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A Note on the Xunzi ’s Explanation of Xing 性



Dao (2011) 10:527­530 DOI 10.1007/s11712-011-9248-8 A Note on the Xunzi's Explanation of Xing Published online: 14 October 2011 # Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011 Keywords Human nature . Xunzi In a recent article, Dan Robins summarily dismisses a traditional reading of a key line in chapter 22 of the Xunzi, sheng zhi suoyi ran zhe wei zhi xing (Lau and Chen 1996: 22/107/22). Robins says: [This] sentence is often taken to mean that xing is how we are from birth, but that is not what it says. The Chinese is clear: xing is that by which sheng is as it is (sheng zhi suoyi ran ), not anything that sheng gives rise to or explains. Further, sheng cannot be birth here, for Xunzi is certainly not saying that xing explains the process of being born. Rather, sheng must be growth, and Xunzi is saying that a thing's xing explains why it grows the way it does. (Robins 2011: 37. Cf. also Robins 2001­2002: 131 and Robins 2001: 27) Several Asian scholars also hold the view criticized here, so Robins is dismissing more than just a handful of Western scholars. While Robins is of course entitled to disagree with



DaoSpringer Journals

Published: Nov 1, 2011

DOI: 10.1007/s11712-011-9248-8

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