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Mencius and Early Chinese Thought Hardcover – April 1, 1997

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Editorial Reviews


"With this ambitious undertaking, Shun is trying to become the definitive modern interpreter of Mencius, and in this volume he succeeds. . . . The book works at many levels and satisfies at each. For the sinologist it is thorough and precise, and for the ethicist and comparative philosopher it has much to offer as well." —Choice

"This book is an excellent resource for those interested in Mencian philosophy. . . . The author has given us a textual study that is philosophically illuminating and thought-provoking."—China Review International

"This impressive book studies Mencius's ethical though in its own terms and against competing contemporary thinkers. . . . Shun's scrupulous use of evidence gives full consideration to all possible views, not only those he favors. No one has heretofore treated this material with such convincing attention or sharpened our views of Mencius's thinking to this high glint."—Religious Studies Review

"Valuable as a reference source, it proviedes a way for us to get acquainted with current Mencius scholarship. Shun's meticulous analysis of such key concepts as ren and yi in the Mencius and other ancient texts not only demonstrates his erudition but renders a wonderful service to any students of early Chinese thought."—Chinese Historians

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Throughout much of Chinese history, Mencius (372-289 b.c.) was considered the greatest Confucian thinker after Confucius himself. Following the enshrinement of the Mencius (an edited compilation of his thought by disciples or disciples of disciples) as one of the Four Books by Sung neo-Confucianists, he was studied by all educated Chinese.
This study begins a reassessment of Mencius by studying his ethical thinking (how one should live) in relation to that of other early Chinese thinkers, including Confucius, Mo Tzu, the Yangists, and Hsün Tzu. It is the first of three planned studies on Mencius: the second volume will examine the reception and development of Mencian ideas by later thinkers, and the third will be a general philosophical discussion of Confucian ethics.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (April 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804727880
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804727884
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,488,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By DocCaligari on November 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
Everyone in the West has heard of Confucius. But in East Asia, Mencius is known as the "second sage" of Confucianism, and has been almost as influential.
This book is a serious scholarly study of Mencius as a philosopher. Shun (a professor in the philosophy department at U.C. Berkeley) carefully argues for his interpretations of key terms and claims in the sayings of Mencius, always considering the intellectual context in which Mencius thought and lived. Shun has well-defended positions regarding Mencius's views on the key virtues (benevolence, righteousness, wisdom and propriety), and the relationships among the human heart-mind, human nature, and ethical cultivation.
This is a real tour de force as a work of scholarship, although it may be heavy going for the general reader at times.
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