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Huai-nan Tzu

Philosophical Synthesis in Early Han Thought

Charles Le Blanc

Publication Year: 1985

The present study emphasizes Chapter Six of Huai-nan Tzu in expounding the theory of kan-ying STIMULUS-RESPONSE; RESONANCE, which postulates that all things in the universe are interrelated and influence each other according to pre-set patterns.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU

Front matter

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pp. vi-vii

The first is Derk Bodde, Professor Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania. He read with his habitual acuity the drafts of the Ph.D. thesis from which this book derives and offered many helpful comments, both on form and contents, which have been incorporated therein. My debt to him goes well beyond the strict limits of Huainan Tzu studies...


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pp. viii-ix

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pp. x-xiv

At first sight the saying seems an impressive expression of universality. On further thought, however, one realizes that the term t'ien-hsia, 'all-under-Heaven', was less than truly universalistic when it was used two thousand years ago. First of all, its connotations at that time were overwhelmingly human. T'ien-hsia then meant, for most Chinese, primarily...

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pp. 1-18

When Liu An 劉安, King of Huai-nan 准南(179?-122 BC), paid his state visit to Emperor Wu 武 (r. 141-87 BC), he presented him, as a token of esteem, with a book in twenty-one chapters that had ‘just recently been completed'.1 The Emperor treasured the work and had it placed in his private library. As...

Part One. Historical and Textual Studies

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Chapter 1. Liu An and the Authorship of Huai-nan Tzu

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pp. 21-52

A full biography of Liu An would deserve an independent study of major proportions. Generally speaking, Han sources describe three aspects of Liu An's life and personality: firstly , the thinker, writer, and patron of learning; secondly, the political leader, who allegedly attempted rebellion again...

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Chapter 2. The Transmission of Huai-nan Tzu

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pp. 53-69

While admitting that a work called Huai-nan Tzu was effectively written by Liu An and his scholar-retainers in the mid-second century BC, do we have reasonable grounds to believe that it was transmitted faithfully over a period of more than two thousand years? Were there any significant...

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Chapter 3. Han Commentaries on Huai-nan Tzu

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pp. 71-77

In his Preface to Huai-nan Tzu, 2a, Kao informs us that ‘ the text was collated and established' (chiao-ting chuan chü 枝走撰具) by Liu Hsiang. The latter's son, Liu Hsin, presumably transmitted this first critical edition to his follower, Chia K'uei...

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Chapter 4. The Sources of Huai-nan Tzu

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pp. 79-98

A close study of the composition of Huai-nan Tzu reveals massive borrowing from earlier sources. Approximately onethird of the text derives directly from more than twenty pre-Han works belonging to a wide variety of philosophical schools and literary genres....

Part Two. Translation and Interpretation

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Chapter V. Translation of Huai-nan Tzu 6 and Commentary

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pp. 101-189

The numbers in the margin of the translation correspond to the page and column of the Liu Wen-tien edition. The Chinese text of Huai-nan Tzu 6, with critical emendations, is appended at the end of the present study (pp. 211-5)....

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Chapter VI. The Idea of Kan-Ying in Huai-nan Tzu

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pp. 191-206

At first reading, it would seem that Chapter Six exhibits, in miniature, the confusion and lack of unity scholars such as Hou Wai-lu 侯外廣 found in Huai-nan Tzu as a whole. One cannot help being struck by the lexical, syntactic and stylistic difficulty of the text. The connection of successive literary units appears obscure, if not non-existent. It is perhaps no...

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pp. 207-210

The cosmological texts we have examined intend to describe how (descriptive cosmology) the world is rather than why (explicative cosmology) it is so. According to the Huai-nan Tzu Weltanschauung, the world as we perceive it is the spontaneous outcome of a natural process. Naturalness (tzu-jan) is all at once inherent in the objective cosmological...

Appendix 1. Critical Chinese Text of Huai-nan Tzu 6

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pp. 211-215

Appendix 2. Chinese Dynasties: Traditional Chronology

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pp. 216


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pp. 217-239


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pp. 240-253

E-ISBN-13: 9789882201798
Print-ISBN-13: 9789622091795

Page Count: 268
Publication Year: 1985