IIAS Newsletter 47 Spring 2008

An 'aesthetic education': the role of 'sentiments' in the transition from traditional Confucianism to modern aesthetics

Mei-Yen Lee

Chinese Confucianism gradually broadened its scope from traditional to modern owing to the influence of Ching Dynasty scholarship. Tai-Chen (1723-1777), in particular, believed that sentiments and desires are a valuable part of human nature, an idea in opposition to traditional Confucianism, notably to Sung-Ming’s Neo-Confucianists, who claimed that rationality is good and emotions are evil. Modern Chinese scholars, however, continue to greatly value and appreciate Tai-Chen’s work.

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