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An Interpretation of the Political Meaning of ＂Knowing＂ and ＂Acting＂: A Comparison between SunYat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek
Sun Yat-sen;Chiang Kai-shek;Wang Yangming's Philosophy;＂Knowing is difficult, but acting is easy＂;＂Unity of knowing and acting＂
|Issue Date:||2019-07-18 11:14:22 (UTC+8)|
In 1918, Sun Yat-sen propagated his theory of ＂knowing is difficult, but acting is easy＂ in order to promote his Three Principles of the People in China. The premise of this theory was that people should follow the political visionaries, obey their leaders, and actively carry out the nation-building project as designed by the Kuomintang. During the same period, Sun Yat-sen had shelved reforms towards a system of parliamentary government (yihui zhengzhi) in favor of advocating popular sovereignty (zhijie minquan). He also emphasized the causal relationship between propagating political tutelage (xunzheng) and promoting a single-party system. In 1932, Chiang Kai-shek decided to replace the theory of ＂knowing is difficult, but acting is easy＂ with Wang Yangming's concept of the ＂unity of knowing and acting＂ (zhixing heyi). He considered that after Sun-Yat-sen's death people were in urgent need of a new theory of psychological construction under the new party-state system. For Chiang, carrying out orders faithfully was more important than being loyal to one's ideological mentors and furthermore, complying with the party-state system was more important than being faithful to individuals. The differences between Sun and Chiang in their interpretation of ＂knowing＂ and ＂acting＂, their different evaluation of Wang Yangming's philosophy, and their divergent views on modern Japanese history were all interrelated. For Sun Yat-sen, Japan's modernization was successful due to a comprehensive policy of westernization and Japan's long-established spirit of bushido. For this reason, he disagreed that the success of the Meiji Restoration had relied on Wang Yangming's philosophy. In contrast, Chiang Kai-shek stressed that Japan's absorption of the spirit of Wang Yangming's philosophy as expressed in concepts such as ＂attaining pure knowing＂ (zhi liang zhi) and the ＂unity of knowing and acting＂ during the late Tokugawa era had allowed it to enthusiastically engage in practice besides accepting new ideas. To him, that was why Japan could immediately westernize and reform successfully in the Meiji era.
|Relation:||國立政治大學歷史學報, 50, 91-142|
|DOI 連結:||https://doi.org/ 10.30383/TJH.201811_(50).0003|
|Appears in Collections:||[政治大學歷史學報 THCI Core ] 期刊論文|
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