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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

ISSN 1673-3436

ISSN 1673-355X(Online)

CN 11-5743/B

Postal Subscription Code 80-983

Front. Philos. China    2006, Vol. 1 Issue (2) : 161-184     DOI: 10.1007/s11466-006-0001-z
On the origin and development of the idea of “de” in Pre-Qin times
Chao Fulin
History Department, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
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Abstract  In ancient Chinese thoughts, de is a comparatively complicated idea. Most of the researchers translated it directly into virtue , but this translation is not accurate for our understanding of the idea of de  in pre-Qin times. Generally speaking, in Pre-Qin times, the idea of de  underwent three developmental periods. The first is the de of Heaven, the de of ancestors; the second the de of system; and the third the de of spirit and moral conducts. In a long period of history, the idea of de  never cast off the influence of tian Dao (the way of Heaven). It was in Western Zhou Dynasty that the idea of de  shook off the dense fog of the mandate of Heaven. However, it was the thinkers in Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States who made contributions to bring it deep into people s mind. The ancient Chinese thoughts were mainly concerned with people s recognition and development of their own abilities, with people s seeking harmony and balance between human-beings and nature, and with people s seeking harmonious and balanced human relations. The development of the idea of de  played a very important role in this context.
Issue Date: 05 June 2006
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