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The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Intellectual Trends
Wang Yangming, State power, cultivation, new directions, wisdom
State power had a pervasive impact on Ming intellectual life. Through the civil service examination system, the government controlled the content of education, forcing aspiring candidates to study Zhu Xiís interpretations of the Confucian classics, which had been declared orthodox. Nevertheless, in the second half of the Ming, independent thinkers took Chinese thought in many new directions. Particularly important was Wang Yangming, a scholar-official who rejected Zhu Xi's emphasis on the study of external principles and advocated striving for wisdom through cultivation of oneís own innate knowledge.
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