Neo-Confucians gave traditional Confucian ethics a new metaphysical foundation. The document which most powerfully crystallized this transformation was Chang Tsai's Western Inscription. Chang's brief essay so successfully wove together the new with the old that it became the classic reference point for Neo-Confucian ethics. T'oegye presents the Western Inscription  as Chapter Two of the Ten Diagrams, accompanied by the comments of Chu Hsi and other Chinese Neo-Confucians, and his own remarks. The Commentary takes up the following topics:


          Confucian Ethics on a New Foundation                  

          The Substance of Humanity                                

          Weaving a New Cloth of Old Threads                    

          Principle as Objective Norm and Subjective Identity.


Chapter One lays out the metaphysical/cosmic framework of these ethics. Chapter Seven most clearly evidences the new dimensions metaphysics introduced into traditional ethical thinking.