Confucianism and Phenomenology

An Exploration of Feeling, Value and Virtue


Critically developing the Contemporary New Confucianism, this book opens a new horizon for the study of emotions and philosophy of heart-mind and [human] nature by focusing on the communication between phenomenology, particularly Schelerian phenomenology, and Chinese philosophy, especially Mencius and Wang Yangming. Such communication demonstrates how ethics based on factual experience is possible, revealing the original spirit and fresh meaning of Confucian learning of the heart-mind. In clarifying crucial feelings and values, this work undertakes a detailed description of the heart’s concrete activities for the idea that “the heart has its own order,” allowing us to see the order of the heart and its deviated form clearly and comprehensively.

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Yinghua Lu, Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University (2014), is Associate Professor of Philosophy at East China Normal University. His research focus is Chinese Philosophy and Comparative Philosophy, and he also explores academic resources of Contemporary New Confucianism, Ethics, Phenomenology, Psychology and Psychoanalysis, with special attention to questions of the heart-mind, emotion, consciousness and value. He has published many English, Chinese and translation articles.
List of Illustrations

The Philosophical Approach to Confucian Learning of the Heart and Moral Experience

1 A Comparative Springboard
The Reexamination of a Kantian Interpretation of Confucian Ethics
 1 Hume and Kant: Who Is Closer to Mencius?
 2 Heart-Mind: Intention as Feeling
 3 Individual Dignity and Autonomy

2 The A Priori Value and Feeling in Max Scheler and Wang Yangming
 1 The Features of Moral Emotions in Confucian Learning of the Heart
 2 Max Scheler’s Idea of A priori Value and Feeling
 2.1 Phenomenology of Value and Ethics of Value
 2.2 The Interconnection of Value, Preferring, and Feeling
 2.3 The Hierarchy of Values and Love
 3 The Phenomena of Value and Feeling in Confucianism: A Schelerian Interpretation of Wang Yangming’s Four Verses Teaching

3 The Phenomenology of Sympathy and Love
 1 Introduction
 2 The Phenomenology of Sympathy and Fellow-Feeling
 3 The Phenomenology of Love
 4 The Reexamination of Love
  4.1 Love and Preferring
 4.2 Corresponding Love and the Abuse of Love
 4.3 Love and the Independence of Personhood
 4.4 Love and Expectation, Hope
 5 Partial Love and Abstract Love: An Examination with Confucian Discourse
 5.1 Love and Differentiation, Partiality
 5.2 The Other Extreme Contrasting to Partial Love—Abstract Love
 5.3 Future Comparative Works Need to Be Undertook
 6 Conclusion

4 Sympathy, Love and the Confucian Notion of Ren (Humaneness)
 1 Introduction
 2 Sympathy and Love in Mencius’s Description of Ren
 3 Commiseration, Love and One-Body Humaneness
 4 Humane Love’s Universality and Pure [Moral] Knowing
 5 Conclusion

5 The Phenomenology of Shame
 1 Introduction
 2 The Conflict between Spirit, Life and Pleasure in the Experience of Shame
  2.1 Turning Back to Oneself
  2.2 Original Shame and Apparent Shame
  2.3 A Priori Shame and Social Shame
  2.4 Sexual Shame
 3 Destructive Shame and Humiliation
  3.1 Destructive Shame
  3.2 Humiliation
 4 Conclusion

6 Shame and the Confucian Idea of Yi (Righteousness)
 1 Introduction
 2 Yi: Obligation and Internal Feeling
 3 Shame and Righteousness in the Confucian Context
  3.1 Spirit and Righteousness Revealed by Shame
  3.2 Shame and Disdain
  3.3 Dishonor and Social Shame
  3.4 Shame and Yi as the Right Way
 4 Ritual Propriety, Humaneness, and Righteousness

7 The Phenomenology of Respect (Jing)
 1 Two Basic Meanings of Jing in the Confucian Classics
 2 Respect as a Moral Feeling: Three Kinds of Respect
 3 Respect as a Religious Feeling: Humility, Reverence, and Related Feelings
  3.1 Pride and Moral Pride
  3.2 The Association of Humility and Respect Felted toward God
  3.3 Humility and Reverence
 4 Respect as a Religious Feeling in the Confucian Context

8 Respect and the Confucian Concept of Li (Ritual Propriety)
 1 The Source and Basis of Li
  1.1 Inquiry into Li’s Features and Bases
  1.2 Positive Li: Expressing Moral and Religious Feelings
 2 The Connection between Li and Respect: How Ritual (Music) Expresses Moral and Religious Respect Properly
  2.1 Distinction of Ritual and Commonness of Music
  2.2 Recognition and Elevation of Others’ Values in Deference and Respect
  2.3 Expressions of Respect to Intimate and Unfamiliar people
  2.4 Requirement for Self and Expectation on Others
  2.5 Destructive Respect and Ritual
 3 Conclusion

9 Pure Moral Knowing (Liangzhi) as Moral Feeling and Moral Cognition Wang Yangming’s Phenomenology of Approval and Disapproval
 1 Introduction
  1.1 Preliminary Remarks: The Need for a Phenomenology of Approval and Disapproval
 2 Pure Moral Knowing as the Capacity of Making Moral Judgment
 3 Pure Moral Knowing (of Heavenly Pattern) as Moral Knowledge and Standard
  3.1 A Schelerian Phenomenological Approach to Pure Moral Knowing: Apprehension and Reflection on Moral Knowledge
  3.2 General Features of the Pure Moral Knowing as Moral Knowledge
  3.3 Changing or Unchanging?
 4 Conclusion

10 Wang Yangming’s Theory of the University of Knowledge and Action Revisited
 An Investigation from the Perspective of Moral Emotion
 1 Pure Moral Knowing as Moral Motivation
 2 Pure Moral Knowing as Enriched by Practice (Practice Ability)
 3 Conclusion

11 Trust, Truthfulness and Distrust
The Phenomenology of Xin

 1 Introduction
 2 The Expression and Correlation of Trust and Truthfulness
 2.1 Trust and Rational Cognition
  2.2 Primordial Trust and Deciding to Trust
  2.3 Untruthfulness Is an Incentive of Distrust
  2.4 The Evaluation of Trust and Its Connection to Truthfulness
  2.5 Spiritual Trust and Faith
  2.6 The Expression and Meaning of Truthfulness
 3 Issues about Distrust: Trust-damaging Forces, Deceit, and Avoiding Suspicion
  3.1 Trust-Damaging Forces
  3.2 Confucian Evaluation of Stratagem and Deceptive Ploy
  3.3 The Response to and Observation of Others’ (Potential or Actual) Deceits
  3.4 The Paradox of Contract and Trust
  3.5 Being Distrusted, Avoiding Suspicion and Removing Suspicion
 4 Conclusion

Concluding Remarks
“The Heart Has Its Own Order” and “The Human Heart Is Pernicious”


Readers: Universities, libraries, professors, post-graduate students, undergraduate students, psychological counselling practitioners, religious practitioners and common people.

Relevant subject areas: philosophy, cultural studies, psychology, Asian studies, sinology, intellectual history and religion.
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