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The end of the Five Virtues theory: Changes of traditional political culture in China since the Song Dynasty

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The Five Virtues theory, designed to legitimate rules, was based on the belief in a cosmological system. The theory of the Five Virtues was replaced by the theory of Confucian orthodoxy based on moral critics during the renaissance of Confucianism in the Song Dynasty. The intellectual elites in the Song Dynasty launched a campaign against the Five Phases theory and the Apocryphal Texts, Fengshan, and Chuanguoxi, which constituted the main body of traditional political culture. They sought to eliminate the theoretical value of these traditions and eradicate their influence on people’s thoughts. Their high keyed and advanced political and ethical notions during the Song period became universal values in the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. The changes in the traditional political culture reveal the intellectual trends from the Song Dynasty throughout the Qing Dynasty.


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