There are various discussions on the role of desires in the Xun-Zi and how the transformation of nature takes place. Some scholars hold that the heart-mind can override inborn human desires, a view that is analogous to externalism; others maintain the internalism view that desires are essentially motivating in the Xun-Zi. This paper aims to resolve this seeming conflict between externalism and internalism. By introducing David B. Wong's model of being an internalist about duty and an externalist about reason, I will show that desires in the Xun-Zi are necessarily motivating because of their direction of fit, and that the heart-mind is impotent to move one to act because it is a cognitive organ responsible for generating knowledge. In addition, I will suggest that the transformation of nature involves a change in the objects of desire through the learning of the heart-mind and provide a possible explanation of how the sages were able to transform their nature and establish the rites. Lastly, I will reply to some of the possible objections to my interpretation of the Xun-Zi.
"Xun Zi on Desiring to be Good: Desire as the Necessary Condition for the Transformation of Nature,"
Comparative Philosophy: Vol. 15:
1, Article 11.
Available at: https://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/comparativephilosophy/vol15/iss1/11