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Chinese Philosophy - The Zhedong School 浙東學派

The Zhedong School (Zhedong xuepai 浙東學派) was a philosohical school that was founded by Huang Zongxi 黃宗羲 during the early Qing period 清 (1644-1911). The representants of this school all came from the eastern parts of the province of Zhejiang, for which reason the school was given this name. Its most important representants were Wan Sida 萬斯大 and his brother Wan Sitong 萬斯同, Quan Zuwang 全祖望 and Zhang Xuecheng 章學誠. All these scholars believed that historiographic writings were the main source in search of the Heavenly principle that reigned the world. Outside human affairs (renshi 人事) the principle of righteousness (yi li 義理) would not to be found. Whoever wants to avoid seeing Confucianism as a pedantic theory would have to study history (yu mian yu ru, bi bian du shi 欲免迂儒,必兼讀史). Huang Zongxi therefore wrote the first history of Confucianism, the books Ming ruxue an 明儒學案, and Quan Zuwang the book Song-Yuan xue an 宋元學案. Quan's collected writings Jieqiting ji 鮚埼亭集 are likewise of a high value for the history of Confucianism. Zhang Xuecheng finally concluded that the Six Classics (liujing 六經) were in fact nothing else than historiography, and so contributed to the development of a philological school that analysed the Classics with scholarly methods, instead of interpreting them in an abstract philosophical way. In his book Wenshi tongyi 文史通義 he produced China's first book the discipline of history (in a modern sense).
In his younger years Huang Zongxi had been instructed by Liu Zongzhou 劉宗周 in the "teachings of the mind" (xinxue 心學) of the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) philosopher Wang Yangming 王陽明, but later recognized that it was not only the Confucian Classics that determined human life, but much more the histories in which human experience was laid down.


Source: Xu Xinghai 徐興海 (1988), "Zhedong xuepai 浙東學派", in Zhao Jihui 趙吉惠, Guo Hou'an 郭厚安 (ed.), Zhongguo ruxue cidian 中國儒學辭典 (Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe), p. 519.

February 8, 2014 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail