This work addresses the critical discussion featured in the contemporary literature about two well-known paradoxes belonging to different philosophical traditions, namely Frege’s puzzling claim that “the concept horse is not a concept” and Gongsun Long’s “white horse is not horse”. We first present the source of Frege’s paradox and its different interpretations, which span from plain rejection to critical analysis, to conclude with a more general view of the role of philosophy as a fight against the misunderstandings that come from (...) the different uses of language (a point later developed by the “second” Wittgenstein). We then provide an overview of the ongoing discussions related to the Bai Ma Lun paradox, and we show that its major interpretations include—as in the case of Frege’s paradox—dismissive accounts that regard it as either useless or wrong, as well as attempts to interpret and repair the argument. Resting on our reading of Frege’s paradox as an example of the inescapability of language misunderstandings, we advance a similar line of interpretation for the paradox in the Bai Ma Lun: both the paradoxes, we suggest, can be regarded as different manifestations of similar concerns about language, and specifically about the difficulty of referring to concepts via language. (shrink)
This is the first book on the role of cognition in the aesthetic theory of Li Zehou (1930–2021), one of China's most important and influential contemporary philosophers. The cognitive dimension and its integration with practice is discussed by examining one of Li's pivotal concepts: "subjectality," a human subject shaped by the world in which they live, including beauty and aesthetic experience. Li's theory is also contextualized in the threefold inspiration coming from Confucian, Kantian, and Marxist philosophies, which differently conceptualize the (...) aesthetic and cognitive dimensions in humans. By referring to different aesthetic theories and interdisciplinary approaches to cognition, the book aims to show how Li's cognitively oriented project can contribute to contemporary research into aesthetics. Although primarily written for philosophers working in aesthetics, Chinese, and comparative philosophy, the book is also addressed to anyone interested in contemporary Chinese thought. (shrink)
An overview of how friendship has been represented and assessed in the Confucian tradition, and particularly in classical Confucian texts such as the Analects and the Mencius. Themes covered include the relationship between the family and friendship, the ambivalence towards friendship in imperial China, and the connection between friendship and the Confucian ideal of personal cultivation. The chapter finishes by exploring novel conceptions of friendship and human relatedness suggested by the Confucian tradition.
In “Confucianism and Same-Sex Marriage,” published recently in Politics and Religion, Professor Tongdong Bai argues for a “moderate Confucian position on same-sex marriage,” one that supports its legalization and yet endeavors “to use public opinion and social and political policies to encourage heterosexual marriages, and to prevent same-sex marriages from becoming the majority form of marriages” (Bai 2021:146). Against the backdrop of downright homophobia prevalent among vocal Confucians in mainland China today, Bai claims that his pro-legalization rendition “show[s] a different (...) version of Confucianism that challenges the received perception of Confucianism that it is deeply conservative, a perception that often lies at the core of the rejection of its contemporary relevance, especially by the so-called ‘liberals’ in China and elsewhere” (Bai 2021:133). Furthermore, Bai claims that his moderate Confucianism is normatively preferrable to “the typical liberal or individualist position” of a marriage equality supporter, because the specter of polygamy – the conservative trope of invoking polygamy as a reductio ad absurdum against same-sex marriage – imposes “a serious challenge” to liberals but not to moderate Confucians (Bai 2021:146, 153). -/- Both of Bai’s claims falter upon scrutiny, however. Granted, it is applaudable that Bai tries to dissuade his more conservative Confucian colleagues from opposing the legalization of same-sex marriage. But as Section 1 of this Response will show, the alternative rendition of Confucianism he presents, along with the way he presents it, is premised on a highly contested conception of what shared Confucian values are; does injustice to Confucians who embrace marriage equality more unreservedly (i.e., without caveats à la Bai); fails to produce new arguments that “enrich the theoretical basis for same-sex marriage” (Bai 2021:133); and, ironically, reinforces – rather than “challenges” – the “received perception” of Confucianism as deeply conservative. Meanwhile, Section 2 will show that Bai’s comparison between liberalism and moderate Confucianism relies both upon an apparent unfamiliarity with the extensive and nuanced liberal discussions on polygamy, and upon fallacious methods of assessing comparative normative valence. -/- Finally, Section 3 will offer some concluding thoughts from the perspective of decolonial theory, examining the dynamic of spectacularized postcoloniality that propels the production and consumption of dubious theoretical projects like Bai’s. As it turns out, this case serves not only as a cautionary tale of how not to conduct comparative normative theorizing, but also as a cautionary tale of how not to let the spectacle of postcoloniality derail the pursuit of academic decolonization. (shrink)
This article examines the puzzling phenomenon that many Chinese liberal intellectuals fervently idolize Donald Trump and embrace the alt-right ideologies he epitomizes. Rejecting ‘pure tactic’ and ‘neoliberal affinity’ explanations, it argues that the Trumpian metamorphosis of Chinese liberal intellectuals is precipitated by their ‘beacon complex’, which has ‘political’ and ‘civilizational’ components. Political beaconism grows from the traumatizing lived experience of Maoist totalitarianism, sanitizes the West and particularly the United States as politically near-perfect, and gives rise to both a neoliberal affinity (...) and a latent hostility toward baizuo. Civilizational beaconism, sharing with its nationalistic counterpart -- civilizational vindicativism -- the heritages of scientific racism and social Darwinism imported in late-Qing, renders the Chinese liberal intelligentsia receptive to anti-immigrant and Islamophobic paranoia, exacerbates its anti-baizuo sentiments, and catalyzes its Trumpian convergence with Chinese non-liberals. (shrink)
Amy Olberding, The Wrong of Rudeness: Learning Modern Civility from Ancient Chinese Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2019, 183pp., $29.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780190880965. Reviewed byAndrew Lambert, City University of New York, College of Staten Island.
Li Zehou is widely regarded as one of China’s most influential contemporary thinkers. He has produced influential theories of the development of Chinese thought and the place of aesthetics in Chinese ethics and value theory. This book is the first English-language translation of Li Zehou’s work on classical Chinese thought. It includes chapters on the classical Chinese thinkers, including Confucius, Mozi, Laozi, Sunzi, Xunzi and Zhuangzi, and also on later eras and thinkers such as Dong Zhongshu in the Han Dynasty (...) and the Song-Ming Neo-Confucians. (shrink)
Li Zehou stands among the most influential Chinese philosophers in the post-Mao era. His notion of subjectality is of paramount importance for current developments in contemporary Chinese philosophy. It belongs to the central concepts in Li's theoretical framework, around which his entire philosophical system is constructed. With his elaboration of this concept, Li expanded the problem of the self in post-revolutionary modernism. The present article analyzes the theoretical bases of this concept, exposes its importance in the scope of contemporary Chinese (...) theory and shows why and how it represents a call for a new humanism. Through a multidimensional comparative perspective, the author also explains why the human subject, which is based upon Li's notion of subjectality, has the potential not only to transform modern alienation into a real “human condition,” that is, into spiritually fulfilled society of autonomous individuals but also to fill up the prevailing “vacuum of values.”. (shrink)
In Thomé H. Fang, Tang Junyi and Huayan Thought, King Pong Chiu discusses Thomé H. Fang and Tang Junyi, two of the most important Confucian thinkers in twentieth-century China, who appropriated aspects of the medieval Chinese Buddhist school of Huayan to develop a response to the challenges of ‘scientism’, the belief that quantitative natural science is the only valuable part of human learning and the only source of truth. -/- As Chiu argues, Fang’s and Tang’s selective appropriations of Huayan thought (...) paid heed to the hermeneutical importance of studying ancient texts in order to be more responsive to modern issues, and helped confirm the values of Confucianism under the challenge of ‘scientism’, a topic widely ignored in academia. (shrink)
In this paper, I survey some recent literature produced by the established Chinese philosophers who regularly publish in Chinese philosophy journals and work in Mainland China. Specifically, I review the recent research of these philosophers in two areas: Chinese Philosophy and epistemology. In each area, I focus on two topics that have caught the attention of a lot of Chinese philosophers. I argue that the Chinese philosophers’ research on these topics has two prevalent problems: (i) a lot of arguments they (...) make are weak; (ii) they tend not to critically engage with others. I discuss a metaphilosophical objection that weak argumentation and disengagement are not vices of philosophical research. I also try to make sense of (i) and (ii) in terms of some cultural factors. (shrink)
In this chapter we look at selfhood in contemporary Confucianism and feminism. We will argue that contemporary Confucians and feminists (and, with some caveats, Confucius and Mencius) have three important points in common when considering the self. In our argument, we will reflect on the debate about Chengyang Li's suggestion that there are important similarities between 仁 (ren ), a term that means roughly "humanity;' "human kindness,'' or "humanity at its best;' and the care ethics advocated by feminists Carol Gilligan, (...) Nel Noddings, and others. Our goal here is not to settle the debates between and among differing Confucians and feminists. Instead, we want to argue that the differences among the views of particular contemporary Confucians and feminists in understanding selfhood and relationality may in fact be smaller than the differences between the two looked at categorically. (shrink)
In this essay I offer an alternative perspective on how to organize class material for courses in Chinese philosophy for predominately American students. Instead of selecting topics taken from common themes in Western discourses, I suggest a variety of organizational strategies based on themes from the Chinese texts themselves, such as tradition, ritual, family, and guanxi (關係), which are rooted in the Chinese tradition but flexible enough to organize a broad range of philosophical material.
Since Chenyang Li’s (1994) groundbreaking article there has been interest in reading early Confucian ethics through the lens of care ethics. In this paper, I examine the prospects for dialogue between the two in light of recent work in both fields. I argue that, despite some similarities, early Confucian ethics is not best understood as a form of care ethics, of the kind articulated by Nel Noddings (1984, 2002) and others. Reasons include incongruence deriving from the absence in the Chinese (...) texts of a developed account of need, and doubts about whether the parent-child relationship in Confucian thought is best characterized by ‘care’. More importantly, care is merely one value directing the Confucian commitment to family and personal bonds, with different kinds of relationship, including the five relationships presented in the Mencius, entailing different idealized modes of relating to others. (shrink)
An exceptional contribution to the teaching and study of Chinese thought, this anthology provides fifty-eight selections arranged chronologically in five main sections: Han Thought, Chinese Buddhism, Neo-Confucianism, Late Imperial Confucianism, and the early Twentieth Century. The editors have selected writings that have been influential, that are philosophically engaging, and that can be understood as elements of an ongoing dialogue, particularly on issues regarding ethical cultivation, human nature, virtue, government, and the underlying structure of the universe. Within those topics, issues of (...) contemporary interest, such as Chinese ideas about gender and the experiences of women, are brought to light. -/- Introductions to each main section provide an overview of the period, while brief headnotes to selections highlight key points. -/- The translations are the works of many distinguished scholars, and were chosen for their accuracy and accessibility, especially for students, general readers, and scholars who do not read Chinese. Special effort has been made to maintain consistency of key terms across translations. -/- Also included are a glossary, bibliography, index of names, and an index locorum of The Four Books. (shrink)
Both Confucian and Islamic traditions stand in fraught and internally contested relationships with democracy and human rights. It can easily appear that the two traditions are in analogous positions with respect to the values associated with modernity, but a central contention of this essay is that Islam and Confucianism are not analogous in this way. Positions taken by advocates of the traditions are often similar, but the reasoning used to justify these positions differs in crucial ways. Whether one approaches these (...) questions from an intra-traditional, cross-traditional, or multi-traditional perspective, the essay shows that there is great value in getting clear on the ways in which one’s textual “canon” may constrain one. In the end, we will see that while there are creative Islamic approaches to taking human rights seriously, the looser constraints under which Confucians operate today may make things easier for Confucian advocates of human rights and democracy. (shrink)
This article attempts to compare the theories of life between Søren Kierkegaard and Feng Youlan. It will focus specifically on the identity of the self in Kierkegaard's “stages of life” and Feng's “realms of life” (rensheng jingjie 人生境界). Whereas Kierkegaard subscribes doctrinally to the Christian understanding of the self and claims that the highest stage of life is achievable only for the God-centered self, Feng draws his insights from the Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist traditions, which, by imposing human values onto (...) the universe, runs the danger of rendering the self the very center of the “great whole” (daquan 大全). Moving beyond a descriptive comparison, I will argue that the Kierkegaardian stage theory includes a critique of Feng's realm doctrine, the latter appearing to be overly idealistic, missing the dark side of the human essence so succinctly pointed out by former and, consequently, falls short of offering a more realistic description of the self. (shrink)
This article introduces the main developments in studies on Chinese philosophy in Russia since the 1990s. At the backstage of upsurge of interest in cultural studies scholars tended to approach the Chinese philosophy from the angle of compatibility of modernization with continuity of tradition. Attention to the links between philosophy and civilization of China has made the impact to the work on encyclopedic-type reference books in Chinese philosophy. Along with studies in philosophy of Contemporary Confucianism scholars has debated on general (...) problems of Confucian influences upon the development of China. The concluding section attempts to sum up the results and to outline forthcoming tasks of Russian studies in Chinese philosophy. (shrink)
The humanities create communities of meaning and the means to unify knowledge. Poets and novelists offer new insights into our shared mind. History provides our continuity. Philosophy struggles to unite our scientific knowledge with our understanding of values. Each discipline creates its own perspective and they often turn inward, creating new divisions. Yet a global view of the humanities is our hope of finding the means to live together in peace. But the argument in this article suggests that a philosophical (...) understanding of the basic concepts with which we order our claims about the world can provide a successful response. (shrink)
Westerners seem united in the belief that China has emerged as a major economic power and that this success will most likely continue indefinitely. But they are less certain about the future of China's political system. China's steps toward free market capitalism have led many outsiders to expect increased democratization and a more Western political system. The Chinese, however, have developed their own version of capitalism. Westerners view Chinese politics through the lens of their own ideologies, preventing them from understanding (...) Chinese goals and policies. In Contemporary Chinese Political Thought: Debates and Perspectives, Fred Dallmayr and Zhao Tingyang bring together leading Chinese intellectuals to debate the main political ideas shaping the rapidly changing nation. Investigating such topics as the popular "China Model", the resurgence of Chinese Confucianism and its applications to the modern world, and liberal socialism, the contributors move beyond usual analytical frameworks toward what Dallmayr and Zhao call "a dismantling of ideological straitjackets." Comprising a broad range of opinions and perspectives, Contemporary Chinese Political Thought is the most up-to-date examination in English of modern Chinese political attitudes and discourse. Features contributions from Ji Wenshun, Zhou Lian, Zhao Tingyang, Zhang Feng, Liu Shuxian, Chen Ming, He Baogang, Ni Peimin, Ci Jiwei, Cui Zhiyuan, Frank Fang, Wang Shaoguang, and Cheng Guangyun. (shrink)
In this paper, I shall argue that philosophy proper is a Western cultural practice and cannot refer to traditional Chinese thinking unless in an analogical or metaphorical sense. Likewise, the Chinese idiom ‘Zhongguo zhexue’ has evolved its independent cultural meaning and has no need to be considered as philosophy in the Western academic sense. For the purpose of elucidating the culturally autonomous status of Zhongguo zhexue, as well as the possible counterparts of Western philosophy in other cultures, I contend that (...) Davidsonian anomalous monism may provide a proper explanatory framework for the intercultural relationships between different ‘sophias’ from various traditions. As for the equivocal English term ‘Chinese philosophy’, I suggest replacing it with a more precise new word: ‘sinosophy’. (shrink)
Based on publications addressing post-secularity in international contexts, this article identifies four basic interpretive positions manifest within our post-secular age: resistant post-secular secularists, strategic post-secular secularists, engaged post-secular intellectuals, and engaged post-secular religious intellectuals. Subsequently, an article addressing governance and religious studies in mainland China published by Zhuo Xinping in 2010 is assessed, indicating how Zhuo serves as an engaged post-secular intellectual position, charging Chinese Marxist officials to adopt a strategic post-secular secularist position. Finally, it is shown how in a (...) major volume on philosophical studies in China published in 2008 by Li Jingyuan a strategic post-secularist position is manifest. (shrink)
In Metaphorical Metaphysics in Chinese Philosophy: Illustrated with Feng Youlan's New Metaphysics, Derong Chen examines Chinese philosophy through a critical analysis of Feng Youlan's nnew metaphysics. He views metaphysics in Chinese philosophy as a metaphorical metaphysics separate from Western metaphysics. In examining the historical influences and contemporary reaction to Feng's work, he identify's Feng's system as the continuation of the Chinese philosophical tradition. This approach is most applicable to scholars of comparative philosophy and Chinese philosophy.
This paper discusses the theory of socialism endorsed by Li Dazhao, China's first Marxist, as an effort to integrate western ideas into the traditional Chinese thinking during the chaotic years of the 1920s. There are two aspects of Li's theory of socialism which, while related, are distinct: (1) a theory about the nature of socialist society, and (2) a theory about how a socialist society can be achieved in China. Li's development of (1) is influenced by his acceptance of the (...) classical Confucian notion of the Great Harmony while his account of (2) draws upon both his acceptance of the Daoist account of historical change and on classic Confucianism. Understanding his theory of socialism thus requires locating it within these two doctrines of classical Chinese philosophy. (shrink)
Expanding Process, Exploring Philosophical and Theological Transformations in China and the West, by John Berthrong, is a model study of processive motifs in Chinese traditions and their contributions to global process-relational philosophy. Process-relational philosophy, which became a full-fledged school of thought in the twentieth century with the works of Alfred North Whitehead and the American Pragmatists, conceives of reality as constant flux. This metaphysical view is opposed to the substance-ontological view, which understands reality as a composition of timeless, discrete substances, (...) such as Plato's Forms. In working to move process philosophy out of its Whiteheadian and American roots, Berthrong draws out. (shrink)
Tong Shijun holds a concept of dialectics which can also be found in Mao’s writings and in classical Chinese philosophy. Tong, however, is ambivalent in his attitude to dialectics in this sense, and for this reason he recommends Chinese philosophy to focus more on formal logic. My point will be that with another concept of dialectics Tong can have dialectics without giving up on logic and epistemology. This argument is given substance by an analysis of texts by Mao, Tong and (...) Hegel. (shrink)
How contemporary Chinese art is creating “a philosophy of life, a philosophy of politics, and a natural philosophy,” as artist Qiu Zhijie says it must, is explored in this collection of essays by philosophers and art historians from America and China.
Yang, Guorong 楊國榮: The Self-maturating and the Maturating of Things: The Becoming of the World of Meaning 成己與成物—意義世界的生成. Content Type Journal Article Pages 269-271 DOI 10.1007/s11712-011-9214-5 Authors Feng Xiang, Department of Philosophy, East China Normal University, 500 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai, 200241 People’s Republic of China Journal Dao Online ISSN 1569-7274 Print ISSN 1540-3009 Journal Volume Volume 10 Journal Issue Volume 10, Number 2.
Every philosophical mode has a unique conceptual system. Qi has consistently been a fundamental part of ancient Chinese philosophy, and its significance is obvious. Guided by the idea of re-evaluating all values, Yan Fu, who was deeply influenced by Western philosophy and logic, used reverse analogical interpretation to present a new explanation of the traditional Chinese concept of qi. Qi thus evolved into basic physical particles. Yan’s philosophical effort has great significance: The logical ambiguity that had haunted qi was overcome. (...) However, qi gradually evolved into a particular existence as it was Westernized. It completely lost its internal flavor as indigenous Chinese philosophy. Its previous philosophical abstraction and universality diminished and at the same time it was not Westernized into the pure concept of Hegel’s philosophy. (shrink)
Chinese philosophy was transmitted to Europe in the 18th century through Deism, organic philosophy, pure reason, absolute idea, etc., and was absorbed by modern European philosophers. Chinese philosophy has also, via German classical philosophy, directly as well as indirectly influenced Marx and been absorbed into his philosophy. There is a cultural-psychological reason for the Chinese acceptance of Marxism. However, due to the influence of Occidentalism, this period of history has long been neglected.
Kwan, Tze-wan 關子尹, Articulation-cum-Silence: In Search of a Philosophy of Orientation 語默無常: 尋找定向中的哲學反思 Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11712-010-9180-3 Authors King-pong Chiu 趙敬邦, Department of Religions and Theology, University of Manchester, Opal Hall G.B13, Cavendish Street, Manchest, M15 6BB UK Journal Dao Online ISSN 1569-7274 Print ISSN 1540-3009 Journal Volume Volume 9 Journal Issue Volume 9, Number 3.
After Neo-Confucianism, the study of contemporary Confucianism became more diverse. Its original uniformity was replaced by diversity. During this time, however, Post-Confucianism became increasingly prominent. Post-Confucianism comes from a post-modernist context and was influenced by a post-modernist ideological mode, and so its appearance was inevitable. It was also closely linked to significant philosophical issues after the change in times, and therefore questioned and challenged Neo-Confucianism which was based on a pattern of modernity. Post-Confucianism represents a new trend in the contemporary (...) development of Confucianism. From a cultural point of view, this essay systematically investigates three internationally renowned schools of Post-Confucianism and their backgrounds, noting their similarities and differences, examining their significance, and determining their meaning. By doing so, it intends to outline an intelligible framework for this academic trend and highlight the significance of Post-Confucianism for the development of contemporary Confucianism. (shrink)