A Comparison Between the Thought of Wei Yuan and Xunzi

Xiaofei MA


The thought of Wei Yuan has a lot in common with that of Xunzi. First of all, Wei Yuan and Xunzi both care more about modern times instead of ancient times. Secondly, these two philosophers focus a lot on practical administration and value utility, which is considered to be utilitarian. Thirdly, Wei Yuan usually uses exegesis of The Book of Odes as a vehicle for political commentary just as Xunzi does. The similarity results from similar social background of the late Qing and Warring state periods; the revival of the Modern-text School which in 19th century served as the most important camp for the tradition of focusing on practical administration developed by Xunzi, as well as the popularity of study of Xunzi in the Qing Dynasty. However, with his mind deeply rooted in the cultural tradition of China, Wei Yuan failed to step further into modernity.


Wei Yuan; Xunzi; Thought; Modernity

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/12420


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