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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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Reforms in Neo-Confucianism

Reforms in Neo-Confucianism

The Fifteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries

(p.75) Chapter 5 Reforms in Neo-Confucianism
Neo-Confucian Self-Cultivation

Barry C. Keenan

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter traces developments in Neo-Confucianism from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. It begins with the remarkable amount of Neo-Confucian sacrifice brought about by the first fifty years of Ming rule. The chapter then returns to a topic discussed in a previous chapter—Wang Yangming and his insights—which would lead to a new development in Neo-Confucian thought. Hereafter, Neo-Confucianism would undergo further scrutiny following the fall of the Ming dynasty, as scholars of the new Qing dynasty reexamined the definition of “humaneness” (ren) alongside the role of social ritual. Finally, the chapter returns to the ancient debate between Mencius and Xunzi about whether human nature at birth was incipiently good (Mencius said “had the capacity to be good”) or bad (Xunzi).

Keywords:   ren, humaneness, Ming dynasty, Qing dynasty, Wang Yangming, Xunzi, social ritual, human nature, Neo-Confucianism

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