Comparison of Huang Zongxi and Thomas More’s Political Philosophies Contents, Effects and Respective Backgrounds
Keywords:Utopia; Meritocracy; China; West; Political Philosophies.
In both Renaissance England and the transition period from Ming to Qing in China, a wave of governmental idealism emerged that constantly evoked scholarly interests. The extent to which Huang Zongxi and Thomas More defined their state idealism differently deserves serious consideration, as an examination of the difference may shed light on the fundamental Sino-European divergences. I hope my work will not only shed light on the two men's thoughts, but also help to further our understanding of civilizational differences between China and the West. In previous research, Huang Zongxi had been widely compared with the French thinker Rousseau. According to some, these two men lived in the same “breath”, with Huang being the “Chinese Rousseau”. This widely held perception, however, is mistaken in several ways. Huang’s work Waiting for the Dawn should not be seen as mere critiques against imperial china, but as a blueprint for a Chinese version of Utopia. Instead of emphasizing the revolutionary elements in Huang’s work as in most previous research, this paper focuses on its continuation with traditional Confucian thoughts, noting key convergences. Thomas More’s Utopia, on the other hand, offered an ideal example for comparison. With similar historical and personal contexts, I believed Huang and More reflected civilizational difference between pre-modern China and Europe. While China and the West slid gradually into hostility and distrust, it is an important task for scholars to examine their respective political traditions. This essay aims to compare Huang Zongxi’s Waiting for the Dawn with Thomas More’s Utopia, noting both convergences and divergences.
Huang, Zongxi. Waiting for the Dawn. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994, P.10-25.
More, Thomas. Utopia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. P.2-100.
Zhang Y Z. Monarch' Reform and Reforming Autocracy--A Comparison between Huang Zongxi's and Locke's Political Philosophy[J]. Journal of Hangzhou Dianzi University (Social Sciences), 2008.
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