Drawing from the rich body of recent scholarship, the author situates The Scholars within the intellectual currents of the Yan Yuan-Li Gong school, Confucian ritualism, and the broader legacy of Gu Yanwu and Huang Zongxi
on the one hand, and the specific socio-political context of the High Qing period on the other.
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.
And Huang Zongxi
(mentioned in the third chapter) certainly did not abandon monarchism as a whole but he did propose that good rulers could only exist under good laws, that is, institutional limitation of the emperor's power.
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.
A partir de las ensenanzas de Huang Zongxi
, un profesor confuciano del siglo diecisiete, el autor propone para los paises de Asia oriental, en especial China y Corea, la implantacion de un sistema democratico bicameral en el que la meritocracia juega un papel central.
A major development in this longstanding debate was the adoption of the fengjian system as the cornerstone for political reforms by thinkers like Gu Yanwu (1613-82) and Huang Zongxi (1610-95) during the Ming--Qing transitional era.
20) Moreover, there was much agreement between Gu and his contemporary, Huang Zongxi,(21) who was hailed by Liang Qichao as an early native spokesman for democracy.
In seeking sanction from the past, the journal invoked the thoughts of both Gu Yanwu and 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.