Cheng I(redirected from Zheng Yi)
(also Ch’eng I-ch’uan). Born 1033; died 1107. Chinese philosopher; a founder of neo-Confucianism. Brother of Ch’eng Hao.
As compared to Ch’eng Hao, Ch’eng I placed greater emphasis on the harmony between the oneness and the diversity of li or “principle”; his thesis, “principle is one but its manifestations are many,” is one of the best-known philosophical tenets in China. Ch’eng I held that ch’i, or “material force,” always possesses a physical form, whereas “principle” precedes and is therefore devoid of physical form. According to Ch’eng I, yin and yang (the basic categories in Chinese natural philosophy) do not exist outside of “principle,” and all things have both a corporeal and a nonmaterial aspect, corresponding to “material force” and “principle.”