|Author:||Ho, Wei Hsuan|
|Title:||程敏政 (1445-1449) 及其學術思想: 明代陽明學興起前夕的學術風氣研究|
Cheng Minzheng (1445-1449) ji qi xue shu si xiang : Ming dai Yangming xue xing qi qian xi de xue shu feng qi yan jiu
|Other Title:||Cheng Minzheng's (1445-1499) scholarship and the intellectual landscape and climate for the rise of Wang Yangming's philosophy|
|Subject:||Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations|
Philosophy, Chinese -- 960-1644
|Department:||Department of Chinese Culture|
|Pages:||viii, iv, ii, ii, 390 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.|
Since the late Song dynasty, Neo-Confucianism of the Cheng-Zhu brand (Cheng-Zhu Lixue 程朱理學) had become dominant state ideology and greatly influenced the academia and the history of Chinese philosophy. This school, however, was challenged by Wang Yangming’s (1472-1528) School of Mind learning (Yangming Xinxue 陽明心學) in the 1500s, which reflected a huge diversion in the philosophical world as well as the social realities of mid Ming China. Scholars in general agreed that the change brought by Wang began from early Ming Confucian learning which especially emphasized on moral cultivation. However, there was another important trend of thought and scholarship, advocated by scholar-officials like Qin Jun (丘濬, 1421-1495) and Yang Shouchen (楊守陳, 1425-1489), which cherished broad learning, empirical investigation, and statecraft learning as a remedy to the deficiencies of the Cheng-Zhu school. This trend as a background of Wang Yangming’s rise is not much studied. Cheng Minzheng (程敏政, 1445-1499), an eminent figure in the imperial Hanlin Academy (Hanlin Yuan Xuesh,翰林院學士) who was also Wang Yangming’s examiner (Zuoshi 座師) in the 1499 metropolitan examinations, was an advocate of merging the learning of the schools of Zu Xi (朱熹, 1130-1200) and Lu Jiuyuan (陸九淵, 139-1193), a stand that was to be characteristic of Wang himself. Cheng was regarded as the most erudite scholar of his times, especially versed in textual criticism. He was also much concerned about the subject of Lixue, but attempted to solve Lixue problems by means of extensive textual study. Cheng’s scholarly style actually epitomized a large part of the scholarly world before Wang’s rise. The question is: Why it was Wang rather than Cheng who would become the paramount and most charismatic scholar in the Ming dynasty? To unravel the background and climate of Wang Yangming’s rise, it is therefore necessary to analyze the thought and scholarship of Cheng Minzheng. Yet, modern research on Cheng is scarce. There is not much in-depth study of his times as well. This seven-chapter thesis provides a comprehensive analysis of Cheng’s scholarship and relationships, comparing his thought with his contemporaries’ and tracing the change of the intellectual trend of his times. The findings would fill the gaps mentioned above and add a significant chapter to the intellectual history of Ming China.
In the main part of this thesis, a detailed biography of Cheng Minzheng is reconstructed in Chapter Two. It shows that many officials made a clean break with Cheng after he died because he was severely disgraced at the end of his official career. Chapter Three gives an account of his circles of acquaintances and his academic and literary views as a versatile Cheng-Zhu school scholar. It also shows that he sometimes deviated from the doctrines of Cheng-Zhu school because of his independent thinking. Chapter Four discusses Cheng’s memorial for the list of canonization in the Confucian temple (Kongmiao 孔廟). Cheng proposed to expel a number of earlier Confucians honoured in the Confucian temple by reversing the erstwhile criteria of canonization that emphasized on classical exegesis. He held personal conduct of a Confucian as the sole standard that counted. His view eventually prevailed in the Jiajing period (嘉靖, 1522-1566). Chapters Five and Six analyze the two masterpieces of Cheng’s — Daoyi Bian (道一編) and Xinjing Fuzhu (心經附註) (Zhen Dexiu’s (1178-1235) Xinjing (心經) is also discussed in Appendix to elucidate Cheng’s works.). These two books purported to prove that although the thoughts of Zhuxi and Lu Jiuyuan about learning differed at the beginning, they eventually reconciled with each other in their final years. In short, the thesis finds that Cheng Minzheng was attempting to fuse the two main intellectual trends represented by the philosophies of Zhu Xi and Lu Jiuyuan as a means to restore the genuine teaching the Cheng-Zhu school. That is, he argued for a way of learning that relies mainly on the doctrine of “honoring the virtuous nature but also to be aided by the doctrine of following the path of knowledge.”（尊德性為主輔之以道問學）Nevertheless, because of his subjective and arbitrary views in conducting evidential studies, his inflexible methods of self-cultivation, and his defiled fame as a suspect of corruption, his scholarship and advocacy gradually withered and was eventually superseded by Wang Yangming’s.
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