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Neo-Confucian Self-Cultivation$
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Barry C. Keenan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834968

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834968.001.0001

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Song Dynasty Neo-Confucianism

Song Dynasty Neo-Confucianism

(p.3) Chapter 1 Song Dynasty Neo-Confucianism
Neo-Confucian Self-Cultivation

Barry C. Keenan

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses the beginnings of the Neo-Confucian intellectual movement, beginning in the eleventh century, to track the development of one of the most sophisticated formulations of self-cultivation in the history of humanistic education. After looking at its historical background, the chapter turns to the three components that made its doctrines new: the reshaping of what constituted the Confucian canon of texts; the metaphysical assumption that there are underlying principles existing independently of the knower, in all things, affairs, and our innately good human nature; and an elaborated program of self-cultivation. The remarkable Song dynasty synthesis of these three components defining how to live humanely changed organically within the institutions of imperial China until the fall of China’s last dynasty in 1911.

Keywords:   Neo-Confucianism, humanistic education, Confucian canon, intellectual movement, human nature, humane living, eleventh century, Song dynasty

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