"China has 'arrived,' and RonnieLittlejohn helps us know this antique culture better. In his entirely accessible introduction, Littlejohn has done the academy the timely service of resourcing the best contemporary research in sinology to tell the compelling story of a living Confucianism as it has meandered through the dynasties to flow down to our present time." -- Roger T. Ames, Professor of Philosophy, University of Hawai’i "Although basically intended as an introductory text for undergraduates, this book (...) is equally a very useful one for everyone with a serious interest in things sinological to have on their bookshelves. Littlejohn has surveyed well the modern Western scholarship on the manifold dimensions of the Confucian persuasion from its earliest beginnings to the present, and proffers it to the reader in a clearly written and commendably balanced narrative, complete with notes, references, and a working bibliography for further studies of this ancient but still vibrant philosophical and religious tradition we know as 'Confucianism'." —Henry Rosemont, Jr, George B & Wilma Reeves Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts Emeritus, St Mary’s College of Maryland, and Visiting Professor of Religious Studies, Brown University . (shrink)
"Littlejohn organizes his introduction around the central metaphor of a spreading kudzu vine, whose roots, trunk, stalks, branches, and leaves grow beneath, in, around, and over the vast and complex terrain of Chinese culture. He does a marvellous job exploring the origins, developments, and transformations of Daoism by guiding readers through canonical texts, across historical contexts, and around expressions of Daoism in fine art, popular symbols, literature, ritual, and other forms of material culture. The result is a masterful and (...) comprehensive introduction to this protean, venerable, and vital tradition that will engage and enlighten novices and experts alike and delight anyone interested in Chinese religion, philosophy, or culture."--Philip J. Ivanhoe, Reader-Professor of Philosophy, City University of Hong Kong . (shrink)
Historical Dictionary of Daoism contains a chronology, an introduction, appendixes and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has over 400 cross-referenced entries on related to the Chinese belief and practice worldview known as Daoism including dozens of Daoist terms, names, and practices.
Edited by Marthe Chandler and RonnieLittlejohn, this work is a collection of expository and critical essays on the work of Henry Rosemont, Jr., a prominent and influential contemporary philosopher, activist, translator, and educator in the field of Asian and Comparative Philosophy. The essays in this collection take up three major themes in Rosemont's work: his work in Chinese linguistics, his contribution to the theory of human rights, and his interest in East Asian religion. Contributions include works by (...) the leading scholars in Chinese philosophy in the Western world and Rosemont's close associates: Roger T. Ames, Bao Zhiming, Mary Bockover, Marthe Chandler, Ewing Y. Chinn, Erin M. Cline, Fred Dallmayr, Jeffrey Dippmann, Herbert Fingarette, Harrison Huang, Eric Hutton, Philip J. Ivanhoe, David Jones, William La Fleur, RonnieLittlejohn, Ni Peimin, Michael Nylan, Harold Roth, Sumner Twiss, Tu Weiming, David Wong, with responses from Henry Rosemont, Jr. and a brief Reminiscence by Noam Chomsky. (shrink)
Daoist Philosophy Along with Confucianism, “Daoism” is one of the two great indigenous philosophical traditions of China. As an English term, Daoism corresponds to both Daojia, an early Han dynasty term which describes so-called “philosophical” texts and thinkers such as Laozi and … Continue reading Daoist Philosophy →.
Chinese Philosophy: Overview of Topics If Chinese philosophy may be said to have begun around 2000 B.C.E., then it represents the longest continuous heritage of philosophical reflection. Trying to mention each philosopher or every significant thinker is not possible. This article is highly selective by choosing philosophers according to two basic principles: Those who … Continue reading Chinese Philosophy: Overview of Topics →.
Laozi Laozi is the name of a legendary Daoist philosopher, the alternate title of the early Chinese text better known in the West as the Daodejing, and the moniker of a deity in the pantheon of organized “religious Daoism” that arose during the later Han dynasty. Laozi is … Continue reading Laozi →.
Experimental Essays on Zhuangzi is a classic in the field. Originally published in 1983, this edition makes it available again in an expanded version, with four additional contributions, and in an updated format, with pinyin transcription, Chinese characters embedded in the text, and reference-style notes. The work is a well-respected textbook and essential reader in Daoist thought. It continues to constitute an essential contribution to the study of Daoism and Chinese philosophy. Show More Show Less.
The Liezi is the forgotten classic of Daoism. Along with the Laozi (Daodejing) and the Zhuangzi, it's been considered a Daoist masterwork since the mid-eighth century, yet unlike those well-read works, the Liezi is little known and receives scant scholarly attention. Nevertheless, the Liezi is an important text that sheds valuable light on the early history of Daoism, particularly the formative period of sectarian Daoism. We do not know exactly what shape the original text took, but what remains is replete (...) with fantastic characters, whimsical tales, paradoxical aphorisms, and philosophically sophisticated reflection on the nature of the world and humanity's place within it. Ultimately, the Liezi sees the world as one of change and indeterminacy. Arguing for the Liezi's historical, philosophical, and literary significance, the contributors to this volume offer a fresh look at this text, using contemporary approaches and providing novel insights. The volume is unique in its attention to both philosophical and religious perspectives. (shrink)
In this collection, Harold Roth brings together the pivotal essays representing both the innovation and expertise that have marked his scholarship on Daoism for roughly the last twenty-five years. It is Roth's position that the foundations of classical Daoism rest upon a distinctive set of contemplative practices that he calls "inner training," which can be found in the Neiye, Laozi, and Zhuangzi, but also in a number of other classical texts of mixed traditions, including the Lushi chunqiu 呂氏春秋 and the (...) Huainanzi 淮南子. The traces of these actual practices are evident linguistically in a recurring family of concepts appearing in these texts including wuwei, wuxing... (shrink)
As is well known, the Dao Companions to Chinese Philosophy series is offered as a comprehensive and up-to-date introduction to various aspects of Chinese philosophy. The series is quite expensive, but should belong at a minimum in all libraries where Chinese studies, Chinese philosophy, and Comparative Philosophy are in the schedule of course offerings. This volume, Dao Companion to Classical Confucian Philosophy, edited by the University of Toronto’s Vincent Shen is divided into two general sections: “Historical Background” and “Philosophical Issues.” (...) The span of study is “Classical Confucianism,” demarcated as the period from Confucius to Xunzi, and... (shrink)
This essay is an overview of the role of Heaven in Daoist religious thought prior to the Tang Dynasty. Lao-Zhuang teachings portray Heaven as helper of the perfected person, who has parted with the human and thereby evinces a heavenly light. The Huainanzi compares possessing Heaven’s Heart to leaning on an unbudgeable pillar and drawing on an inexhaustible storehouse, enabling one to shed mere humanity as a snake discards its skin. The Heguanzi homologizes Heaven and Taiyi and by the Six (...) Dynasties period some Daoist canonical sources give the face of Laojun to Heaven/Taiyi, increasing the anthropomorphization of Heaven. (shrink)
Fan Ruiping is engaged in a wide-ranging project to reconstruct Confucianism for the contemporary period. It includes his sustained attack on John Rawls’ theory of distributive justice, various Chinese policies and practices on the delivery of health and elder care, and global business ethics. This paper describes his revised Confucian understanding of environmental morality under the metaphor of nature as garden and man as gardener. I argue the current state of this effort is in need of a more robust appropriation (...) of Chinese sources and a greater attention to comparative analogues using the garden metaphor. I conclude with some suggestions that might advance this specific aspect of his project. (shrink)
This article investigates Michael Slote’s call for rebalancing Western moral philosophy by using Chinese philosophy, especially Confucianism, as a form of moral sentimentalism. I agree with the need for a correction of the over reliance on reason in Western moral philosophy, but I reject the rational/sentimental dichotomy and focus on the importance of the will. I make use of the important contribution made by Daoism and the conduct concept of wu-wei 無為. I explain the use of wu-wei in Daoist texts (...) as a nominative to denote a type of conduct, as a verb in moral imperatives, and as an aspiration for human moral behavior. I consider how appropriating this concept into Western moral thought offers significant solutions to three seemingly intractable problems: weakness of will, universalization of moral duties, and the conception of life as plagued by moral dilemmas. I conclude that wu-wei is not the result of some experience of alternative consciousness. It is an alternative consciousness that is shown in behavior, but not able to be said in language. (shrink)
This presentation explains how problem-based learning and the World Wide Web may be used in collaboration to shift student learning experiences in dramatic ways and to encounter the tasks and concerns of philosophy. We will provide a guided tour of the web site and the problems used in the course, and will describe how these pedagogical strategies may be used to complement traditional classroom venues without making a commitment to offering a course completely on-line for distance learning scenarios. Problem-based learning (...) will also be described and its importance to philosophical instruction will be emphasized. We argue that teaching philosophy by means of problems is more philosophically sound than taking a discrete topical or textual approach. Challenges to this pedagogy are uncovered and discussed. (shrink)
This rejoinder focuses on a few points of disagreement that I have with Li Chenyang, RonnieLittlejohn, and Lauren Pfister regarding their critical comments on my book Reconstructionist Confucianism. In response to Pfister’s concerns, I point out that my book attempts to base on classical, rather than other, Confucian sources in order to reconstruct the Confucian virtue-based, ritual-guided, and family-oriented view of life for contemporary society. In appreciating Littlejohn’s suggestion on Confucian environmentalism, I contend that a kind (...) of Grand View Garden as we find in the Dream of Red Mansion would be a typical Confucian garden, manifesting the Confucian ideal of a family-oriented way of life that holds in harmonious relations with the rest of nature under the direction of the cosmic principles. Finally, I offer detailed replies to Li’s series of challenges to my view on li 禮, arguing for the essential constitutive nature of the Confucian rituals. (shrink)