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[Vol.34 (2020)] The Philosophy of Mencius as a Way of Life: A Rapport between Mencian Confucianism and Pierre Hadot’
Author : Joseph Sta. Maria
Date : 20.08.27
Page : 43–72
Keyword : Mencius, Pierre Hadot, Spiritual Exercises, Confucianism
Abstract :

This article shows how Pierre Hadot’s idea of philosophy as a way of life

can be applied to Confucian philosophy. Specifically I will show how the

philosophy of the Confucian thinker Mencius has two characteristics

that are indicative of a philosophy that is a way of life. For Hadot, Ancient

Greco-Roman philosophical schools were mainly concerned, not with

philosophical discourse, but with changing their students’ way of living.

Based on Mencius’ own words, it can be inferred that he also believed that

his philosophizing was mainly about transforming people, and that he

treated philosophical discourse as ancillary to this. Furthermore, Hadot

believed that “spiritual exercises” were employed by Ancient Greco-

Roman philosophical schools to precisely help transform the lives of

their aspirants. He divides these spiritual exercises into two phases. The

first is “Concentration of the I” where the aspirant ceases to identify with

his conventional and vicious self. This leads to the second phase, namely,

“Expansion of the I” where the aspirant becomes free to identify with the

whole of reality. I suggest that spiritual exercises, or something similar,

can also be seen in Mencius’ teachings. In particular, Mencius’ activity of

“reflection and extension” can be considered a kind of “Concentration

of the I,” whereas his intimation of attaining unity with Heaven and the

world through cultivating qi, can be understood as a kind of “Expansion

of the I.”

Attachments : 2(Joseph Sta. MARIA)0826(e).pdf


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