The True or the Artificial: Theories on Human Nature before Mencius and Xunzi—Based on “Sheng is from Ming, and Ming is from Tian

In: Frontiers of Philosophy in China

When speaking of pre-Qin Dynasty theories on human nature, past scholars divided Confucius, Mencius and Xunzi into three categories, and they tended to divide the theories into moral categories of good and evil. The discovery of bamboo and silk sheets from this period, however, has offered some valuable literature, providing a historical opportunity for the thorough research of pre-Qin Dynasty theories on human nature. Based on the information on the recently excavated bamboo and silk sheets, especially the essay titled “Xing Zi Ming Chu” on bamboo sheets unearthed in Guodian, this essay examines pre-Qin Dynasty theories on human nature from a new perspective. In doing so, it looks forward to a breakthrough in academic patterns of thought which typically defined pre-Qin Dynasty theories on human nature as good or evil, and thus a closer look at the original appearance of pre-Qin Dynasty theories on human nature as a whole.

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