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《Journal of Psychological Science》 2018-06
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What is the Human Mind? Views of the Mind of the New Confucians

Li Kang;Wang Fengyan;School of Psychology,Nanjing Normal University;Institute of Moral Education Research,Nanjing Normal University;  
With the development of cultural psychology in the twenty-first century, the connotations of the mind in contemporary psychology have been changed tremendously. It is necessary and urgent to analyze views of the mind(xin, 心) in Chinese traditional culture, which can provide an integral understanding on human mind, and can enrich basic psychological theories and benefit indigenous psychology studies. Therefore, this paper analyzes views of the mind from three New Confucians: Liang Shuming, Xiong Shili and Feng Youlan, and draws the following conclusions.Liang Shuming(1879~1985), a famous figure of New Confucianism movement and a pioneer of Chinese indigenous psychology, put forward the point of view on the mind and laid the foundation of Confucian ethics. There were two stages in his view of the mind. First, he regarded intuition as the core element of human mind. During that period, he was mainly influenced by two Western philosophers, Pyotr Kropotkin and Henri Bergson. Second, Liang modified the original theory and argued that mind was constructed by three basic factors: instinct, reason and rationality(li xing, 理性). Among them, rationality which meant a mixture of reason and emotion, was the core element. In addition, he also discussed specific multi-level connotation of the mind in the Confucian culture.Xiong Shili(1885-1968) who was widely regarded as the founder of New Confucianism, discussed compositions and connotations of the mind from a metaphysical perspective. He criticized scientific psychology for treating mind as nervous system activities or brain reactions to the objective world, and presented that the human mind was distinguished by the original mind(benxin, 本心) and the habituated mind(xixin, 习心). The two kinds of mind were not actually two separate entities, but a whole. The original mind was the substance(ti, 体), and the habituated mind was the function(yong, 用). He used the metaphor of the ocean and the waves to illustrate this point. Feng Youlan(1895~1990), another important figure of New Confucianism, expressed his connotations of the mind from the neorealism perspective. He argued that the mind consisted of two parts: true mind(zhen ji de xin, 真际的心) and actual mind(shi ji de xin, 实际的心). The meaning of life could be changed by realizing mental state from the actual mind to the true mind. In addition, his philosophy of mind was similar with Western constructivism in some aspects.In the third part of the paper, the similarities, differences and deficiencies among the three scholars' views of the mind were discussed. We found that the mind of the New Confucianism is a multi-layered entity, whose awareness, dynamic, changing and value-laden part or level is intentionally focused. It is different from views of traditional scientific psychology and humanistic psychology. Views of the mind from the new Confucians can not only enrich theories of cultural psychology and indigenous psychology, but also help researchers to draw historical lessons and to get a new understanding on the human mind.
【CateGory Index】: B84-05
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