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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.
The Essays of Hsi 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.
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.
The Shih-shuo hsin-yu and Its Legacy
The Shih-shuo hsin-yu, conventionally translated as A New Account of Tales of the World, is one of the most significant works in the entire Chinese literary tradition. It established a genre (the Shih-shuo t'i) and inspired dozens of imitations from the later part of the Tang dynasty (618-907) to the early Republican era of the twentieth century. The Shih-shuo hsin-yu consists of more than a thousand historical anecdotes about elite life in the late Han dynasty and the Wei-Chin period (about A.D. 150-420).
Despite a general recognition of the place of the Shih-shuo hsin-yu in China's literary history (and to a lesser extent that of Japan), the genre itself has never been adequately defined or thoroughly studied. Spirit and Self in Medieval China offers the first thorough study in any language of the origins and evolution of the Shih-shuo t'i based on a comprehensive literary analysis of the Shih-shuo hsin-yu and a systematic documentation and examination of more than thirty imitations. The study also contributes to the growing interest in the Chinese idea of individual identity. By focusing on the Shin-shuo genre, which provides the starting point in China for a systematic literary construction of the self, it demonstrates that, contrary to Western assertions of a timeless Chinese "tradition," an authentic understanding of personhood in China changed continually and often significantly in response to changing historical and cultural circumstances.
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
The Aesthetic Vision of Kuki Shuzo
Published in 1930, when Japan was struggling to define and assert its national and cultural identity, The Structure of Iki (Iki no kôzô) re-introduced the Japanese to a sophisticated tradition of urbane and spirited stylishness (iki) that was forged in the Edo period. Upon his return from Europe, Kuki Shûzô (1888–1941) made use of the new theoretical frameworks based on Western Continental methodology to redefine the significance of iki in Japanese society and culture. By applying Heidegger’s hermeneutics to this cultural phenomenon, he attempted to recast traditional understanding in the context of Western aesthetic theory and reestablish the centrality of a purely Japanese sense of "taste." The three critical essays that accompany this new translation of The Structure of Iki look at various aspects of Kuki, his work, and the historical context that influenced his thinking. Hiroshi Nara first traces Kuki’s interest in a philosophy of life through his exposure to Husserl, Heidegger, and Bergson. In the second essay, J. Thomas Rimer compels readers to reexamine The Structure of Iki as a work in the celebrated tradition of zuihitsu (stream-of-consciousness writings) and takes into account French literary influences on Kuki. The philosopher’s controversial link with Heidegger is explored by Jon Mark Mikkelsen in the final essay.
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.