in cosmocentrism, or the transformation of thought to a cosmological perspective as exemplified by Zhang Zai's Great Harmony continual cyclical process of Qi/qi. It is argued that positive metaphysical visions such as Zhang Zai's can negate anthropocentric cosmology and inspire us to view our relationship with the environment in a fundamentally enlightened and more respectful way, which is not arrogantly self-centred, disconnected and supremacist.



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Joel Kassiola
San Francisco State University

Citations of this work

Eudaimonia, Virtue Ethics and Moral Community.Kalpita Bhar Paul - 2022 - Environmental Values 31 (5):505-514.
Finding Ways and Means to Love Nature.Tom Greaves - 2023 - Environmental Values 32 (5):517-523.

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References found in this work

Neo-Confucianism: A Philosophical Introduction.Stephen C. Angle & Justin Tiwald - 2017 - Cambridge, UK: Polity. Edited by Justin Tiwald.
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Chang Tsai's concept of ch'I.Siu-Chi Huang - 1968 - Philosophy East and West 18 (4):247-260.
Chang Tsai's theory of mind and its metaphysical basis.Tang Chün-I. - 1956 - Philosophy East and West 6 (2):113-136.

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