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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-G018-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 22, 2024, from

Article Summary

In early Confucian writings, cheng describes the quality of authentically realizing or ‘completing’ a given thing’s true nature. It appears together with xin (trustworthiness), a character to which it is related in sense. Cheng refers primarily to the fulfilment of a thing’s true nature, while xin refers to the quality resulting from this. With regard to human beings, cheng is the authentic realization of ones nature. In texts such as the Xunzi and Zhongyong, the idea is related to the role human beings are believed to play in realizing or ‘completing’ a greater universal pattern. This development becomes centrally important for later neo-Confucian thinkers, who see these as different aspects of a single project.

Citing this article:
Ivanhoe, Philip J.. Cheng, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-G018-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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