Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Early China


Through an analysis of every instance of the term qing 情 in the text, this article explores the role of this concept in the ethical thought of the second-century b.c.e. text Huainanzi. The Huainanzi authors draw on several features of the semantic range of qing in the early Han dynasty to help support their overall argument that the text provides an exhaustive and authoritative account of how to effectively govern an empire. As part of this project, I argue that the authors also use qing to articulate the meta-ethical features of the cosmos and human beings that make ideal moral action possible, as well as to explain the process of how humans can cultivate themselves to the ideal state of sagehood. Understanding the role of qing in the Huainanzi is thus essential to understanding the text's ethical content.


Originally published as Duperon, Matthew L. "The Role of Qing 情in the Huainanzi’s Ethics." Early China 38 (2015): 79-107.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.