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Preferences and Approaches of Chinese Philosophy: Taking the Study of Mencius’ Doctrine of Good Nature as an Example

Social Sciences in China Review

No.4, 2019

 

Preferences and Approaches of Chinese Philosophy: Taking the Study of Mencius’ Doctrine of Good Nature as an Example (Abstract)

 

Liu Xiaogan

 

There are two kinds of approaches to studying Chinese philosophy, one is simple and direct and the other is indirect in regard to its entry point. They have different research purposes and evaluation criteria. To understand the original intention of the research object as accurately as possible, or to develop one’s own contemporary theory by means of interpreting objects, one’s approach needs to be distinguished. Taking Mencius philosophy as an example, both Mou Zongsan and Roger T. Ames each adopted a second research method of establishing an understanding of Mencius’ s doctrine of good nature, one based on Kant’ s philosophy and the other based on process philosophy, respectively. They confused Mencius’s intention and their own interpretation, failed to accurately distinguish the two different enterprises of understanding ancient classics and understanding modern theoretical construction. Although the two research methods are reasonable to some extent, only when researchers have a clear understanding and consciousness of their difference can they better understand the classics and construct theories, so that Chinese philosophy as a subject can truly become mature.