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7 Confucian Moral Metaphysics

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Chapter Summary

The whole Confucian tradition from Confucius to the Appendices emerges from a single root and then progressed gradually, reaching its ultimate completion in the Appendices' teaching of "exhausting spirit to know transformation". This doctrine became a tradition, known as Confucian tradition. What is described as an activity is the subjective significance, whereas objective significance is explained as "mind as reason". Thus moral knowing is not only the basis of morality but also the basis of real, existing things. Apart from moral knowing nothing exists (this is going from existence to non-existence), and where there is moral knowing, only then does everything exist (this is going from non-existence to existence). Completing oneself is humaneness, and completing things is knowing. These are virtues of nature and the way to merge inner and outer. Chinese people abhor the word "mind-only", but in fact it is only China which has a true mind-only theory.

Keywords: Confucian moral metaphysics; Confucian tradition; mind-only theory; morality

10.1163/9789004278905_009
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