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Master Sorai's Responsals

An Annotated Translation of Sorai Sensei Tomonsho

Samuel H. Yamashita & Sorai Ogyu

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.

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Material Feminisms

Edited by Stacy Alaimo and Susan Hekman

Harnessing the energy of provocative theories generated by recent understandings of the human body, the natural world, and the material world, Material Feminisms presents an entirely new way for feminists to conceive of the question of materiality. In lively and timely essays, an international group of feminist thinkers challenges the assumptions and norms that have previously defined studies about the body. These wide-ranging essays grapple with topics such as the material reality of race, the significance of sexual difference, the impact of disability experience, and the complex interaction between nature and culture in traumatic events such as Hurricane Katrina. By insisting on the importance of materiality, this volume breaks new ground in philosophy, feminist theory, cultural studies, science studies, and other fields where the body and nature collide.

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Mortality in Traditional Chinese Thought

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.

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The Mutual Cultivation of Self and Things

A Contemporary Chinese Philosophy of the Meaning of Being

Translated by Chad Austin Meyers. Foreword by Hans-Georg Moeller. Yang Guorong

Yang Guorong is one of the most prominent Chinese philosophers working today and is best known for using the full range of Chinese philosophical resources in connection with the thought of Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Heidegger. In The Mutual Cultivation of Self and Things, Yang grapples with the philosophical problem of how the complexly interwoven nature of things and being relates to human nature, values, affairs, and facts, and ultimately creates a world of meaning. Yang outlines how humans might live more fully integrated lives on philosophical, religious, cultural, aesthetic, and material planes. This first English translation introduces current, influential work from China to readers worldwide.

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Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Daoist Thought

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.

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Nishi Amane and Modern Japanese Thought

Thomas R.H. Havens

A nineteenth-century aristocrat, Nishi Amane (1829-1897) was one of the first Japanese to assert the supremacy of Western culture. He was sent by his government to Leiden to study the European social sciences; on his return to Japan shortly before the climactic Meiji Restoration of 1868 he introduced and adapted European utilitarianism and positivism to his country’s intellectual world. To modernize, Nishi held, Japan must cast off the bonds of the Confucian world-view in order to adopt new principles of empirical scholarly investigation and new standards of self-improvement. Though a Confucian by upbringing, Nishi became thoroughly committed to Western intellectual values in his programs for the new Japanese society. In his roles of teacher, writer, and government administrator, he was influential at one of the most critical times in Japan’s history.

Originally published in 1970.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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Nishida Kitar's Chiasmatic Chorology

Place of Dialectic, Dialectic of Place

John W. M. Krummel

Nishida Kitar (1870–1945) is considered Japan's first and greatest modern philosopher. As founder of the Kyoto School, he began a rigorous philosophical engagement and dialogue with Western philosophical traditions, especially the work of G. W. F. Hegel. John W. M. Krummel explores the Buddhist roots of Nishida’s thought and places him in connection with Hegel and other philosophers of the Continental tradition. Krummel develops notions of self-awareness, will, being, place, the environment, religion, and politics in Nishida’s thought and shows how his ethics of humility may best serve us in our complex world.

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One and Many

A Comparative Study of Plato's Philosophy and Daoism Represented by Ge Hong

Ji Zhang

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.

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The Philosophical Challenge from China

Brian Bruya

For too long, analytic philosophy discounted insights from the Chinese philosophical tradition. In the last decade or so, however, philosophers have begun to bring the insights of Chinese thought to bear on current philosophical issues. This volume brings together leading scholars from East and West who are working at the intersection of traditional Chinese philosophy and mainstream analytic philosophy. They draw on the work of Chinese philosophers ranging from early Daoists and Confucians to twentieth-century Chinese thinkers, offering new perspectives on issues in moral psychology, political philosophy and ethics, and metaphysics and epistemology. Taken together, these essays show that serious engagement with Chinese philosophy can not only enrich modern philosophical discussion but also shift the debate in a meaningful way.Each essay challenges a current position in the philosophical literature -- including views expressed by John Rawls, Peter Singer, Nel Noddings, W. V. Quine, and Harry Frankfurt. The contributors discuss topics that include compassion as a developmental virtue, empathy, human worth and democracy, ethical self-restriction, epistemological naturalism, ideas of oneness, know-how, and action without agency. ContributorsStephen C. Angle, Tongdong Bai, Brian Bruya, Owen Flanagan, Steven Geisz, Stephen Hetherington, Philip J. Ivanhoe, Bo Mou, Donald J. Munro, Karyn L. Lai, Hagop Sarkissian, Bongrae Seok, Kwong-loi Shun, David B. Wong, Brook A. Ziporyn

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Philosophy and Argumentation in Third-Century China

The Essays of Hsi K'ang

His K'ang

A valuable source of information on third-century Chinese argumentation and thought, the essays are eloquent, clear, and to the point; humorous at times; philosophically subtle; and psychologically perceptive. They treat matters of perennial concern--immortality, the nature of morality, the relation of music to emotion--and should be of interest to specialist and nonspecialist alike.

Originally published in 1983.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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