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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.
A Comparative Theology for the Democracy of Creation
We live in an increasingly global, interconnected, and interdependent world, in which various forms of systemic imbalance in power have given birth to a growing demand for genuine pluralism and democracy. As befits a world so interconnected, this book presents a comparative theological and philosophical attempt to construct new underpinnings for the idea of democracy by bringing the Western concept of spirit into dialogue with the East Asian nondualistic and nonhierarchical notion of qi. The book follows the historical adventures of the idea of qi through some of its Confucian and Daoist textual histories in East Asia, mainly Laozi, Zhu Xi, Toegye, Nongmun, and Su-un, and compares them with analogous conceptualizations of the ultimate creative and spiritual power found in the intellectual constellations of Western and/or Christian thought namely, Whitehead's Creativity, Hegel's Geist, Deleuze's chaosmos, and Catherine Keller's Tehom. The book adds to the growing body of pneumatocentric (Spirit-centered), panentheistic Christian theologies that emphasize God's liberating, equalizing, and pluralizing immanence in the cosmos. Furthermore, it injects into the theological and philosophical dialogue between the West and Confucian and Daoist East Asia, which has heretofore been dominated by the American pragmatist and process traditions, a fresh voice shaped by Hegelian, postmodern, and postcolonial thought. This enriches the ways in which the pluralistic and democratic implications of the notion of qi may be articulated. In addition, by offering a valuable introduction to some representative Korean thinkers who are largely unknown to Western scholars, the book advances the study of East Asia and Neo-Confucianism in particular. Last but not least, the book provides a model of Asian contextual theology that draws on the religious and philosophical resources of East Asia to offer a vision of pluralism and democracy. A reader interested in the conversation between the East and West in light of the global reality of political oppression, economic exploitation, and cultural marginalization will find this book informative, engaging, and enlightening
Contemporary Theories and Applications
A consideration of Confucian ethics as a living ethical tradition with contemporary relevance. This thought-provoking work presents Confucianism as a living ethical tradition with contemporary relevance. While acknowledged as one of the world’s most influential philosophies, Confucianism’s significance is too often consigned to a historical or solely East Asian context. Discussing both the strengths and weaknesses of Confucian ethics, the volume’s contributors reflect on what this tradition offers that we cannot readily learn from other systems of ethics. Developing Confucian ethical ideas within a contemporary context, this work discusses the nature of virtue, the distinction between public and private, the value of spontaneity, the place of sympathy in moral judgment, what it means to be humane, how to handle competing values, and the relationship between trust and democracy. For all those concerned with ethics, this book offers both new perspectives and resources for the ongoing consideration of how we should live.
Een weg van Oost naar West?
Deze visionaire uitspraak van Napoleon I lijkt actueler dan ooit. China is ‘in'. Niet alleen het numerieke overwicht van de Chinezen in de wereldbevolking, maar vooral de enorme economische expansie en de voorzichtige politieke openheid in China maken dat het Westen ‘plots' de Chinese realiteit heeft ontdekt. Om de Chinezen en hun traditionele leefwijzen beter te doorgronden heeft men ook in toenemende mate belangstelling voor de Chinese cultuur. Het confucianisme, taoïsme en andere bronnen van Oosterse wijsheid worden stilaan ontdaan van de esoterie die er vroeger rond hing in het Westen, en beetje bij beetje wordt de intrinsieke waarde ontdekt van de Oosterse cultuurtradities. Taoïsme, een weg van Oost naar West? wil een bijdrage leveren aan de vruchtbare interactie tussen het Oosterse en het Westerse denken, zonder in simplismen of veralgemeningen te vervallen. Kan ons Westers rationaliteitsbegrip (de logos) worden gehanteerd binnen de context van het taoïsme? Kunnen wij Westerlingen deze Oosterse filosofie verstaan met het begrippenapparaat dat ons eigen is? Na een inleidende reflectie op de interacties tussen Oost en West door Sander Griffioen, gaan de auteurs van deze bundel in op drie grote vragen. Patricia De Martelaere onderzoekt hoe het taoïsme kan worden gevat in de (Westerse) termen van het Goede, het Schone en het Ware. Carine Defoort gaat in op de taoïstische wijsheidsliteratuur en zoekt aanknopingspunten met de Westerse wijsheid. Lloyd Haft, ten slotte, gaat dieper in op de vraag of en hoe het Oosterse begrippenapparaat kan functioneren in de vertaling van het Westerse cultuurgoed. De teksten van Carine Defoort, Patricia De Martelaere en Lloyd Haft zijn herwerkte versies van de lezing die zij presenteerden ter gelegenheid van Studiedag 2007 van het Wijsgerig Gezelschap Leuven.
This is the first book-length treatment in English of Three Kingdoms (Sanguo yanyi), often regarded as China’s first great classical novel. Set in the historical period of the disunion (220–280 AD), Three Kingdoms fuses history and popular tradition to create a sweeping epic of heroism and political ambition. The essays in this volume explore the multifarious connections between Three Kingdoms and Chinese culture from a variety of disciplines, including history, literature, philosophy, art history, theater, cultural studies, and communications, demonstrating the diversity of backgrounds against which this novel can be studied. Some of the most memorable episodes and figures in Chinese literature appear within its pages, and Three Kingdoms has had a profound influence on personal, social, and political behavior, even language usage, in the daily life of people in China today. The novel has inspired countless works of theater and art, and, more recently, has been the source for movies and a television series. Long popular in other countries of East Asia, such as Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, Three Kingdoms has also been introduced to younger generations around the globe through a series of extremely popular computer games. This study helps create a better understanding of the work’s unique place in Chinese culture.
Buddhist Reflection on Realizing a More Equitable Global Future
Uses Buddhist philosophy to discuss diversity as a value, one that can contribute to equity in a globalizing world. Diversity matters. Whether in the context of ecosystems, education, the workplace, or politics, diversity is now recognized as a fact and as something to be positively affirmed. But what is the value of diversity? What explains its increasing significance? Valuing Diversity is a groundbreaking response to these questions and to the contemporary global dynamics that make them so salient. Peter D. Hershock examines the changes of the last century to show how the successes of Western-style modernity and industrially-powered markets have, ironically, coupled progressive integration and interdependence with the proliferation of political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental differences. Global predicaments like climate change and persistent wealth inequalities compel recognition that we are in the midst of an era-defining shift from the primacy of the technical to that of the ethical. Yet, neither modern liberalism nor its postmodern critiques have offered the resources needed to address such challenges. Making use of Buddhist and ecological insights, Valuing Diversity develops a qualitatively rich conception of diversity as an emerging value and global relational commons, forwarding an ethics of interdependence and responsive virtuosity that opens prospects for a paradigm shift in our pursuits of equity, freedom, and democratic justice.
Cultural and Philosophical Reflections
Explores how Xu Bing and other contemporary Chinese artists use Western ideas within a Chinese cultural discourse. 'How Chinese is contemporary Chinese art? Treasured by collectors, critics, and art world cognoscenti, this art developed within an avant-garde that looked West to find a language to strike out against government control. Traditionally, Chinese artistic expression has been related to the structure and function of the Chinese language and the assumptions of Chinese natural cosmology. Is contemporary Chinese art rooted in these traditions or is it an example of cultural self-colonization? Contributors to this volume address this question, going beyond the more obvious political and social commentaries on contemporary Chinese art to find resonances between contemporary artistic ideas and the indigenous sources of Chinese cultural self-understanding. Focusing in particular on the acclaimed artist Xu Bing, this book looks at how he and his peers have navigated between two different cultural sites to establish a third place, a place from which to appropriate Western ideas and use them to address centuries-old Chinese cultural issues within a Chinese cultural discourse.
Classical Commentary and Literati Activism in the Northern Song Period, 960-1127
This book is the first comprehensive study of Yijing (Book of Changes) commentary during the Northern Song period, showing how it reflects a coming to terms with major political and social changes. Seen as a transitional period in China’s history, the Northern Song (960–1127) is often described as the midpoint in the Tang-Song transition or as the beginning of Song-Ming Neo-Confucianism. Challenging this traditional view, Tze-ki Hon demonstrates the complexity of the Northern Song by breaking it into three periods characterized by, alternately, the reestablishment of civil governance, large-scale reforms, and a descent into factional rivalry. To illustrate the distinct characteristics of these three periods, Hon compares commentaries by Hu Yuan, Zhang Zai, and Cheng Yi with five other Yijing commentaries, highlighting the broad parameters, as well as the specific content, of an extremely important world of discourse—the debate on literati activism. These differing views on the literati’s role in civil governance prove how lively, diverse, and intense Northern Song intellectual life was, while also reminding us how important it is to understand the history of the period on its own terms.