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Early Confucian philosophy in the light of the Guodian manuscripts


In 1993, a bundle of bamboo-slip manuscripts were unearthed in a tomb, dated sometime between the late fourth and the early third century B.C. in a village named Guodian, in China. In addition to other written materials, the archaeological excavation revealed an important number of Confucian treatises, many of them without transmitted counterpart. Photographs and transcription of these texts became available in 1998 and have generated an intense interest among scholars of early Chinese intellectual history and philosophy. These manuscripts provide valuable new insight into the formation and the evolution of the Confucian doctrines that became central to the later tradition and allow reshaping the development of some of the most important intellectual debates of the Warring States period (476-221 B.C.).
My research project will provide a comprehensive philosophical reading as well as an annotated translation into Spanish of this invaluable new written source concerning the development and evolution of early Confucian philosophy. My research on the Guodian manuscripts will be articulated around the following problems and concepts: (i) the different conceptions on human inherent characteristics (xing 性); (ii) the debates on the morally ambivalent orientation of human natural condition; (iii) the links between natural conditions (zhi 質) and virtuous accomplishments (de 德); (iv) self-cultivation techniques (xiu shen 修身); (v) the relationship between human inherent characteristics and external things or events (wu 物); (vi) the discourses on the height of music (yue 樂) and ritual (li 禮) in the formation of a sage person; (vii) the role of the heart-mind (xin 心) as the chief mechanism of control in the human body; (viii) the controversy on emotions (qing 情) and their crucial role in affect regulation and consequently in social control.

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Placa De La Merce, 10-12
08002 Barcelona
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 223 280
Administrative Contact
Eva Martín (Ms.)