ONENESS AND SELF-CENTEREDNESS IN THE MORAL PSYCHOLOGY OF WANG YANGMING

Authors

  • David W. Tien

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Michigan
      David W. Tien specializes in Chinese religion and philosophy. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He is currently an independent scholar in Singapore. David Tien, 18A Holland Drive, 38–457, Singapore 272018, dwtien@gmail.com
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David W. Tien specializes in Chinese religion and philosophy. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He is currently an independent scholar in Singapore. David Tien, 18A Holland Drive, 38–457, Singapore 272018, dwtien@gmail.com

ABSTRACT

Rather than “selfishness,” a more accurate and revealing interpretation of Wang's use of siyuinline imageis “self-centeredness.” One of the main goals in Wang's model of moral cultivation was to attain a state devoid of self-centered desires. Wang relied a great deal on the exercise and cultivation of an emotional identification and feeling of oneness with others. In this paper, I first provide a brief summary of the role of Wang's concept of siyu in his moral psychology. I then examine key passages in Wang's writings that reveal his nuanced understanding of siyu and, along the way, I draw on empirical research in psychology to help illuminate the significance of Wang's view of siyu to his overall model of moral cultivation.

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