Chinese Metaphysics as a Fruitful Subject of Study

Journal of East-West Thought 4 (4):71-86 (2014)
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Abstract

The study of Chinese philosophy in the English-speaking world has largely focused on ethical and political theories. In comparison, Chinese metaphysics—here understood primarily as theories regarding the nature, components, and operating principles of reality—has been far less researched and recognized. In this essay, we examine various meanings of “metaphysics” as it has been used in denoting a branch of philosophy and make the case that metaphysics is an important part of Chinese philosophy. We argue for the need to study Chinese metaphysics as a serious field of scholarship. We also present some most recent studies of Chinese metaphysics by leading scholars of Chinese philosophy who publish in the English-speaking world. This essay aims to show that not only that Chinese metaphysics is an appropriate and legitimate subject of scholarly research but it can also be a fruitful subfield of in the study in Chinese philosophy.

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Chenyang Li
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Franklin Perkins
University of Hawaii

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