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Zhu Xi on Family and Women: Challenges and Potentials


  • Ann A. Pang-White

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    1. The University of Scranton, Scranton, Pennsylvania
    • ANN A. PANG-WHITE, Professor, Department of Philosophy and Asian Studies, The University of Scranton. Specialties: Chinese philosophy, medieval philosophy (Augustine), comparative philosophy. E-mail:

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This article reappraises Zhu Xi's philosophy of women. First, it examines Zhu's descriptive texts. Second, it analyzes Zhu's didactic texts on li, qi, yin, yang, and gender. It finds that (i) surprisingly Zhu exhibited a level of flexibility toward women on subjects of education, property rights, and household management; (ii) his view on the male/yang and female/yin relationship was inconsistent; and (iii) improvement on Zhu's social-political teaching on women's role could result from a more consistent development of his metaphysics. When thus modified, his metaphysics of yin-yang and li-qi could make a considerable contribution to contemporary feminist discourse.