The Introspective Model of Genuine Knowledge in Wang Yangming

Philosophical Review 131 (2):169-213 (2022)
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This article presents a new interpretation of the great Ming dynasty philosopher Wang Yangming’s celebrated doctrine of the “unity of knowledge and action”. Wang held that action was not unified with all knowledge, but only with an elevated form of knowledge, which he sometimes called “genuine knowledge”. I argue for a new interpretation of this notion, according to which genuine knowledge requires freedom from a form of doxastic conflict. I propose that, in Wang’s view, a person is free from this form of doxastic conflict if and only if they are acting virtuously.

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Harvey Lederman
University of Texas at Austin


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