Abstract：It is advisable for us to use the framework of the specific attribute and the fundamental attribute in the study of the Confucianist theory of nature. The specific attribute and the fundamental attribute are generated in sequence. Under the premise of the specific attribute, nature is not something exclusive, for example, to be inherently good or inherently evil. Once the fundamental attribute is established, however, it will become the dominant, exclusive and unified attribute, thus inevitably leading to the metaphysical dimension. For some theoretical reasons, both the Theory of Inborn Good Nature (性善论) and the Theory of Inborn Evil Nature (性恶论) are results of deliberate choice of taking a certain specific attribute as the fundamental attribute, and amplifying it so that it may represent nature as a whole. The occurrence of the fundamental attribute simplifies the problems, so it acts as an inevitable product of the ideological development. It is advisable for us to use the framework of difference and unity in the study of the Taoist theory of nature, Difference and unity are generated simultaneously, and both are the inevitable result of the generating process of Dao (道). Unity is a state in which things are complete before Dao is undifferentiated, and difference is a state in which things have individual physical properties after Dao is differentiated. Taoism believes that the best way to reach the ideal state and generate huge energy is “returning to one’s nature and to the beginning state” (反性复初)and “preserving one’s true nature”(全性保真), that is, returning to or cultivating the state of unity. Meanwhile, understanding the difference is the best way to control things. And making effective use of difference is the key to handling problems and resolving contradictions.
Cao Feng. The Double Framework of the Research on the Confucianist and Taoist Theories of Nature in the Pre-Qin Period[J]. Journal of Peking University(Philosophy and Social Sciences), 2022, 59(5): 30-41.