Neo-Confucian Philosophy of History, with Zhu Xi’s Historiography as a Case Study
As one of the greatest thinkers in ancient China, Zhu Xi was renowned for his philosophy but his achievements in historiography occupied an important position in traditional China as well. However, Zhu Xi’s historiography were only implied, but has not been discussed enough yet in comparison to his various works on philosophy. This thesis would like to focus on Zhu Xi’s historiography as a core topic to certify that Zhu Xi’s achievement on this field not only played an irreplaceable role among the grand system of his philosophy, but also on behalf of a special and significant historiographical sample in Chinese historiography that can be called “Neo-Confucian philosophy of history”. To achieve this aim, the thesis is divided into three parts. Their titles are “The Substance of Zhu Xi’s Historiography”, “The Mind of Zhu Xi’s Historiography” and “The Functions of Zhu Xi’s Historiography”. Zhu Xi’s historiography inherited “Three generations” and Confucius’ classics, and formed his philosophy on history, so it is the substance. Zhu Xi’s historiography also has many functions and expressions such as elucidate the way of running the state, establish the system and views on talents, which make his conception on history comes true, and really have positive effects on the society, so there are called the functions. More importantly, Zhu Xi’s great insight on history can be directly expressed via his writings and discussions, all of which can be named “mind” of his historiography. In these three parts, the contents and spirits of Zhu Xi’s historiography can be described deeply and entirely, also seem to be more methodic.