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The Emotions in Early Chinese Philosophy$
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Curie Virág

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190498818

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190498818.001.0001

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The Composite Self and the Fulfillment of Human Nature in Xunzi

The Composite Self and the Fulfillment of Human Nature in Xunzi

Chapter:
(p.163) 6. The Composite Self and the Fulfillment of Human Nature in Xunzi
Source:
The Emotions in Early Chinese Philosophy
Author(s):

Curie Virág

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190498818.003.0007

Despite his declaration that “human nature is bad,” Xunzi did not assume that moral self-realization was a matter of shaping one’s inborn nature through external means, or of directing one’s emotions and desires through an alternative faculty of reason. Instead, he assumed that one’s natural, inborn constitution included certain natural potentialities that needed to be fulfilled and actualized, and moreover, that these included the inclination and capacity to perfect oneself. Emotions and desires, then, played a more essential and necessary role in Xunzi’s conception of the moral life than is usually acknowledged, for the optimal state of the person was now often accompanied by fulfilment in one’s emotions and desires. Xunzi’s account of self-cultivation was based on a theory of “stimulus and response,” which signaled not the self’s passivity but its composite nature.

Keywords:   Xunzi, human nature, badness, fulfillment, self, Composite, transformation

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