Frontiers of Philosophy in China

, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 517–538

The evolution of tianxia cosmology and its philosophical implications

Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11466-006-0023-6

Cite this article as:
Liu, J. Front. Philos. China (2006) 1: 517. doi:10.1007/s11466-006-0023-6


The terminology tianxia has both historical evolution and cultural and philosophical connotations. This concept not only denotes a geographical and spatial meaning, but also implies the moral construct of metaphysics. A systematic study of its historical and cultural repercussions can show that the evolution of the meaning “tianxia” not only embodies the cosmological construction, moral belief and self-identity of the Chinese nation, but also manifests the historical processes of modern China evolving from “tianxia” to a modern nation-state. Meanwhile, the deconstruction of the tianxia cosmology has shattered the old Chinese concept of a single united tianxia, or the whole world under one Heaven. Also, “Confucian China” has been increasingly losing its vitality and strong hold on the people, while the concept of nation-state has gained its way into people’s consciousness, which has added more diversity and open-mindedness to the concept of tianxia.


Chinese philosophy tianxia cosmology nation-state nation morality 

Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Foreign LanguagesWuhan UniversityWuhanChina

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