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Learning to Emulate the Wise

The Genesis of Chinese Philosophy as an Academic Discipline in Twentieth-Century China

Edited by John Makeham

Publication Year: 2012

Learning to Emulate the Wise is the first book of a three-volume series that constructs a historically informed, multidisciplinary framework to examine how traditional Chinese knowledge systems and grammars of knowledge construction interacted with Western paradigms in the formation and development of modern academic disciplines in China. Within this volume, John Makeham and several other noted sinologists and philosophers explore how the field of "Chinese philosophy" (Zhongguo Zhexue) was born and developed in the early decades of the twentieth century, examining its growth and relationship with European, American, and Japanese scholarship and philosophy. The work discusses an array of representative institutions and individuals, including FengYoulan, Fu Sinian, Hu Shi, Jin Yuelin, Liang Shuming, Nishi Amane, Tang Yongtong, Xiong Shili, Zhang Taiyan, and a range of Marxist philosophers. The epilogue discusses the intellectual-historical significance of these figures and throws into relief how Zhongguozhexue is understood today.

Published by: Chinese University Press

Half Title Page

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pp. 1-2

Title Page

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p. 3-3


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p. 4-4


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pp. 5-6

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pp. vii-viii

I am grateful to all colleagues contributing to this volume; to Leigh Jenco, for constructive critical feedback on the draft Introduction; and to the two readers for the Press who provided frank and valuable advice about how to improve the volume. ...


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pp. ix-x

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About the Series

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pp. xi-xii

The series is the principal outcome of three annual workshops held in Canberra, Beijing and Hong Kong between 2007 and 2009 on the topic of “the Formation and Development of Academic Disciplines in Twentieth-Century China.” Our aim in these workshops was to construct a historically informed multidisciplinary framework ...

List of Contributors

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pp. xiii-xvi

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pp. 1-36

This volume is an inquiry into how “Chinese philosophy” (Zhongguo zhexue) became an academic discipline in China in the early decades of the twentieth century. We seek to show how Chinese philosophy was conceived and shaped in the course of its early development. ...

Part I. From Philosophy to Zhexue

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pp. 37-38

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1. Nishi Amane and the Birth of “Philosophy” and “Chinese Philosophy” in Early Meiji Japan

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pp. 39-72

This chapter examines the early stage of the establishment of Western learning in Japan in the Meiji period (1868–1912) to explore how the concepts of “philosophy” and “Chinese philosophy,” both as traditions of thought and as modern fields of learning, arose through the interaction between Western and Confucian concepts. ...

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2. The Role of Masters Studies in the Early Formation of Chinese Philosophy as an Academic Discipline

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pp. 73-102

This chapter examines the role played by one particular traditional Chinese category of knowledge in the early formation of Chinese philosophy as an academic discipline. In the translation of traditional categories of Chinese knowledge to modern categories of disciplinary knowledge, the writings of the pre-Qin masters (zhuzi)1 ...

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3. Zhang Taiyan, Yogācāra Buddhism, and Chinese Philosophy

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pp. 103-128

Historians generally describe Zhang Binglin (Taiyan; 1869– 1936) as an anti-Manchu revolutionary and treat his Buddhism as subordinate to this larger political project. Far less commonly understood is Zhang’s role in preparing the groundwork for the establishment of Chinese philosophy as an academic discipline.1 ...

Part II. The Beida and Tsinghua Schools of Philosophy

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pp. 129-130

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4. Developing the Academic Discipline of Chinese Philosophy: The Departments of Philosophy at Peking, Tsinghua, and Yenching Universities (1910s–1930s)

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pp. 131-162

This chapter examines how institutional influences affected the writings of modern philosophers such as Hu Shi (1891–1962) and Feng Youlan (1895–1990), as well as their colleagues Jin Yuelin (1895– 1984), He Lin (1902–1992), Xiong Shili (1885–1968), and Zhang Dongsun (1886–1973), among others. ...

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5. Hu Shi and the Search for System

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pp. 163-186

This chapter argues that intellectual historian Hu Shi (1891–1962) presented pre-Qin masters (zi) writings as the foundational texts of Chinese philosophy in his The Development of the Logical Method in Ancient China and Zhongguo zhexueshi dagang [An outline of the history of Chinese philosophy]. ...

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6. Introducing Buddhism as Philosophy: The Cases of Liang Shuming, Xiong Shili, and Tang Yongtong

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pp. 187-216

The early-twentieth century saw the introduction of Buddhist studies into the Chinese academic world. For the most part, this occurred in the philosophy departments of the newly established universities. The subsequent academic discourse on Buddhism was a great challenge to the traditional teachings of the monasteries. ...

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7. Daoism as Academic Philosophy: Feng Youlan’s New Metaphysics (Xin lixue)

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pp. 217-236

In this chapter, “academic philosophy” is understood in a sociological sense. In other words, it is considered to be institutionalized philosophical communication within a specific social organization, namely modern academia, or, to use a more common term, the modern university. ...

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8. Jin Yuelin’s Ambivalent Status as a “Chinese Philosopher”

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pp. 237-272

Jin Yuelin (1895–1984) was a leading Republican-era philosopher.1 Belonging to the first wave of scholars returning from the United States, he was a pioneer in the formation of logic and philosophy as academic disciplines in China. He established the Philosophy Department at Tsinghua (Qinghua) University in 1926 ...

Part III. The Critics’ Voices

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pp. 273-274

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9. Fu Sinian’s Views on Philosophy, Ancient Chinese Masters, and Chinese Philosophy

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pp. 275-310

“China did not originally have a so-called philosophy. Thank god our people had such healthy habits.”2 This provocative statement, made by Fu Sinian (1896–1950) in a letter to a good friend, shows the young author in all his self-confidence, originality, and vigour. ...

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10. Marxist Views on Traditional Chinese Philosophy Pre-1949

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pp. 311-346

At the beginning of the twentieth century, discussions arose regarding the appropriate methodology to be applied in the historiography of Chinese philosophy. Were Western categories suitable to describe Chinese traditions? More specifically: Could dao be equated with the Western term “philosophy”?2 ...

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Epilogue: Inner Logic, Indigenous Grammars and the Identity of Zhongguo zhexue

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pp. 347-372

The views of the scholars examined in this volume are not only of intellectual-historical significance—they also throw into relief how “Zhongguo zhexue” is understood today. In this Epilogue, I argue that whereas earlier generations of internal participants in the formation of Chinese philosophy as an academic discipline ...


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pp. 373-398

E-ISBN-13: 9789629969004
Print-ISBN-13: 9789629964788

Page Count: 416
Illustrations: N
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: The Formation of Disciplines Series
Series Editor Byline: John Makeham