Fan Chen

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fan Chen


Born circa A.D. 450; died 515. Chinese materialist philosopher.

Fan Chen’s treatise On the Destruction of the Soul was directed against the Mahayana doctrine of life beyond the grave. The treatise is written in the form of a dialogue and explores the interrelationship of soul and body. Fan Chen held that the soul is a function of the body and is destroyed upon the body’s death; all parts of the body are simultaneously parts of the soul. In Fan Chen’s view, the negation of the soul’s immortality is an important means of taking away man’s dread of the torments of hell while removing his hope for the rewards to be gained after death.


Chung-kuo ssu-hsiang t’ung-shih (History of Chinese Thought), vol. 3. Peking, 1957. Pages 373–403.
Balazs, E. “The First Chinese Materialist.” In his book Chinese Civilization and Bureaucracy. New Haven, 1966. Pages 255–76.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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