Zhu Xi and the Instrumental Value of Nature


  • Seth D. Clippard Hung Kuang University of Technology




confucianism, ecology, Zhu Xi, religion and Nature, environmental education


The dominant approach to Confucian environmental ethics advances an ontology of interrelatedness as the necessary basis upon which a Confucian environmental ethic can be built. Proponents of this approach base their arguments on the value of a transformation of consciousness that follows from a perception of the unity between the self and things in the universe, a view common within the Neo-Confucianism of the Lu-Wang school. Tu Weiming and Mary Evelyn Tucker, for example, turn to the metaphysics and cosmology of Wang Yangming to illustrate this uni?ed vision. This assertion, though, is predicated on the realization of sagehood. This approach fails to account for how the ordinary human being can possibly attain such a vision of the interrelatedness of ‘the myriad things’. The philosophy of Zhu Xi contributes a more practical and effective basis for the development of a Confucian environmental ethic that both resonates with new approaches to Western environmental ethics and can aid in the development of a values-based program of environmental education for the Chinese cultural sphere.

Author Biography

Seth D. Clippard, Hung Kuang University of Technology

PhD Candidate, Buddhism, Religion and Nature



How to Cite

Clippard, S. D. (2016). Zhu Xi and the Instrumental Value of Nature. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 10(1), 15–38. https://doi.org/10.1558/jsrnc.v10i1.11474