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This article uses an interpretation of “Guan ju”關雎 (Osprey) in the Kongzi shilun 孔子詩論 (Confucius’ Discussion of Poetry) manuscript to reconsider a group of analogies in Mengzi 6A between virtue and desire. The interpretation, which foregrounds the role of sexual pleasure in moral cultivation, can be related to a series of analogies between virtue and appetite in Book 6A. Reading these analogies together with the conversations in Book 1, I argue that the moral pleasures of the human heart in the Mengzi are more than elevated forms of aesthetic joy or rational management of immediate sensual satisfaction. They are directly rooted in the communal nature of immediate sensual satisfaction itself.


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