Desire: The unfolding of the other (English)

In: Asian Philosophy   ;  26 ,  4  ;  311-328  ;  2016

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The Confucian classic the Liji 禮記 defines ‘desire’ as ‘the arousal of nature’. In line with this classical definition, Dai Zhen 戴震 (1724–1777) sees desire as human nature in activation. However, while the Liji ascribes human deceits and debauchery to the susceptibility of human nature, Dai Zhen speaks highly of its responsiveness and receptivity. This article discusses Dai Zhen’s conception of desire and argues that Dai Zhen distinguishes himself from other Confucian moral thinkers by bringing to light the dimension of the Other in addressing the issue of desire. As the Confucian tradition has long been disturbed by an anxiety to keep desire in check, Dai Zhen draws our attention to how to cultivate the affective faculty inherent in human nature to develop our sensitivity to the needs and desires of others, especially those of the widow, the orphan, the solitary, the sick, and the weak.

Table of contents – Volume 26, Issue 4

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Gender and early Chinese cosmology revisited
Jia, Jinhua | 2016
Zhuangzi’s philosophy of thing
Kwok, Sai Hang | 2016
Desire: The unfolding of the other
Lan, Fei | 2016
From criticism to approval: A reconsideration of Ji’s Yogācāra position on Madhyamaka
Lee, Sumi | 2016
A critique of Confucius’ philosophy
Yang, Michael Vincent | 2016
Editorial Board
| 2016