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[Vol.27 (2017)] Li Zehous Theory of Emotion as Substance and Confucianism
Author : JUNG Byung Seok
Date : 19.03.26
Page : 87-112
Keyword : Li Zehou , theory of emotion as substance (qing benti lun ), Confucianism, one-world view (yige shijie guan ͣκ), four stages of Chinese Confucian tradition (ruxue siqi suo Ѣ)
Abstract :


Li Zehou (1930- ) publicly criticizes the assertion that Mou Zongsan ٿ߲ (1909-1995) and other Modern Neo-Confucian philosophers constitute the third stage of Chinese Confucian tradition (di sanqi ruxue ߲Ѣ). He argues that they in fact advocated the four stages of Chinese Confucian tradition (ruxue siqi shuo Ѣ), while regarding Modern Neo-Confucianism as part of the Modern Confucianism of the Song-Ming dynasties. What is the main focus of Li Zehous criticism of Modern Neo-Confucianism? His theory of emotion as substance (qing benti lun ) is one of the main reasons for his low appraisal. Li Zehou believes that philosophy concerns the fate of humanity; its task is to explore the fate of humans by addressing philosophical questions such as why do we live? and how do we live well? The meaning and value of being alive must be sought based upon the fact that man is alive. A theory of historical ontology must focus on the daily life of a vivid individual rather than a certain paradigm, concept, absolute spirit, or ideology. Therefore, the theory of historical ontology covers a broad area of research which includes psychology and the emotions of individuals. The theory of anthropological historical ontology starts from reason (humankind, history, inevitability) and concludes with emotion (individual, incident, psychology). This approach is the subversion of the one adopted in traditional philosophy which begins with emotion and concludes with reason. The theory of historical ontology concerns psychological substance and emotion as substance that an individual human being has. Li Zehou escalates the status of emotion to the level of substance with the intention of highlighting the importance of real life and the living conditions of an individual. The meaning of life lies in emotion. Even the relation between human and God is ultimately a question of emotion, not a matter of recognition. He criticizes the materialistic historical view that excessively emphasized the objective law of society and argues that more attention should be paid to the survival of ordinary individuals, with an emphasis on how an individual speaks for and decides ones own fate based on ones power. Individuals are always concrete, sensitive, and heterogeneous and therefore, he questions what can be a psychological subject, if not substance? Traditional philosophy always goes from sensitivity to reason, while anthropological historical substance starts from reason and ends with sensitivity.... Without emotion, the substance of the Way, the substance of the heart/mind, beings, and Heaven, do not exist any longer. The substance of emotion takes its place in the inner life of all individuals and is the most sincere and fundamental entity in itself. Therefore, it no longer demands another transcendent being having control over individuals within the corporeal world, nor does it demand a more perfect ideological world.


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