New Old Foundations for Confucian Ethical Philosophy : Ito Jinsai, Dai Zhen, and Jeong Yakyong

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-133
Journal / PublicationTaiwan Journal of East Asian Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2014


This essay presents and compares core elements of the ethical theories of three neo-Confucian thinkers, Ito Jinsai ÒÁÌÙÈÊÝS (1627-1705), Dai Zhen (1722-1776), and Jeong Yakyong ÈôcO (1762-1836), and argues that their criticisms of the Cheng-Zhu School represent a distinctive type and style of Confucianism, spanning the three major East Asian cultures of China, Korea, and Japan. Moreover, the essay defends their primary criticisms of the neo-Confucian metaphysical foundations for ethics as valid and argues that they should have a much greater influence on contemporary understandings of the Confucian tradition, in all its richness, diversity, and potential. In addition, this essay seeks to describe and establish an initial case for the contemporary relevance of philosophical views advanced by this trio of thinkers, in particular their claims concerning "sympathetic consideration" (C: shu; J: jo; K: seo Ë).

Research Area(s)

  • Care, Emotions, Ethics, Sympathetic consideration, Tradition