In The Relationship between Zhuzi and Wang Yangming: On “The Investigation of Things and the Extension of Knowledge”(gewu zhizhi, 格物致知) and Their Holistic Thoughts, Dai Junren stated that one of his motivations for writing the article was to respond to The Debate on the Annotation of the Great Learning(da xue, 大學) and the Development of the Thoughts on the Investigation of Things and the Extension of Knowledge published by Tang Junyi in the Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies. However, aside from a mere mention of Tang’s conclusion, the article included no further investigation. Both renowned for their significance in pioneering contemporary studies of Confucian classics and philosophy, Dai and Tang demonstrate in triguing differences and similaritiesin their respective arguments on Wang Yangming’s philosophy. This paper therefore regards this incomplete attempt and gap in the literature as worthy of exploration on its own and as a direction for future studies.
The research procedure of this paper is divided in to four sections as follows. First, an outline of the review is presented, concerning the thoughts on gewu zhizhi observed in Dai’s article. Second, this study investigated how Dai analyzed the flaws inYangming’s criticism of the theories of Zhuzi and Lu Xiangshan on gewu. Moreover, this study compared Dai’s argument with that of Tang and specifically analyzed the differences and similarities in their perspectives on gewu zhizhi. Finally, this paper concludes with are thinking of the implications of similarities in their perspectives in the field of Confucian studies.