Translated Titles

Implications of Professor MouTsung-san’s Moral Metaphysics: The Different Models of Song-Ming Confucianism and Moral Cultivation Approaches




李瑞全(LEE , Shui-chuen)

Key Words

牟宗三 ; 道德形上學 ; 孔子 ; 宋明儒義理形態 ; 工夫論進路 ; MouTsung-san ; moral metaphysics ; Confucius ; Song-Ming Confucianism ; moral cultivation approach



Volume or Term/Year and Month of Publication

34卷(2017 / 08 / 01)

Page #

57 - 92

Content Language


Chinese Abstract


English Abstract

Professor MouTsung-san employs the term moral metaphysics to capture the essence of the philosophies of Song-Ming Confucianism. According to Mou, moral metaphysics has three important meanings. First, it reveals through the authentic and compassionate life of Confucius the dignity and purity of morality. Second, by the unboundedness of the ren of the heart/mind as manifested in Confucius’ life, the subjectivity of ren achieves a universal and cosmological meaning as the Dao of all things in the Universe. Hence it realizes the teaching that the Dao or principle of the heart/mind (xin) and nature (xing) is at one with all thing in the Universe. Third, the sage’s life, with its authenticity and compassion, is an embodiment of the transcendental principle that is at the same time immanent within our xin and/or xing. Thus, Professor Mou criticizes Kant for realizing only the first phase of morality, that is, its dignity and purity, while Song-Ming Confucianism successfully realizes the threefold aspects of moral metaphysics. In this paper, I employ passages from The Analects and Mencius to substantiate and illustrate the threefold aspects of the Confucian moral metaphysics. Finally, I put particular emphasis on the fact that the three meanings that Professor Mou delineates are the result of the actualization of Dao through moral cultivation by Confucius and argue that, as Professor Mou stresses, the embodiment of transcendental Dao in a concrete life, is the distinguish approach of Song-Ming Confucians. From the perspective of a sage, the mutual identification of ben-ti (xin/xing) and kung-fu(moral cultivation), is a two-way circular circuit of practical moral cultivation. Achieving saintliness through this two-way approach is the life-long pursuit of the Song-Ming Confucians. For this reason, the essence of their teaching and the commonalities and differences between them can best be brought to the fore by approaching them with a moral cultivation analysis.

Topic Category 人文學 > 哲學
人文學 > 宗教學
人文學 > 歷史學
人文學 > 中國文學