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Chinese History and CultureSixth Century B.C.E. to Seventeenth Century$
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Ying-shih Yü

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231178587

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231178587.001.0001

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Reorientation of Confucian Social Thought in the Age of Wang Yangming

Reorientation of Confucian Social Thought in the Age of Wang Yangming

(p.273) 12. Reorientation of Confucian Social Thought in the Age of Wang Yangming
Chinese History and Culture

Ying-shih Yü

, Josephine Chiu-Duke, Michael S. Duke
Columbia University Press

This essay examines how the most notable Neo-Confucian scholar Wang Yangming (1472-1529) re-oriented his Confucian project in the context of Ming despotism. It argues that Confucianism took a decidedly new turn in the sixteenth century and that Wang Yangming was at the center of this development from the sixteenth century to the early decades of the eighteenth. Details how Wang shifted the earlier central role of Confucian intellectuals in implementing reforms under the imperial support to enlightening the ordinary Chinese people, specifically including the merchant class, that they could realize the Dao or the Moral Way in their daily lives. This shift not only led to a new era of social and political thinking in the history of Confucianism, but also to the rise of the merchant class to unprecedented social and cultural prominence in the 16th century.

Keywords:   Wang Yangming, Confucianism, dejun xingdao, Dao, >xin, >liangzhi, neisheng, waiwang, qiru jiugu, Confucian studies

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