Wang Chung

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Wang Ch’ung


Born A.D. 27; died A.D. 104. Chinese philosophical materialist and atheist; author of the book Critical Dissertations (Lung Heng).

All that exists, according to Wang Ch’ung, is formed from material substance, that is, “primary ether” (yuan tzu), and the differences between all things originate in the different degrees of density of this substance within them. He struggled against a theological world view, developing the positions of Hsiin-tzu and the ancient Taoists that the way of heaven (tao) does not have a goal and is characterized by spontaneity. He rejected the idea of a heavenly ruler and of spirits in general. In the sphere of social and ethical thought, Wang Ch’ung was a fatalist, linking the position of men in society, rich or poor, noble or common, with the density of the ether received by the man at birth.


Petrov, A. A. Van Chun—drevnekitaiskii materialist i prosvetitel’. Moscow, 1954.
Hou Wai-lu [et al,] Chung-kuo s su hsiang t’ung shih (History of Chinese Ideologies). Peking, 1957. Pages 248-312.
Fung Yu-lan. A History of Chinese Philosophy, vol. 1. Princeton, 1953. Pages 150-67.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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