Mou Zongsan

Mou Zongsan

Philosopher Less

Mou Zongsan

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Mou Zongsan (, 1909–1995) was a Chinese New Confucian philosopher. He was born in Shandong province and graduated from Peking University. In 1949 he moved to Taiwan and later to Hong Kong, and he remained outside of Mainland China for the rest of his life. His thought was heavily influenced by Immanuel Kant, whose three Critiques he translated into Chinese, and above all by Tiantai Buddhist philosophy.

Over the last 40 years of his life, Mou wrote histories of "Neo-Daoist," Confucian, and Buddhist philosophy (totaling six volumes) a group of constructive philosophic treatises, culminating in his 1985 work, On the Summum Bonum (), in which he attempts to rectify the problems in Kant's system through a Confucian-based philosophy reworked with a set of concepts appropriated from Tiantai Buddhism.

In the People's Republic of China, Mou is especially famous for his cultural traditionalism and his defense of democracy as a traditional Chinese value.


Mou's complete works contains more than 30 volumes written over about 60 years. In religious studies and philosophy programs, attention is paid mostly to his production in his last 30 years. These can be divided into histories of Chinese philosophy and philosophic treatises.

Histories of Philosophy

Physical Nature and Speculative Reason 才性與玄理 (1963). Mou's main treatise on "Neo-Daoism" or xuanxue 玄學. Analysis of intellectual developments of the Wei-Jin dynasties (220-420 AD), said to set the...
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