Plotinus and Wang Yangming on the Structures of Consciousness and Reality

A Transversal Prospection in View of the Affinities of Their Positions

Authors

  • David BARTOSCH Beijing Normal University, Institute of Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, Research Institute for Globalization and Cultural Development Strategies, China

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2023.11.1.91-135

Keywords:

Plotinus, Wang Yangming, transcultural philosophy, transversal analysis, consciousness

Abstract

In this paper, particular key aspects of the philosophies of Plotinus and Wang Yangming have been analysed comparatively on the basis of important passages of their works. The method used for this investigation can be defined as that of transversal comparative induction, in which the focus is more on working out the details of affinities and similarities. As this means a first step in an encompassing systematic context, differences will be introduced more briefly. The present investigation aims to provide a foundation for a more differentiating and therefore complementing second part, which will consider other contents and topics in both philosophies. The present analysis is performed in three systematic steps and with regard to three basic philosophical ideas: (1) the idea that human consciousness is a central medium in the universal process and interrelatedness of (biological) life as a whole; (2) the idea that the self-unfoldment of reality represents a meta-cognitive process beyond the limits of subjectivity and finite consciousness; and (3) the idea that it is our major task to perfect and know ourselves by means of a “return” to the highest underlying foundation of this universal process. In their own ways, Plotinus and Wang Yangming both show that by enfolding human reflexivity toward the ineffable source of all reality in thought, feeling, human activity, and natural processes, namely by actively pursuing the path of moral and intellective perfection, we become fulfilled mediators of a universal process and of that which all of it represents.

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Published

10.01.2023

How to Cite

Bartosch, D. (2023). Plotinus and Wang Yangming on the Structures of Consciousness and Reality: A Transversal Prospection in View of the Affinities of Their Positions. Asian Studies, 11(1), 91–135. https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2023.11.1.91-135