Singapore – David Tien, Ph.D., published his paper, “Oneness and Self-Centeredness in the Moral Psychology of Wang Yangming” in the Journal of Religious Ethics. The main subject of Dr. Tien’s paper is the philosophy of Wang Yangming (1472–1529), who was a military general, governor, scholar, teacher, and philosopher in early modern China.
Wang is one of the most important Neo-Confucian philosophers and was one of the leading critics of the orthodox Neo–Confucianism of Zhu Xi. Wang is also known for his philosophical teaching of the “unity of knowing and acting.”
Tien’s thesis: “The moral psychology of the Chinese scholar-official Wang Yangming (1472-1529) presents a compelling and nuanced vision of how people are at ‘one’ with others and other parts of the world, and even with the universe at large. Wang focuses on the ethical implications that come from recognizing and living in light of such a conception of the self, especially in relation to how such a view entails or implies various types and levels of care for other people, creatures, and things.”
David Tien’s Philosophy further explains, “This essay describes Wang’s conception of the self and explains its ethical implications, demonstrating how Wang’s views can make significant contributions to contemporary debates about the ways we are and can see ourselves related to other people and the world.”
Dr. Tien holds a doctorate and masters degrees in Asian Cultures and Philosophy from the University of Michigan. He also held academic fellowships from Harvard, Princeton, Peking University, Tsinghua University in Beijing, The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the University of Toronto, McGill University.
He was also a tenure-track professor in the Department of Philosophy at the National University of Singapore, specializing in Asian religious philosophy, moral philosophy, and philosophical psychology. In addition, Dr. Tien has research knowledge of Modern Chinese, Classical Chinese, Japanese, French, and Biblical Greek.
Aside from Dr. Tien’s academic background, he has also completed formal training in IFS Therapy (Internal Family Systems Therapy Level 1), Schema Therapy (Level 1), CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy), ACT (Acceptance-Commitment Therapy), Gestalt Therapy (Basic), and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), among others.
His education and training have equipped him to help and coach people in over 87 countries and counting.
Because of his deep interest and expertise in the field of philosophical psychology, Dr. Tien still continues to write and speak on these issues.
In this paper, Dr. Tien explains how Wang’s central concept of “siyu” is best understood as “self-centeredness” and not mere “selfishness.” He draws on recent empirical research in psychology to clarify further Wang’s view of “siyu” in his overall model of moral cultivation.
Dr. Tien’s essay can be read in full in the Journal of Religious Ethics (JRE) 40.1 (2012): 52-71. It is also published online on his personal academic website. David Tien Ph.D’s Philosophy and other academic publications can also be found in his academic and philosophical blog.