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THE DEVELOPMENT OF XUNZI'S THEORY OF "XING", RECONSTRUCTED ON THE BASIS OF A TEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF "XUNZI" 23, XUNZI "XING E" 性惡 ("XING" IS BAD)

Dan Robins
Early China
Vol. 26/27 (2001–2002), pp. 99-158
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23354200
Page Count: 60
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF XUNZI'S THEORY OF "XING", RECONSTRUCTED ON THE BASIS OF A TEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF "XUNZI" 23, XUNZI "XING E" 性惡 ("XING" IS BAD)
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Abstract

The section of the Xunzi called "Xing e" 性惡 (xing is bad) prominently and repeatedly claims that people's xing is bad. However, no other text in the Xunzi makes this claim, and it is widely thought that the claim does not express Xunzi's fundamental ideas about human nature. This article addresses the issue in a somewhat indirect way, beginning with a detailed examination of the text of "Xing e": identifying a core text, removing a series of interpolations, analyzing the structure of the core text, and distinguishing between three positions that are defended there. This analysis shows that the claim that people's xing is bad is not really central to "Xing e." More ambitiously, it supports the conclusion that Xunzi's ideas about people's xing changed over time. Though Xunzi did claim that people's xing is bad, he later abandoned the claim, and replaced it with an account of wei 偽 "artifice." 人性本惡的說法屢次顯著地出現於《荀子·性惡篇》,然而,該說法在《荀子》其他部份均無提及。於是,諸多學者認爲,該說法並不代表荀子對人性的根本觀點。本文擬以間接的方式討論這一問題。討論的第一步驟是對《性惡篇》做一詳細分析,旨在確定核心文本,剔除若干後加內容,分析核心文本的結構,進而識別出此篇論證所持的三種立場。通過此分析可看出,人性本惡的說法並非《性惡篇》的中心議題。此分析還將更進一步地支持這樣的結論:荀子對人性的看法並非一成不變;雖然荀子的確曾一度認爲人性本惡,但他後來放棄此說法,而以『僞』的概念取代之。

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