Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/18406
Title: Emotions in Early Confucianism
Authors: ONG BENDICK
Keywords: Emotions, Early Confucianism, Analects, Mencius, Guodian, Shanghai Museum
Issue Date: 5-Jan-2010
Source: ONG BENDICK (2010-01-05). Emotions in Early Confucianism. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In the past, emotions and their ethical implications in the early Confucian context were given scant attention, mainly because the early Confucian sources do not provide much information about them other than the emotional terms themselves. However, with the recovery of several archaeological texts in recent decades, we now have a better picture. This thesis seeks to reconstruct the early Confucian understanding of emotions, with the help of newly acquired primary evidence. Early Confucian sources mention a wide array of emotions that are often very similar in nature. For example, what is the difference between xi and yue in the early Confucian context? What sets them apart from le? A philological investigation can aid us in understanding their subtle differences, and prepare us for meaningful philosophical discussions. The first chapter identifies the subject matter, the assumptions taken and the methodology adopted. Each chapter that follows investigates one cluster of associated emotions in the early Confucian context. Each of these core chapters can stand on its own, though a central thread runs through them, and each comes with a philological section and a philosophical counterpart. The main chapters evolve round the conceptions of xi, nu, ai and le of the early Confucians. Though not an exhaustive representation of Chinese emotions, they provide a convenient entry point for our discussions. In Chapter Two, xi is seen as an immediate and celebratory emotional response, as compared to yue, which involves a longer cognitive process, and le, which is explained in Chapter Five as a joyous emotional state. Nu in Chapter Three is seen as an encompassing emotion that involves different degrees of anger varying from yun to fen. Ai in Chapter Four is introduced as grief over shi (losses) and contrasted with le which is, in turn, closely associated with the notion of de (gains). Qi and bei are also discussed as different degrees ofempathetic feelings. A section in each of Chapters Three and Four is also devoted to discussing at length two interesting questions: ?Was Confucius angry with Heaven?? and ?Was Confucius without fear?? The dissertation concludes with the central thread that binds the chapters together, namely, the notion of extending one?s feelings to the consideration of others?, and thus, highlighting how normatively involved the early Confucians were with regard to understanding emotions.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/18406
Appears in Collections:Ph.D Theses (Open)

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