The Background and Problems of Liu Xianxin's Theory of "Principle" and "Social Activities"
Keywords:劉咸炘, 章學誠, 理學, 文化保守主義, 有神論, Liu Xianxin, Zhang Xuecheng, Neo-Confucianism, Cultural Conservatism
LANGUAGE NOTE | Document text in Chinese; abstract also in English.
This paper is a historical study of modern conservative thinker Liu Xianxin (1897-1932) and his theory of li (principle) and shi (social activities). As Liu is now known as a brilliant historian, his theoretical discourses and criticism of China's westernization have become subjects for investigation. First, this paper studies Liu's historical ideas influenced by Zhang Xuecheng (1738- 1801) and Neo-Confucianism. Second, it examines Liu's defense for the theory of original goodness of human nature and the problem of the correspondence of virtue and happiness. Third, it examines Liu's theistic argument, which was used in securing the correspondence of virtue and happiness. Based on these investigations, this paper shows inherent tension in Liu's theory of li (principle) and shi (matter), which reflects the anti-tradition trend Liu faced. Through discussing Ma Yifu's (1883- 1967) critique on the view that “Confucian Classics are historical works,” the last part demonstrates Liu's significance to modern Chinese scholarship.
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