In the post-metaphysical climate of the modern Western academy, Chinese thought is often seen as a happy pragmatism free from transcendental pretense. The article shows, on the contrary, that the early Daoist thinker Zhuangzi had not only one but at least two distinct notions of transcendence. The focus is on Zhuangzi's notion of transcendental life, or the life of Heaven as opposed to the life of man. Based on the explication of Zhuangzi's notion of transcendental life, the article provides a (...) new understanding of Zhuangzi's crucial notion of ?wandering? (you). Finally it is argued that Zhuangzi's thought does not, as it is often thought, fall into naturalism. (shrink)
This book critically examines the Confucian political imagination and its influence on the contemporary Chinese dream of a powerful China. It views Confucianism as the ideological supplement to a powerful state that is challenging Western hegemony, and not as a political philosophy that need not concern us. Eske Møllgaard shows that Confucians, despite their traditionalist ways, have the will to transform the existing socio-ethical order. The volume discusses the central features of the Confucian political imaginary, the nature of Confucian (...) discourse, Confucian revivals, Confucian humanism and civility, and the political ideal of the Great Unity. It concludes by considering if Confucianism can be universalized as an ideology in competition with liberal democracy. (shrink)
Recently some philosophers have claimed that it is a scandal that non-Western traditions are excluded from the curriculum in Western philosophy departments. I consider the case of Confucianism and argue that the central features of Confucian discourse are different from those of philosophical discourse, that the historical conditions that gave rise to Confucian discourse sets it apart from the formation of Western philosophy, and that Western philosophers often misread Confucian discourse because they assimilate it to philosophical discourse. I conclude that (...) in order to do justice to the Confucian masters we must read their discourse in accord with its own nature and aims.The question whether there was... (shrink)
"Is Traditional Chinese Thought Philosophy?" has been a perennial question ever since the term zhexue 哲學, as a translation of the Western concept of philosophy, was introduced to China via Japan, and it will stay this way for years to come. Two factors make the answering of this question a Sisyphean project. First, a lot of scholars feel that they have to answer this question. The contemporary academic disciplines were defined by Westerners, and the discipline of philosophy was alien to (...) traditional Chinese scholarship. Then, unless the structure of academia is radically redefined, anyone who relies heavily on traditional Chinese materials and wishes to work... (shrink)
This is the first work available in English which addresses Zhuangzi’s thought as a whole. It presents an interpretation of the Zhuangzi, a book in thirty-three chapters that is the most important collection of Daoist texts in early China. The author introduces a complex reading that shows the unity of Zhuangzi’s thought, in particular in his views of action, language, and ethics. By addressing methodological questions that arise in reading Zhuangzi, a hermeneutics is developed which makes understanding Zhuangzi’s religious thought (...) possible. A theoretical contribution to comparative philosophy and the cross-cultural study of religious traditions, the book serves as an introduction to Daoism for graduate students in religion, philosophy, and East Asian Studies. (shrink)
Through the 1980s Confucian studies in the United States tended to present Confucianism as compatible with liberal democratic values. Since the 1990s, after the rise of China as a global power, Confucianism is increasingly defended as a political alternative to liberal and democratic values. This essay argues that Confucianism is not compatible with liberal democratic values, and that the rise of political Confucianism opposed to liberal democracy is a return to a more authentic Confucianism. Furthermore, it is argued that the (...) defense of this undemocratic and illiberal Confucianism in the West, notably by Stephen C. Angle and Daniel A. Bell, reflects and reveals the precarious state of democracy in our present historical moment. (shrink)
Slavoj ?i?ek's incisive critique of western Buddhism raises the following questions: Is western Buddhism the paradigmatic ideology of late capitalism? Is Buddhism nihilistic absorption in nothingness? Does Buddhism negate the Real together with the imaginary? Is Buddhist metaphysics violent? The essay considers these questions and asks if western Buddhism, contrary to what ?i?ek argues, may become an antidote to the nihilism that pervades late capitalist societies.
The Confucian notion of civility has for thousands of years guided all aspects of socio-ethical life in East Asia. Confucians express their central concern for civility in their notion of li, which is commonly translated ?ritual? and refers to the conventions and courtesies through which we submit to the socio-ethical order, as we do, for example, in performing sacrifices, weddings, and funerals, and various daily acts of deference. Since the rise of China and other East Asian countries as economic powers, (...) it has been suggested that we have in East Asia a ?Confucian? ritual-based culture that is opposed to the law-based culture of the West, a culture of rites opposed to a culture of rights, and that this ritual-based culture can be carried into modernity as another way to secure social harmony. I argue that the values central to Confucian ritual ? deference, repayment, and harmony ? are incompatible with the freedom enacted in modern civility. It is unlikely, therefore, that Confucian ritual can be carried into modernity and, as some suggest, remedy the fragmentation, and indeed lack of civility, characteristic of modern societies. (shrink)
Bai Tongdong and I agree on the most important point: not everything is philosophy. With this initial agreement we can begin to discuss whether Confucian discourse is philosophy, and with determination and discipline in our proposals and replies we can clear up misunderstandings and overcome disagreements, and so hopefully come closer to the fact of the matter. I am happy that Bai has provided me this opportunity to clarify my position, and I shall first address the points where Bai misunderstands (...) my argument and then the points where we disagree and there is need for further discussion.First the misunderstandings. Bai writes that "Confucianism can be read philosophically, in spite of Møllgaard's argument," and the... (shrink)
Confucianism is a kind of humanism. Confucian humanism presupposes, however, a divisive act that separates human and nonhuman. This paper shows that the split between the human and the nonhuman is central to Mencius' moral psychology, and it argues that Confucianism is an anthropological machine in the sense of the term used by Giorgio Agamben. I consider the main points of early Daoist critique of Confucian humanism. A comparative analysis of Herman Melville's novella 'Bartleby the Scrivener' reveals the limitation of (...) the moral will in Mencius. Finally, I refer to an incident that recently captured the imagination of Chinese netizens, and shows the contested influence of Confucian humanism in contemporary China. (shrink)
The article considers the relation between Chinese philosophy as an academic discipline and Western philosophy. In the academy there are three ways Chinese philosophy can relate to Western philosophy: Chinese philosophy may see itself as the other of Western philosophy, Chinese philosophy may seek recognition from Western philosophy, and Chinese philosophy may refuse to see Western philosophy as the measure for what is philosophy. I consider scholars from each of these three positions as well as the debate between them. Through (...) this review it becomes clear that the relation between Chinese and Western philosophy is an uneasy one. In conclusion I suggest that the relation between Chinese and Western philosophy is not a relation between two separate entities; the rise of Chinese philosophy is rather a symptom of the decline of Western learning. (shrink)
The chapter considers the relation between language and logic in early Daoism. It explains the Daoist experience of language, which is closely related to the Daoist experience of the Way. It is shown how Daoist logic differs from the Confucian logic of correctness and the Mohist logic of naming. Even if Daoist discourse does not follow these more familiar forms of logic, it does not negate the law of non-contradiction nor does it fall into the performative contradiction. Through readings of (...) significant Daoist stories the Daoist logic beyond logic is brought to view. (shrink)
Wei-mingâs discourse has been badly understood by some Western philosophers who study Confucianism. I suggest that this misunderstanding stems from the fact that these philosophers fail to realize that Confucian discourse is in an entirely different register from Western philosophical discourse. I then propose my own preliminary definition of Confucian discourse in five points and present a structural analysis of a text by Tu Wei-ming. Finally, I consider which features of Tuâs discourse can properly be called Confucian. The answer to (...) this question reflects not only on Tu but also on Confucian discourse and the study of Confucianism in general. (shrink)
Traditional Chinese commentators rightly see that understanding Zhuangzi's way with words is the presupposition for understanding Zhuangzi at all. They are not sure, however, if Zhuangzi's words are super-effective or pure nonsense. I consider Zhuangzi's experience with language, and then turn to Heidegger's word of being to see if it may throw light on Zhuangzi's way of saying. I argue that a conversation between Heidegger and Zhuangzi on language is possible, but only by expanding Heidegger's notion of Gestell and through (...) a destruction of the dominant Confucian discourse that obscures Zhuangzi's way of saying. (shrink)
For the theorists of crisis, the revolutionary state comes into existence through violence, and due to its inability to provide an authoritative katechon (restrainer) against internal and external violence, it perpetuates violence until it self-destructs. Writing during extreme economic depression and growing social and political violence, the crisis theorists––Joseph de Maistre, Juan Donoso Cortés, and Carl Schmitt––each sought to blame the chaos of their time upon the Janus-faced postrevolutionary ideals of liberalism and socialism by urging a return to pre-revolutionary (...) moral and religious values. They are united by three counterrevolutionary principles, all of which are purported to remedy revolutionary violence: traditional constitutional fidelity, the philosophy of the decision, and opposition to bourgeois liberalism. This essay is followed by the first complete English translation and publication of Donoso’s letter of October 24, 1851, which contains Donoso’s only reference to the “discussing class,” a political entity later popularized by Schmitt in his 1922 work Political Theology. (shrink)
This paper pushes back against the Democritean-Newtonian tradition of assuming a strict conceptual dichotomy between spacetime and matter. Our approach proceeds via the more narrow distinction between modified gravity/spacetime and dark matter. A prequel paper argued that the novel field Φ postulated by Berezhiani and Khoury's 'superfluid dark matter theory' is as much matter as anything could possibly be, but also below the critical temperature for superfluidity as much spacetime as anything could possibly be. Here we introduce and critically evaluate (...) three groups of interpretations that one should consider for such Janus-faced theories. The consubstantiality interpretation holds that Φ is both matter and a modification of spacetime, analogously to the sense in which Jesus is both human and god. The fundamendalist interpretations consider for each of these roles whether they are instantiated fundamentally or emergently. The breakdown interpretations focus on the question of whether Φ signals the breakdown, in some sense to be specified, of the MG-DM dichotomy and perhaps even the broader spacetime–matter distinction. More generally, it is argued that hybrid theories urge a move towards a single space of theories, rather than two separate spaces of spacetime theories and matter theories, respectively. (shrink)
Jean-Paul Sartre, in Being and Nothingness, develops the concept of “bad faith” in order to account for the paradoxical fact that knowledge can be ignorant of itself, and thus that a self-conscious subject can deceive itself while being aware of its own deception. Sartre claims that Freudian psychoanalysis would account for self-deception by positing an unconsciousness that guides consciousness without consciousness being aware of it. Therefore, Freudian psychoanalysis is an insufficient model with which to address bad faith. I disagree. There (...) is a specific psychic mechanism in Freud that answers Sartre’s criteria for bad faith, and it is called “disavowal” . Disavowal is the mechanism responsible for fetishism. And thus, fetishism is the Freudian account of bad faith. (shrink)
In this article, the philosophical-anthropology of St. Thomas Aquinas is examined. In particular, the non-dualistic aspects of his anthropology are explicated and shown to have the potential to provide an underpinning for a holistic approach to psychology. In the course of this examination, parallels are drawn between Thomism and existential-phenomenology. The article concludes with an exploration of the ways in which a dialogue between existential-phenomenology and Thomism might benefit both traditions of thought, particularly as regards their relevance to metapsychology.
In his reflection upon Dasein’s attempt to approach, understand and appropriate the possibility of its own death in Being and Time, Martin Heidegger makes an interesting side note on the phenomenological appearance of the dead body of another. Make no mistake; it is only a note – one made in passing en route to a much larger argument. But it is a note of interest nonetheless; for within it is contained the thread of a thought that, when pursued to its (...) end, seems to unravel some of the fundamental elements of the Heideggerian analytic. It is the goal of this paper then to follow that thread to its logical end by engaging in an detailed examination of the enigmatic phenomenon that is the dead body of another and, in doing so, not only illuminate the curious nature of its appearance; but, more importantly, reveal some of the limits of the Heideggerian analytic. The paper will conclude by turning to the work of Emmanuel Levinas in attempt to stretch beyond those limits. (shrink)
This article explores the loss of the Louisiana wetlands from an eco-psychology viewpoint. The causes of the deterioration of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands include direct ones such as the building of canals, pipelines, and levee systems, and more importantly, humanity’s disconnection from the voices of nature and the wilderness. This article takes the reader to the dying edge of a continent, and invites the reader to adopt a new vision of our place within the world.
Buber’s and Kant’s views as to how to achieve mutual respect are intertwined, contrary to the way each would likely see the other’s position. To this end, the author discussed each writer’s view of mutual respect and shows how the deficiencies in each are made up for in the arguments of the other. The author concludes by suggesting that a conception of liberal civil society, at its best and most democratic, embodied both Buber’s and Kant’s views of mutual respect.
This essay concerns Heidegger’s assertion that the biography of the poet is unimportant when interpreting great works of poetry. I approach the question in three ways. First, I consider its merits as a principle of literary interpretation and contrast Heidegger’s view with those of other Trakl interpreters. This allows me to clarify his view as a unique variety of non-formalistic interpretation and raise some potential worries about his approach. Second, I consider Heidegger’s view in the context of his broader philosophical (...) project. Viewed this way, Heidegger’s decision to neglect the poet’s biography seems quite reasonable and consistent with his inquiry into the being of language. Finally, I consider Heidegger’s suggestion that Trakl is a kind of mad genius. I recast this paradigmatic figure in terms of what I call the ‘wretched prophet’ and consider some ways in which its appeal sheds light on the crisis of modernity and the aestheticization of politics. (shrink)
[V]isibility is central to the shaping of political, medical, and socioeconomic decisions. Who will be treated—how and where—are the central questions whose answers are often entwined with issues of visibility … [and] the effects that media visibility has on the perception of particular bodies .In a documentary entitled Paris: The Luminous Years , writer Janet Flanner describes the intense friendship of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Both were inspired by Paul Cézanne and his retrospective at the 1907 Salon d’Automne—which, according (...) to Paris: The Luminous Years, marked in Janus-like fashion the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries in art. Flanner tells of the frequent visits between the two painters, where they “talked and talked … two or three months that they just spent gabbling, gabbling.” And from their camaraderie and gabble emerged someth .. (shrink)
Tato studie se zabývá zobrazováním alchymie v malbách, knižních ilustracích i v architektuře v období raného novověku. Na jednotlivých příkladech obrazů či ilustrací prezentuje různé aspekty alchymistova života i jeho práce. Nezabývá se symbolickou alchymickou ikonografií, ale zaměří se především na zobrazování prostředí a vybavení alchymických dílen i osobností samotných alchymistů. Soustředí se zejména na vyobrazení zařízení alchymických laboratorií, s nimiž se lze setkat jak u renesančních malířů, tak v ilustracích alchymických rukopisů a poměrně ojediněle i v české architektuře. Poskytuje (...) také pohled na vyobrazení vzniklá v souvislosti s literární kritikou alchymie. Alchymisté byli zejména v dílech předních evropských humanistů často záměrně zesměšňováni, kritizováni a označováni za blázny a zloděje. V závěru se zabývá vybranými příklady ze žánrového umění, kde byli rovněž alchymisté zobrazováni často satiricky, ale i s určitou úctou, jako vzdělaní učenci. Výtvarné umění raného novověku nám představuje různé aspekty života alchymistů a je v dnešní době jednou z možností, jak se přiblížit porozumění jejich vědeckým aktivitám. Jak však studie ukazuje, k těmto obrazovým materiálům je třeba přistupovat kriticky. (shrink)
Zájem současné sociologie a dalších společenských věd o výzkumy spokojenosti a štěstí zatemňuje skutečnost, že původně právě sociologie chtěla „štěstí" poskytovat a nahrazovat tak náboženské přístupy ke světu. Tento implicitně nábo- ženský charakter je patrný i v rané české sociologii v dílech prvních propagátorů sociologie, jako byl především Emanuel Makovička, a později u některých následovníků a epigonů T. G. Masaryka, v meziválečném období zejména u Ladislava Kunteho, R. I. Malého, Alexandra Sommera-Batěka, Jindřicha Fleischnera a Jana Duška. Z hlediska vývoje české (...) sociologie šlo o zcela okrajové postavy, ačkoli mnohé z nich vynikly v jiných oblastech, jako celek jsou nicméně vyjádřením jednoho z aspektů dobových teoretických úvah o společnosti, jejím uspořádání a vývoji, na který by nemělo být zapomínáno. Zatímco T. G. Masaryka a pozdější akademické sociology „omezoval" vědecký charakter jejich práce, a i pokud směřovali k sociálnímu reformismu, oddělovali jej od teoretické sociologie, „sociologie vedoucí ke štěstí" nalezla plné uplatnění ve vizích a ambiciózních projek- tech těchto amatérských takésociologů - třebaže skončily faktickými nezdary nebo ani nedošly praktického naplnění, ostatně stejně jako v případě jejich pravzoru, Comtova pozitivistického apoštolátu. (shrink)
contents -/- ONT vol 1 i. short review: Beyond the Black Rainbow ii. as you die, hold one thought iii. short review: LA JETÉE -/- ONT vol 2 i. maya means ii. short review: SANS SOLEIL iii. vocab iv. eros has an underside v. short review: In the Mood for Love -/- ONT vol 3 i. weed weakens / compels me ii. an Ender's Game after-party iii. playroom is a realm of the dead iv. a precise german History v. short (...) review: STATUES ALSO DIE vi. Kenneth Clark, curator for Fascism vii. a protest poem, in industry lit viii. Lawrence and the English Romance -/- ONT vol 4 i. short review: The Eyes of Tammy Faye ii. vR is efficient R iii. all thru Asia, robes for monks iv. same of God, and of the one God sent v. i thought of the Messiah / muse would be vi. conscience is strong vii. a monk's exalted end -/- ONT vol 5 -/- i. for Shakespeare's Richard the Third ii. the truth is i pass over so many words iii. the boori nazar / nadhar iv. i've awe for jihaad v. short review: Hail, Caesar! vi. a minute of Nothing, gone from YouTube vii. we were rivalrous friends, again viii. my bardo pdf ix. within i'm a weak old mandarin -/- ONT vol 6 i. short review: The Intern ii. the confusion of Chinatown iii. we'll remember water, in Theology iv. Respironics versus ResMed v. i'd bet my life for what vi. the Mad Max deity vii. they'd kill my rat, not heal him -/- ONT vol 7 i. Austen would eroticize all life ii. Merchant/Ivory, a name oddly right iii. Ellie Arroway / Agent Starling iv. abattoir / l’abattoir / laboratoire v. von Neumann's brain an anomaly vi. was terrified of death, delighted in the a-bomb vii. the Greatest Brain is variously named -/- ONT vol 8 i. the day they shot the sacrifice ii. Yay or Nay, on Animal Testing iii. an ought is an is / an is is an ought iv. Behaviorism is for zombies v. a finding from the neuro-lab, on empathy vi. i’ve never had discernible abs vii. a cowardice i'm assenting to perpetually -/- ONT vol 9 i. Day of the Locust / Triffids ii. we're wide on a Paramount soundstage iii. HOLLYWOOD, an ecologic history iv. yet one more site of end-time art v. he's "a bookworm with bulging lobes" vi. apartment is my state of being apart vii. enlightenment means a weight's release -/- ONT lates and xtras i. re Gödel's ontological argument ii. deep in pi's numeric noise iii. from Nothing, something iv. endless in the wrong direction, tragic v. they give you all Eternity to answer vi. what of God's mercy? vii. informed consent and prayer viii. i won't live on. a deed i've done may ix. my selective memory x. Janus means: in close-up foam, two faces xi. a liveable world is a readable world xii. what Supervenes from this? xiii. at each extreme our naming is anachronism xiv. Cat is a collapsing of the wave-function xv. diminishing returns in the history of Experiment xvi. all those undershared Nobels xvii. ice preserves the Cold from heat xviii. a desert spreads xix. Pinker's wit, on jokes xx. Rome surrounds St. Paul / Paul is now the center xxi. each is a gathering Ministry xxii. white boy shot execution-style xxiii. the McDonald's Statement of Claim xxiv. first & last: Don Quixote / Ulysses xxv. The Summer of Rave xxvi. this electro is intrinsically anonymous xxvii. all thru Asia, Drake-Rihanna xxviii. WHO IS BETTER: PLATON OR KANT? (shrink)
As belief in the reality of race as a biological category among U.S. anthropologists has fallen, belief in the reality of race as a social category has risen in its place. The view that race simply does not exist—that it is a myth—is treated with suspicion. While racial classification is linked to many of the worst evils of recent history, it is now widely believed to be necessary to fight back against racism. In this article, I argue that race is (...) indeed a biological fiction, but I critique the claim that race is socially real. I defend a form of anti‐realist reconstructionism about race, which says that there are no races, only racialized groups—groups mistakenly believed to be races. I argue that this is the most attractive position about race from a metaphysical perspective, and that it is also the position most conductive to public understanding and social justice. (shrink)
Using as a springboard a three-way debate between theoretical physicist Lee Smolin, philosopher of science Nancy Cartwright and myself, I address in layman’s terms the issues of why we need a unified theory of the fundamental interactions and why, in my opinion, string and M-theory currently offer the best hope. The focus will be on responding more generally to the various criticisms. I also describe the diverse application of string/M-theory techniques to other branches of physics and mathematics which render the (...) whole enterprise worthwhile whether or not “a theory of everything” is forthcoming. (shrink)