Mou Zongsan : biography
Mou Zongsan ( 1909–1995) was a Chinese New Confucian philosopher. He was born in Shandong province and graduated from Peking University. In 1949 he moved to Taiwan and later to Hong Kong, and he remained outside of Mainland China for the rest of his life. His thought was heavily influenced by Immanuel Kant, whose three Critiques he translated, possibly first,• Chan, Wing-Cheuk. "Mou Zongsan'S Transformation Of Kant'S Philosophy." Journal of Chinese Philosophy 33.1 (2006): 125-39. Print. into Chinese, and above all by Tiantai Buddhist philosophy.
Over the last 40 years of his life, Mou wrote histories of "Neo-Daoist," Confucian, and Buddhist philosophy (totaling six volumes) a group of constructive philosophic treatises, culminating in his 1985 work, On the Summum Bonum (), in which he attempts to rectify the problems in Kant's system through a Confucian-based philosophy reworked with a set of concepts appropriated from Tiantai Buddhism.
In the People's Republic of China, Mou is especially famous for his cultural traditionalism and his defense of democracy as a traditional Chinese value.
Scholarship in English
- Billioud, Sebastien. Thinking Through Confucian Modernity: A Study of Mou Zongsan's Moral Metaphysics. Leiden & Boston: Brill, forthcoming.
- Clower, Jason T. The Unlikely Buddhologist: Tiantai Buddhism in the New Confucianism of Mou Zongsan. Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2010.
- Kantor, Hans-Rudolf. "Ontological Indeterminacy and Its Soteriological Relevance: An Assessment of Mou Zongsan's (1909-1995) Interpretation of Zhiyi's (538-597) Tiantai Buddhism." Philosophy East and West 56(1): 16-68.
- Lin Chen-kuo. "Dwelling in Nearness to the Gods: The Hermeneutical Turn from MOU Zongsan to TU Weiming." Dao 7: 381-392.
- Lin Tongqi and Zhou Qin. "The Dynamism and Tension in the Anthropocosmic Vision of Mou Zongsan." Journal of Chinese Philosophy 22.
Mou and Kant
Following his teacher Xiong Shili, Mou Zongsan sought to articulate and justify a moral metaphysics.• Bunnin, Nicholas. "God's Knowledge And Ours: Kant And Mou Zongsan On Intellectual Intuition." Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35.4 (2008): 613-24. Print. A moral metaphysics asserts the interconnectedness of ontology and morality, implying the moral value of all objects including the self. Mou’s philosophy attempts to demonstrate the limits of Kant, suggesting instead the ways in which Chinese thought may surpass Kantian morality. Several of Mou’s titles directly reveal his engagement with Kant – Intellectual Intuition and Chinese Philosophy, Phenomenon and Thing-in-Itself, and Treatise of the Perfect Good – a commitment that is reflected in Mou’s decision to express his philosophy in Kantian terms. For example, Mou’s philosophy inherits the Kantian concepts of autonomy, intellectual intuition, and Thing-in-Itself, although Confucianism inspires Mou to transform these concepts.• Billioud, Sebastien. "Mou Zongsan's Problem With The Heideggerian Interpretation Of Kant." Journal of Chinese Philosophy 33.2 (2006): 225-47. Print. The reason behind this decision to use Kantian terms remains unknown, but some scholars argue that Mou’s use of certain terminologies aims to facilitate a dialogue between the East and West, pointing to Mou’s comparison of Mencius and Kant, whereby he demonstrates the compatibility of Chinese and Western philosophies.• Guo, Qiyong. "Mou Zongsan’s View of Interpreting Confucianism by “moral Autonomy”." Frontiers of Philosophy in China 2.3 (2007): 345-62. Print.
Mou's philosophy develops as a critique and transformation of Kant’s critical philosophy.• Schmidt, Stephan. "Mou Zongsan, Hegel, and Kant: The Quest for Confucian Modernity." Philosophy East and West 61.2 (2011): 260-302. Philosopher's Index [ProQuest]. Web. Mou believes in the compatibility of Chinese thought and Kantian philosophy because both are backed by the Way, where the Way is essentially truth and different philosophies manifest different aspects it.• Jiadong, Zheng. "The Issue of the "Legitimacy" of Chinese Philosophy." Contemporary Chinese Thought 37.1 (2005): 11-23. Print. Mou’s analysis of Kant centers on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. One of Mou’s major criticisms of Kant involves Kant’s regard for free will as theoretical. Herein lies one of Mou’s fundamental beliefs, that morality and the moral life are, contrary to what Kant posits, really real. This presumption stems from Mou’s belief in the metaphysical necessity of the capability of improving one’s moral praxis, and thus Mou develops a moral metaphysics within the tenet of subjectivism. While Kant believes that intellectual intuition is only possible for God, Mou ascribes human beings equal capability of this intuition, which Mou finds superior to Heidegger’s fundamental ontology. Mou rejects Heidegger because according to Kant, true metaphysics is transcendent. Mou further departs from Kant’s philosophy, eventually transforming it into what is commonly referred to as New Confucianism or Mind Confucianism.
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