Huang Tsung-Hsi

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Huang Tsung-Hsi


Born Sept. 24, 1610; died Aug. 12, 1695. Chinese scholar.

The son of a high court official, Huang Tsung-hsi fought against the Manchu invaders. After 1649 he devoted himself to scholarly pursuits and wrote several works in philosophy, history, literature, and mathematics. His Treatise on the State (1662) was a critique of absolute monarchy. Huang regarded as intolerable the emperor’s treatment of the state and the people as his own personal property; laws, according to Huang, were to meet the interests of the state and the people. He was the first Chinese author of historical studies of Chinese thought, such as The Philosophical Schools of the Sung and Yüan Epochs and The Works of the Confucians in the Ming Epoch.

Huang’s ideas played a role in the Chinese bourgeois-reformist movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


Balazs, E. Political Theory and Administrative Reality in Traditional China. London, 1965. Pages 17–29.
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Inspired by the Donglin predecessors, Huang Zongxi (1610-1695)--a late-Ming/early Qing scholar--envisioned an ideal society ruled by public opinion formed through "public reasoning (gongyi)" of the entire local population.
According to Huang Zongxi, the local schools, as center for the formation of public opinion, must be entirely independent of the government.
The role of public reasoning in fostering moral self consciousness, as justified by the 1590s pro-Donglin scholars, follows almost exactly the same logic of Gu Yanwu and Huang Zongxi half a century later as discussed above.
Such a trend of thought eventually culminated in Huang Zongxi and Gu Yanwu's visions of a more thorough political, social reform leading to a society ruled by "public reasoning" in the later 17th century.
Other defenders of the collective deliberation tradition in the 1590s, as well as Huang Zongxi and Gu Yanwu in mid-17th century, however, stressed instead the crucial importance of the procedure of "public reasoning (gongyi)" as a means of reaching the most optimal conclusion.
10) See Huang Zongxi ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), Songyuan xue'an ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) in Huang Zongxi quanji ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), vol.
I follow de Bary's translation of Huang Zongxi with slight modifications.
In the early Qing dynasty (1644-1911) when Huang Zongxi (1610-95) wrote the history of Ming Neo-Confucianism, however, Xue and the Hedong School were relegated to an insignificant position and have since been marginalized in the narrative of the history of Ming Neo-Confucianism.
Koh then takes us on a journey that explores both Xue's philosophy as a neo-Confucian, bis ideas on social organizations crucial for the development of his teachings, and the reception of his teachings prior to Huang Zongxi.
There exist unread anthologies of the works of hundreds of passionate and tough-minded Chinese thinkers, hardly any translated into English, but many of whom - Gu Yanwu, Huang Zongxi, Ruan Yuan, Lu Shiyi, Fang Bao - were of major importance in the world's largest single political system at the time they lived in the 1600s and 1700s.