Authors
Dan Robins
University of Hong Kong
Abstract
This essay defends a novel interpretation of the term xìng 性 as it occurs in Chinese texts of the late Warring States period (roughly 320–221 BCE). The term played an important role both in the famous controversy over the goodness or badness of people’s xìng and elsewhere in the intellectual discourse of the period. Extending especially the work of A.C. Graham, the essay stresses the importance for understanding xìng of early Chinese assumptions about spontaneity, continuity, health, and (in the human case) motivation. These assumptions make xìng fundamentally different from the contemporary nature concepts with which it is often equated. In particular, people’s xìng is not a near-equivalent of human nature or (in modern Chinese) of rénxìng 人性.
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DOI 10.1007/s11712-010-9197-7
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References found in this work BETA

Mencius.D. C. Lau - 2003 - Penguin Classics.
The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu.Burton Watson (ed.) - 1968 - Columbia University Press.
The Concept of Man in Early China.Donald J. Munro - 1969 - Stanford, Calif., Stanford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Primitivism in the Zhuangzi : An Introduction.Frank Saunders Jr - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (10):1-10.
Mencius and Dewey on Moral Perception, Deliberation, and Imagination.Amit Chaturvedi - 2012 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 11 (2):163-185.
A Note on the Xunzi’s Explanation of Xing 性.Eric L. Hutton - 2011 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 10 (4):527-530.

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