Review Questions For Yan Yuan

1. For what reasons was Yan Yuan critical of the dominant forms of Confucianism of his period? How did he exempt Kongzi from these criticisms?

2. To what fundamental philosophical mistake did Yan Yuan attribute the failures of Song and Ming Confucians?

3. What strand in Wang Yangming’s thought did Yan Yuan extend in the development of his own moral philosophy? How did he develop this strand? What did he reject in Wang Yangming’s philosophy and why?

4. Explain the significance of the physical in Yan Yuan’s moral thinking. How does this aspect of this thought support your author’s characterization of his model of moral self-cultivation as a praxis model?

5. In what ways did Yan Yuan see being a sage as a skill or a craft? How did this lead him to think of the role of the sage in contemporary life? What do you think of Yan’s conception of the sage? Would such sages be desirable in our society? Would it be possible to become such a person in the 21st century? Give your answers to this question thoughtful support.

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