Please wait a minute...
Frontiers of Philosophy in China

ISSN 1673-3436

ISSN 1673-355X(Online)

CN 11-5743/B

Postal Subscription Code 80-983

Front Phil Chin    2009, Vol. 4 Issue (1) : 38-51     DOI: 10.1007/s11466-009-0003-8
research-article |
Aesthetic judgment: The power of the mind in understanding Confucianism
XIE Xialing()
Department of Sociology, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
Download: PDF(353 KB)   HTML
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks

Mou Zongsan incorrectly uses Kant’s practical reason to interpret Confucianism. The saying that “what is it that we have in common in our minds? It is the li 理 (principles) and the yi 义 (righteousness)” reveals how Mencius explains the origin of li and yi through a theory of common sense. In “the li and the yi please our minds, just as the flesh of beef and mutton and pork please our mouths,” “please” is used twice, proving aesthetic judgment is necessary to understanding Mencius. An analysis of Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming’s ideas will show that Confucianism should be interpreted by appealing to aesthetic judgment, and a discussion of Kant’s theory of judgment and Gadamer’s critique of Kant’s theory will support the same point. The conclusion is that Chinese moral philosophy should be interpreted through aesthetic judgment.

Keywords Mencius      Confucianism      practical reason      aesthetic judgment     
Corresponding Authors: XIE Xialing,   
Issue Date: 05 March 2009
URL:     OR
[1] TAN Mingran. The Problem of Confucian Moral Cultivation and Its Solution: Using Ritual Propriety to Support Rule by Law[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2016, 11(1): 88-103.
[2] LAN Fei. Humanity and Paternal Eros: The Father-Son Relationship in Comparative Perspective[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2015, 10(4): 629-646.
[3] Richard Shusterman. Somaesthetics and Chinese Philosophy: Between Unity and Pragmatist Pluralism[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2015, 10(2): 201-211.
[4] YAO Xinzhong. An Eco-Ethical Interpretation of Confucian Tianren Heyi[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2014, 9(4): 570-585.
[5] Hektor K. T. Yan. Beyond a Theory of Human Nature: Towards an Alternative Interpretation of Mencius’ Ethics[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2014, 9(3): 396-416.
[6] Jung-Yeup Kim. Confucian Ethical Practice as a Method of Creating and Sustaining Whiteheadian Beauty[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2014, 9(2): 318-328.
[7] Chris Fraser. Xunzi Versus Zhuangzi: Two Approaches to Death in Classical Chinese Thought[J]. Front Phil Chin, 2013, 8(3): 410-427.
[8] John Ramsey. The Role Dilemma in Early Confucianism[J]. Front Phil Chin, 2013, 8(3): 376-387.
[9] Jonathan Israel. The Battle over Confucius and Classical Chinese Philosophy in European Early Enlightenment Thought (1670-1730)[J]. Front Phil Chin, 2013, 8(2): 183-198.
[10] PENG Chengyi. Traditional Confucian Constitutionalism: Current Explorations and Prospects[J]. Front Phil Chin, 2013, 8(1): 76-98.
[11] GUO Qiyong. On Confucian Political Philosophy and Its Theory of Justice[J]. Front Phil Chin, 2013, 8(1): 53-75.
[12] CHEN Lai. The Basic Character of the Virtue Theory of Mencius’ Philosophy and Its Significance in Classical Confucianism[J]. Front Phil Chin, 2013, 8(1): 4-21.
[13] Oliver Davies. Religion, Politics and Ethics: Towards a Global Theory of Social Transformation[J]. Front Phil Chin, 2012, 7(4): 572-597.
[14] TANG Siufu. Self and Community in the Xunzi[J]. Front Phil Chin, 2012, 7(3): 455-470.
[15] WEN Haiming. Confucian Co-creative Ethics: Self and Family[J]. Front Phil Chin, 2012, 7(3): 439-454.
Full text