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The Genesis of Chinese Philosophy as an Academic Discipline in Twentieth-Century China
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.
Of the many eccentric figures in Japanese Zen, the Soto Zen master Tosui Unkei (d. 1683) is surely among the most colorful and extreme. Variously compared to Ryokan and Francis of Assisi, Tosui has been called "the original hippie." After many grueling years of Zen study and the sanction of a distinguished teacher, Tosui abandoned the religious establishment and became a drifter. The arresting details of Tosui's life were recorded in the Tribute (Tosui osho densan), a lively and colloquial account written by the celebrated scholar and Soto Zen master Menzan Zuiho. Menzan concentrates on Tosui's years as a beggar and laborer, recounting episodes from an unorthodox life while at the same time opening a new window on seventeenth-century Japan. The Tribute is translated here for the first time, accompanied by woodblock prints commissioned for the original 1768 edition. Peter Haskel's introduction places Tosui in the context of the Japanese Zen of his period--a time when the identities of early modern Zen schools were still being formed and a period of spiritual crisis for many distinguished monks who believed that the authentic Zen transmission had long ceased to exist. A biographical addendum offers a detailed overview of Tosui's life in light of surviving premodern sources.
While influential works have been devoted to comparative studies of various Asian philosophies and continental philosophers such as Nietzsche, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Derrida, this collection is the first to fully treat the increased interest in intercultural and interdisciplinary studies related to the work of Emmanuel Levinas in such a context. Levinas and Asian Thought seeks to discover common ground between Levinas’s ethical project and various religious and philosophical traditions of Asia such as Mahāyāna Buddhism, Theravādic Buddhism, Vedism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Islam. In these 13 essays, contributors draw on resources as diverse as the self-sacrificial ethic of bushidō, Islamic jurisprudence, and contemporary research in cognitive science. The essays are organized around three primary themes of enduring ethical, political, and religious importance. The first set of essays considers a dialogue between Levinasian and Asian accounts of the self, others, and the intersubjective relationship. Through a conversation with a variety of non-Western traditions, the second group of essays addresses the question of Levinas’s extreme portrayal of the self’s responsibility to the other and its potential limits. Finally, the collection ends with essays that utilize Asian thought and culture to consider ways in which Levinas’s ethics of alterity might be put into practice in the sphere of politics, social norms, and institutions. Levinas and Asian Thought is not only a comprehensive attempt to bring Levinas into conversation with the philosophies of Asia, but it also represents a focused effort to recognize, address, and overcome Levinas’s own Eurocentrism. Overall, the thoughtful investigations collected here chart new territory, pushing Levinas’s practice of philosophy outside its familiar European and Jewish contexts, expanding our understanding of key Levinasian terms, thus furthering the thinking necessary for ethics as first philosophy. This volume will be of interest to a wide range of scholars and students, as it builds connections among Levinas studies, Asian philosophy, comparative philosophy, continental philosophy, and ethics.
An Annotated Translation of Sorai Sensei Tomonsho
Master Sorai's Responsals was to eighteenth-century Japan what The Prince was to Renaissance Italy. Like Machiavelli, Ogyu Sorai (1666-1728) was a humanist scholar who served a prince (one of the shogun's chief lieutenants) and drew on his experiences as a house philosopher and on his vast knowledge of history and political affairs in his work. In 1720, when he began to write the letters that comprise this text, the Tokugawa regime was more than a hundred years old and beset with grave administrative and fiscal problems, about which Sorai had much to say.Samuel Yamashita's impressive translation of this work offers modern readers a rare glimpse of the prevailing political discourse of the day and the specific concepts that rulers had at their disposal as they struggled to manage their domains, find talented men for their bureaucracies, create new sources of revenue, and keep their subjects well fed and happy.Sorai himself, of course, is a presence in the text. He is by tunes earnest, frank, impatient, utterly confident, and occasionally condescending. Unlike his Renaissance counterpart, he is something of an optimist: he was convinced that the introduction of archaic Chinese culture and institutions to Japan would solve its myriad problems.Well-versed in Chinese history, philosophy, religion, medicine, and belles lettres, Sorai holds forth on everything from archaic Chinese divination to Sung poetry and prose. He offers advice on how to become a Confucian gentleman, how to learn to read classical Chinese, and which books to read and which to avoid. He even discusses his belief in a sentient, Chinese-style "heaven," a topic not well understood by modern scholars. Long regarded as one of Sorai's best works, Master Sorai's Reponsals bristles with the sharp and clear opinions of the most influential thinker of Tokugawa Japan.
Mortality in Traditional Chinese Thought
A wide-ranging exploration of traditional Chinese views of mortality.Mortality in Traditional Chinese Thought is the definitive exploration of a complex and fascinating but little-understood subject. Arguably, death as a concept has not been nearly as central a preoccupation in Chinese culture as it has been in the West. However, even in a society that seems to understand death as a part of life, responses to mortality are revealing and indicate much about what is valued and what is feared. This edited volume fills the lacuna on this subject, presenting an array of philosophical, artistic, historical, and religious perspectives on death during a variety of historical periods. Contributors look at material culture, including findings now available from the Mawangdui tomb excavations; consider death in Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist traditions; and discuss death and the history and philosophy of war.
Crossing Paths In-Between
In this book, Katrin Froese juxtaposes the Daoist texts of Laozi and Zhuangzi with the thought of Nietzsche and Heidegger to argue that there is a need for rethinking the idea of a cosmological whole. By moving away from the quest for certainty, Froese suggests a way of philosophizing that does not seek to capture the whole, but rather becomes a means of affirming a connection to it, one that celebrates difference rather than eradicating it. Human beings have a vague awareness of the infinite, but they are nevertheless finite beings. Froese maintains that rather than bemoaning the murkiness of knowledge, the thinkers considered here celebrate the creativity and tendency to wander through that space of not knowing, or “in-between-ness.” However, for Neitzsche and the early Heidegger, this in-between-ness can often produce a sense of meaninglessness that sends individuals on a frenetic quest to mark out space that is uniquely their own. Laozi and Zhuangzi, on the other hand, paint a portrait of the self that provides openings for others rather than deliberately forging an identity that it can claim as its own. In this way, human beings can become joyful wanderers that revel in the movements of the Dao and are comfortable with their own finitude. Froese also suggests that Nietzsche and Heidegger are philosophers at a crossroads, for they both exemplify the modern emphasis on self-creation and at the same time share the Daoist insight into the perils of excessive egoism that can lead to misguided attempts to master the world.
A Comparative Study of Plato's Philosophy and Daoism Represented by Ge Hong
Is the world one or many? Ji Zhang revisits this ancient philosophical question from the modern perspective of comparative studies. His investigation stages an intellectual exchange between Plato, founder of the Academy, and Ge Hong, who systematized Daoist belief and praxis. Zhang not only captures the tension between rational Platonism and abstruse Daoism, but also creates a bridge between the two.
Covert Shin Buddhists in Japan and Contradictions of Concealment
Shin has long been one of the most popular forms of Buddhism in Japan. As a devotional tradition that emphasizes gratitude and trust in Amida Buddha, it is thought to have little to do with secrecy. Yet for centuries, Shin Buddhists met on secluded mountains, in homes, and in the backrooms of stores to teach their hidden doctrines and hold clandestine rites. Among their adherents was D. T. Suzuki’s mother, who took her son to covert Shin meetings when he was a boy. Even among Shin experts, covert followers were relatively unknown; historians who studied them claimed they had disappeared more than a century ago. A serendipitous encounter, however, led to author Clark Chilson’s introduction to the leader of a covert Shin Buddhist group—one of several that to this day conceal the very existence of their beliefs and practices. In Secrecy’s Power Chilson explains how and why they have remained hidden. Drawing on historical and ethnographic sources, as well as fieldwork among covert Shin Buddhists in central Japan, Secrecy’s Power introduces the histories, doctrines, and practices of different covert Shin Buddhists. It shows how, despite assumptions to the contrary, secrecy has been a significant part of Shin’s history since the thirteenth century, when Shinran disowned his eldest son for claiming secret knowledge. The work also demonstrates how secrecy in Shin has long been both a source of conflict and a response to it. Some covert Shin Buddhists were persecuted because of their secrecy, while others used it to protect themselves from persecution under rulers hostile to Shin. Secrecy’s Power is a groundbreaking work that makes an important contribution to our knowledge on secrecy and Shin Buddhism. Organized around the various consequences concealment has had for covert Shin Buddhists, it provides new insights into the power of secrecy to produce multiple effects—even polar opposite ones. It also sheds light on ignored corners of Shin Buddhism to reveal a much richer, more diverse, and more contested tradition than commonly is understood.
Simone Weil’s philosophical and social thought during her short life (1909–1943) was intimately engaged with the nature of power and force, both human and natural, and the problems inherent in the use of force. Weil argued vehemently for pacifism, then moved toward a guarded acceptance of the use of force under very specific circumstances, in the context of the rise of Nazism. Ultimately she came to a nuanced and unique perspective on force and on the preservation of human dignity, in the aftermath of several profound mystical experiences during the last years of her life. E. Jane Doering carefully examines and analyzes the material in Weil’s notebooks and lesser-known essays to illuminate her evolving thought on violence, war, and injustice. In addition, Doering addresses Weil’s engagement with the Bhagavad Gita during her final years, a text that reoriented and enlightened Weil’s activist and intellectual search for moral value in a violent world. Apart from small excerpts, none of the four volumes of Weil's notebooks, only recently published in French, have been translated into English. Simone Weil and the Specter of Self-Perpetuating Force contains Doering's expert translations of numerous notebook entries. The book will interest Weil scholars, those in French studies, and those who explore interdisciplinary topics in philosophy, religious studies, history, and political science.