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   2011, Vol. 43 Issue (01) : 101-110     DOI:
Ding Weiliang and His Xing Xue Ju Yu in the History of Modern Chinese Psychology
YAN Shu-Chang
School of Education, Hebei Normal University, Shijiazhuang 050024, China
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Abstract  Xing Xue Ju Yu 性学举隅 (Introduction to psychology) was written by the American missionary Ding Weiliang (W. A. P. Martin). As one of the earliest books on psychology written in Chinese, it was published in 1898. This book contains three prefaces written by Qing premier Li Hongzhang, Luo Shanzhi and Ding, which was written in a form of question and answer. It contains a brief outline, with fifteen chapters in the first volume named Ling Cai 灵才, and fourteen chapters in the second volume named Xin De 心德. In this publication on psychology, Ding introduced the state-of-the-art psychological knowledge in the West, largely in the field of physiological psychology, along with some psychological theories, such as hypnotism and phrenology.
Ding and his Xing Xue Ju Yu were important to the development of modern psychology in China. His works on psychology and other related persons and events constructed a historical sketch on the development of modern Chinese psychology during the second half of 19th century. The completion of Xing Xue Ju Yu was benefited from Luo Shanzhi and Ji Ce’ao, both of whom graduated from Tengchow College. The college was founded by Di Kaowen (C. W. Mateer) and was the earliest school to offer courses on psychology. Psychological courses (named as Xin Ling Xue 心灵学 in Chinese) were introduced in Tengchow College in 1876. With abundant knowledge in psychology, the two graduates were successful in helping Ding to complete this psychological text written in Chinese. Ding greatly appreciated their work of embellishment.
Ding was prepared to write a textbook on psychology for the School and Textbook Series Committee (Chinese name was Yi Zhi Shu Hui 益智书会) , which was founded in Shanghai in May 1877 on the General Conference of Protestant Missionaries of China. However, his other heavy translating works hindered its completion. The first volume of Xin Ling Xue translated by Yan Yongjing from Joseph Haven’s Mental Philosophy was published by the School and Textbook Series Committee in 1889. Both Ding and Yan were members of the committee. Thus, it is likely that Ding knew about Yan’s publication and even its contents. From this historical view, it can be concluded that the development of modern Chinese psychology relied on the diffusion of religion.
Although Ding was appointed president of Jing Shi Da Xue Tang (former of Peking University), he did not directly prompt the development of psychology in this school. It was Hattori Unokichi who initially passed on knowledge in psychology in higher level education in China. He was a Japanese scholar who taught in Jing Shi Da Xue Tang since 1902. It was a turning point for modern Chinese psychology.
Although Yan’s Xin Ling Xue was published earlier than Ding’s Xing Xue Ju Yu, there does not seem to be any sign showing the former influencing the latter. This could be caused by the differences in the goals of the two men. Ding attempted to diffuse his religious thoughts by the means of introducing psychological knowledge to Chinese. On the contrary, Yan wanted to introduce psychology to China, and emphasize the value of psychology in various fields. In order to introduce this discipline, Yan worked hard to create many psychological terms in Chinese. For Ding, in order for Chinese to understand psychology more easily, he always used indigenous Chinese language to translate psychological concepts and theories. At the same time, Ding modified some psychological thoughts of traditional Chinese culture, especially when he utilized the psychological thoughts embodied in Chinese characters to convey his psychological ideas. In addition, Yan Yongjing officially translated the word “psychology” into “Xin Cai Xue” 心才学 in 1882. This was the earliest Chinese translation of the word to be found.
Keywords Ding Weiliang (W A P Martin)      Xing Xue Ju Yu      Chinese modern psychology      Tengchow College      Yan Yongjing     
Corresponding Authors: YAN Shu-Chang   
Issue Date: 30 January 2011
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YAN Shu-Chang. Ding Weiliang and His Xing Xue Ju Yu in the History of Modern Chinese Psychology[J]. , 2011, 43(01): 101-110.
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[1] YAN Shu-Chang. On Hattori Unokichi’s Teaching Materials of Psychology[J]. , 2009, 41(05): 464-470.
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