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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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Practicing Scripture

A Lay Buddhist Movement in Late Imperial China

Barend ter Haar

Practicing Scripture is a monograph on a lay Buddhist movement, generally referred to as Non-Action Teachings, or Wuweijiao, that saw itself as part of the Chan (Zen) tradition during the Ming–Qing (1368–1911) dynasties. Thanks to its sensitive analyses of methods and a wide range of extant sources (including stimulating accounts of the important role played by women in this religious group), Practicing Scripture explores one of the few lay groups in traditional China that we can actually understand in some depth, both in terms of its religious contents and history, and its social environrment.

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Secrecy's Power

Covert Shin Buddhists in Japan and Contradictions of Concealment

Clark Chilson

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.

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