Skip to main content
Log in

Music and Affect: The Influence of the Xing Zi Ming Chu on the Xunzi and Yueji

Dao Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

The Xing Zi Ming Chu 性自命出 (Dispositions Come from What Is Allotted; hereafter XZMC) presents a distinctive account of human dispositions that centers on the spontaneous arising of affects like joy and sadness. This focus on emotion grounds a particular conception of the function of music and ritual that gives music a central role in self-cultivation. Although the account of human dispositions in XZMC was ultimately overshadowed by the opposing views of Mengzi 孟子 and Xunzi 荀子 and the question of whether our dispositions are good or bad, its views remained central for Ru 儒 philosophy of music. The first three parts of the essay trace the development of the ideas appearing in XZMC through the “Discourse on Music” chapter of the Xunzi and parts of the Yueji 樂記. The fourth section highlights the distinctiveness of XZMC’s account through a contrast with the views of Mengzi and Xunzi. The essay concludes by examining the ways in which, in accounting for ritual and music, both the Mengzi and Xunzi employ views like those of the XZMC, even if those are in tension with their core philosophical theories.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions

References

  • Andreini, Attilio. 2006. “The Meaning of Qing 情 in the Texts of Guodian Tomb No. 1.” In Love, Hatred, and Other Passions: Questions and Themes on Emotions in Chinese Civilization, edited by Paolo Santangelo and Donatello Guida. Leiden: Brill.

    Google Scholar 

  • Behuniak, James. 2005. Mencius on Becoming Human. Albany: SUNY Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brindley, Erica Fox. 2006. “Music and ‘Seeking One’s Heart-Mind’ in the ‘Xing Zi Ming Chu’” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 5.2: 247–255.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • ______. 2012. Music, Cosmology, and the Politics of Harmony in Early China. Albany: SUNY.

  • Bruya, Brian. 2001. “Qing 情 and Emotion in Early Chinese Thought.” Ming Qing Yanjiu 2001: 151–176. (Reprinted in Chinese Philosophy and the Trends of 21st Century Civilization, edited by Fang Keli. Beijing: The Commercial Press, 2003.)

  • Chan, Alan. 2002. “A Matter of Taste: Qi (Vital Energy) and the Tending of the Heart (Xin) in Mencius 2A2.” In Mencius: Contexts and Interpretations, edited by Alan Chan. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cook, Scott. 1995. “Yueji 樂記: Record of Music: Introduction, Translation, Notes, and Commentary.” Asian Music 26.2: 1–96.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • ______. 2013. The Bamboo Texts of Guodian: A Study and Complete Translation. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mark. 2004. Material Virtue: Ethics and the Body in Early China. Leiden: Brill.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ding, Sixin 丁四新. 2000. Research on the Thought of the Guodian Chu Tomb Bamboo Strips 郭店楚墓竹簡思想研究. Beijing 北京: Dongfang Chubanshe 東方出版社.

  • Goldin, Paul Rakita. 2000. “Xunzi in the Light of the Guodian Manuscripts.” Early China 25: 113–146.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Graham, Angus C. 1967/2002. “The Background of the Mencian (Mengzian) Theory of Human Nature.” In Essays on the Moral Philosophy of Mengzi, edited by Liu Xiusheng and Philip J. Ivanhoe. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing.

  • Guo, Qiyong 郭齊勇. 2000. “The View of Body and Heart in the Guodian Chu Strips 郭店楚簡身心觀發微.” In Proceedings of the International Symposium on the Guodian Chu Strips 郭店楚簡國際學術研討會論文集. Wuhan 武漢: Hubei Renmin Chubanshe 湖北人民出版社.

  • Ji, Xusheng 季旭昇, ed. 2004. Shanghai Museum Warring States Chu Bamboo Strips Reader I 上海博物館藏戰國楚竹簡 (I) 讀本. Taipei 台北: Wanjuanlou Tushu Gufen 萬卷樓圖書股份.

  • Li, Tianhong 李天虹. 2003. Research on the “Xing Zi Ming Chu”《性自命出》研究. Wuhan 武漢: Hubei Jiaoyu Chubanshe 湖北教育出版社.

  • Liang, Tao 梁濤. 2008. The Guodian Bamboo Slips and Si-Meng Thought 郭店竹簡與思孟學派. Beijing 北京: Renmin Daxue Chubanshe 人民大學出版社.

  • Liu, Zhao 劉釗. 2003. Corrected Interpretation of the Guodian Chu Slips 郭店楚簡校釋. Fuzhou 福州: Fujian Renmin Chubanshe 福建人民出版社.

  • Mengzi. 1987. In Corrected Meaning of the Mengzi 孟子正義, edited by Jiao Xun 焦循. Beijing 北京: Zhonghua Shuju 中華書局.

  • Park, So Jeong. 2013. “Sound, Tone, and Music in Early China: Philosophical Foundation for Chinese Sound Culture.” In Inter-culturality and Philosophic Discourse, edited by Yolaine Escande, Vincent Shen, and Li Chenyang. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Perkins, Franklin. 2009. “Human Motivation and the Heart (Xin) in the Xing Zi Ming Chu.” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 8.2: 117–131.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • ______. 2010. “Recontextualizing Xing 性: Self-Cultivation and Human Nature in the Guodian Texts.” Journal of Chinese Philosophy 37.1: 16–32.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • ______. 2014. Heaven and Earth Are Not Humane: The Problem of Evil in Classical Chinese Philosophy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Puett, Michael. 2004. “The Ethics of Responding Properly: The Notion of Qing 情 in Early Chinese Thought.” In Love and Emotions in Traditional Chinese Literature, edited by Halvor Eifring. Leiden: Brill.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sun, Xidan 孫希旦. 1988. Collected Explanations of the Record of Rituals 禮記集解. Beijing 北京: Zhonghua Shuju 中華書局.

  • Virág, Curie. 2014. “Early Confucian Perspectives on Emotions.” In Dao Companion to Classical Confucian Philosophy, edited by Vincent Shen. Dordrecht: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wang, Xianqian 王先謙. 1988. Collected Explanations of Xunzi 荀子集解. Beijing 北京: Zhonghua Shuju 中華書局.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Franklin Perkins.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Perkins, F. Music and Affect: The Influence of the Xing Zi Ming Chu on the Xunzi and Yueji . Dao 16, 325–340 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11712-017-9560-z

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11712-017-9560-z

Keywords

Navigation