Nature and Heaven in the Xunzi

A Study of the Tian Lun

By Edward J. Machle

Subjects: Chinese Religion And Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture
Paperback : 9780791415542, 238 pages, August 1993
Hardcover : 9780791415535, 238 pages, August 1993

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Table of contents




1. "Nature" and "Heaven"

2. Some Recent Work

3. Some Philosophical Issues

4. The Text of the Tian Lun

5. The Occasion and Argument of the Essay

6. On the Translation

7. Translation and Commentary

8. Some Interpretive Issues

9. The Two Hierarchies and the Sage

10. Conclusion

11. The Cosmic Dance






This translation and commentary on Xunzi's Tian Lun argues against naturalistic interpretations of Tian. Tracing the course of interpretation of Xunzi down to the present, discussing some of the influences that affected how he was understood, and raising questions about some contemporary revisionary attempts, Machle suggests unusual lines of interpretation.

Edward J. Machle is Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado, Boulder.


"Philosophically it is more sophisticated than any other English-language work on Xunzi. The Tian Lun Pian is one of the most important of Xunzi's writings, and whereas other scholars give us a menu, Machle gives us the meal. The translation is accurate; the prose limpid; and the commentary is philosophically superior in every way to the others." — Henry Rosemont, Jr., St. Mary's College of Maryland