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Persons in Chinese History - Chen Fuliang 陳傅良

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Chen Fuliang 陳傅良 (1137-1203), courtesy name Chen Junju 陳君舉, style Zhizhai xiansheng 止齋先生, was an early Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) historian and philosopher and a representant of the Zhedong School of the Yongjia reign 浙東永嘉學派. He came from Wenzhou 溫州 (modern Rui'an 瑞安, Zhejiang) and earned his jinshi degree in 1172. He first served in the National University (taixue 太學) and as gentleman for attendance (chengfenglang 承奉郎), then as controller-general (tongpan 通判) of Fuzhou 福州, military prefect (zhijun 知軍) of Guiyang 桂陽, judicial commissioner (tidian xingyu gongshi 提点刑獄公事) of Zhexi 浙西, examining editor (jiantaoguan 檢討官) of the True Records Institue (shiluyuan 實錄院), vice director of the Palace Library (mishusheng shaojian 秘書省少監), houseman (sheren 舍人) and expositor-in-waiting (shijiang 侍講) in the Imperial Secretariat (zhongshusheng 中書省), auxiliary Hanlin academician (zhixueyuan shi 直學院士), and edict attendant (daizhi 待制) in the Hall for Treasuring the Heritage 寶謨閣. He was known as a honest and incorrupt official.
Chen Fuliang was a disciple of Xue Jixuan 薛季宣 and later became a follower of Ye Shi 葉適, the founder of the Zhedong School. He investigated the Confucian Classics and the historiographical writings to find support for a practical philosophy as an administrator in the Song empire. Chen was very inspired by the concept of the "human way" (ren dao 人道) and the "human affairs" (ren shi 人事) that were to serve as guidelines for all honest state officials. It was in his eyes also a duty for the Song government to restore rule over the Yellow River plain, the cradle of ancient China, that had been lost to the Jin empire 金 (1115-1234) of the Jurchens 女真. This was only possible if the government was able to connect all the people's hearts (jie min xin 結民心) and to relax their physical and fiscal powers (kuan min li 寬民力). Shortcomings and defects in the administration had to be altered in a very practical way, so that success in work (shigong 事功) would end in positive results. In this respect, he supported the practically oriented arguments of Chen Liang 陳亮 in his debate with the great philosopher Zhu Xi 朱熹 about the moral function of kings and hegemons (wang ba yi li 王霸義利 "moral and profit under kings and hegemons").
Chen Fuliang's most important books are Chunqiu houzhuan 春秋後傳, Lunzu 論祖 and Aolun 奥論. His collected writings are assembled in the book Zhizhai wenji 止齋文集.


Source: Pang Pu 龐樸 (ed. 1997), Zhongguo ruxue 中國儒學 (Shanghai: Dongfang chuban zhongxin), Vol. 2, p. 148.

May 28, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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