In this rare firsthand account of an individual's pursuit of sagehood, the early Ming dynasty scholar and teacher Wu Yubi chronicles his progress and his setbacks, as he strives to integrate the Neo-Confucian practices of self-examination and self-cultivation into everyday life. In more than three hundred entries, spanning much of his adult life, Wu paints a vivid picture, not only of the life of the mind, but also of the life of a teacher of modest means, struggling to make ends (...) meet in a rural community. This volume features M. Theresa Kelleher's superb translation of Wu's journal, along with translations of more than a dozen letters from his personal correspondence. A general Introduction discusses Neo-Confucianism and the Ming dynasty, and includes biographical information that puts the main work in context. A substantial commentary on the journal discusses the obstacles and supports Wu encounters in pursuit of his goal, the conflict between discipline and restraint of the self and the nurturing and expanding of the self, Wu's successes and failures, and Wu’s role as a teacher. Also included are a map of the Ming dynasty, a pronunciation guide, a chronology of Chinese dynasties, a glossary of names, a glossary of book titles, and suggestions for further reading. (shrink)
abstract Mou Zongsan used to say that in Western philosophy there exist three different traditions. The first is the tradition of Plato and Aristoteles, the second is the tradition of Kant and Hegel, and the last is the tradition of Leibniz and Russell. I am afraid, however, that this kind of interpretation is already outdated and incapable of encompassing the rich variegations of Western philosophy as a whole. In my view, the various options would have been exhausted by supplementing the (...) preceding list with the tradition founded by Husserl and Heidegger and the one set up by Whitehead. All of these traditions together encapsulate the most important domains of philosophy, such as ontology, epistemology, and axiology. In this article I closely investigate the epistemological thought of Bertrand Russell in order to find out whether it contains any aspects from which we can borrow and learn. (shrink)
In classical Chinese philosophy, the best kind of life is a life lived in line with the Dao (the “Way”). A core feature of this kind of life is attaining the ideal of wu-wei. In early Daoist writings, wu-wei denotes an ideal way of acting. However, since wu-wei is normally translated as “no-action” these ancient texts give us a picture of the best kind of life that may appear paradoxical to many philosophers. In this paper, I suggest a way to (...) make sense of this classical ideal. I argue that by applying a Merleau-Pontyian framework of action we can arrive at a non-paradoxical reading of wu-wei. On this reading, wu-wei is essentially manifested in a specific way we are aware of what we are doing. (shrink)
The main purpose of this paper is to bring out some significant humanistic characteristics of Chinese religious thought. My account is limited to what is originally and typically Chinese. That is to say, it will exclude what has been influenced by Buddhism from India or Christianity from the Western world. Some of the theses of this paper are based on scholarly works, while others are drawn from the author's primary experience.
This essay attempts to provide an alternative approach to the philosophy of religion through a new interpretation of Daoist philosophy in light of Husserl’s phenomenology. I argue that Lao-Zhuang’s wu-wei should be understood as a reduction of our existential and conceptual beliefs about the reality of this world. In Lao-Zhuang, wu-wei is related to the theme of decentering of the subject. In order to be a true self, we have to make space at the core of our being for Dao (...) to appear. The authentic selfhood is constituted in its correctrelation to Dao. In Daoist philosophy of religion, the center of gravity in the relation between Dao and the world is shifted from this world to Dao, and the problematic in the philosophy of religion is displaced from a truth-oriented issue to a receptivity issue. (shrink)
In defense of anti-essentialism, pragmatist Richard Rorty holds that we may think of all objects as if they were numbers. I find that Rorty’s metaphysics hinges on two rather weak arguments against the essences of numbers. In contrast, Plato’s metaphysics offers a plausible definition of essentiality by which numbers do have essential properties. Further, I argue that Rorty’s argumentative mistake is mischaracterizing Plato’s definition. I conclude that Plato’s definition of “essential” is a robust one which implies that many properties, beyond (...) those we might intuitively think of, can count as essential properties of objects. (shrink)
In the eighth century, Wu Jing selected exchanges between Emperor Taizong and his ministers that he deemed key to good governance. This collection of dialogues has been used for the education of emperors, political elites and general readers ever since, and is a standard reference work in East Asian political thought. Consisting of ten volumes, subdivided into forty topics, The Essentials of Governance addresses core themes of Chinese thinking about the politics of power, from the body politic, presenting and receiving (...) criticism, recruitment, the education of the imperial clan, political virtues and vices, to cultural policy, agriculture, law, taxation, border policy, and how to avoid disaster and dynastic fall. Presented with introductory commentary that offers insights into its historical context and global reception, this accessible and reliable translation brings together ten scholars of Chinese intellectual history to offer a nuanced edition that preserves the organisation, tone and flow of the original. (shrink)