This category is essentially all non-literary writings that are not classics / commentaries, nor histories as traditionally defined. Not necessarily philosophies in the modern sense of the word.
In this category, there are Buddhist and Daoist works included, but very small compared to to the Collections from the religious traditions. Thus, I exclude these works in the following selection (would be covered in other blog posts I guess). I also exclude books from the sub-category of "Encyclopedias".
1. Xun Zi 荀子 - Late pre-Qin thinker whose strand of Confucianism later sidelined by followers of Meng Zi. Teacher of Legalists of the caliber of Han Fei Zi (the
person) and Li Si (first prime minister of Qin Shi Huang, the first (Qin) emperor).
2. Han Fei Zi 韩非子 - Chief work of the Legalist school, whose thinking many consider to be the real (rather than nominal) foundation of Chinese government or "art of ruling".
3. Mo Zi 墨子 - Once strongest contender of Confucians in pre-Qin era, emphasizes universal concern for everyone. School also has engineering and logical interests.
These are all pre-Qin thinkers that are not canonized in Confucianism (Xun Zi), or from other competiting schools that are not Daoist.
Other potential texts:
Group A - other non-Confucian texts in the pre-Qin tradition -
- Gong Sun Long Zi 公孙龙子 - Primary text of "Nominalist" of Logicians.
4. Sun Zi 孙子 - The most famous military text.
- Lü Shi Chun Qiu 吕氏春秋 - Compilation of worldview done by a key prime minister of Qin state (before Qin becomes a pan-Chinese dynasty)
- Huai Nan Zi 淮南子 - A similar compilation, done in early-mid Western Han, by an uncle of Han Wu Di and his staff / guests.
Group B - the numerological traditions / derivatives from Zhou Yi -
- Jing Shi Yi Zhuan 京氏易传 - a key works of Han dynasty interpretation of Zhou Yi.
5. Yang Xiong's Tai Xuan Jing 太玄经 - Yang Xiong was actually quite famous thinker of Han Dynasty. He tried to write his version of Zhou Yi (this work) and the Analects (named Fa Yan)
6. Huang Ji Jing Shi Shu 皇极经世书 by Shao Yong - some consider him a Neo-Confucianist, some don't. So this work also straddles the next category
Group C - Neo-Confucianists' works
- Er Cheng Yi Shu 二程遗书 - The works by the Cheng Hao / Cheng Yi brothers, compiled by Zhu Xi.
- Jin Si Lu 近思录 - Anthologies of sayings by Zhu Xi's self-claimed predecessors, compiled by Zhu Xi
- Zhu Zi Yu Lei 朱子语类 - Zhu Xi's sayings, compiled by his students
7. Ri Zhi Lu 日知录 - One of the 3 major late Ming / early Qing thinkers (the other two being Huang Zong Xi and Wang Fu Zhi). He arguably is one of the most foundational scholar of the Qing dynasty. This is his refined notes from what he learns from his readings.
Note that Lu Xiang Shan's and Wang Yang Ming's works (prime rival of Zhu Xi's strand of neo-Confucianism) are somehow not included in Si Ku under this category - instead listed their complete works in the "Literature" collection - probably an Qing ideological statement.
Group D - "Novels" (or "stories" that may or may not be true historically)
8. Shi Shuo Xin Yu 世说新语 - very interesting portrait of the early post-Han elite anecdotes.
(Numbered ones are I think potential to include in my list, one reason being that I generally don't select two texts from the same author, so Zhu Xi shouldn't be represented again, given his Commentaries on Four Books is definitely in.)