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  • François Jullien:Comparative Thinking
  • Karel van der Leeuw (bio)
François Jullien . Procès ou Création: Une introduction à la pensée des lettrés chinois: Essai de problématique interculturelle (Process or creation: An introduction to the thought of the Chinese literati: An essay in intercultural problems). Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1989. 312 p. Paperback Fr 170, ISBN 2-02-010253-6.
François Jullien . Figures de l'immanence: Pour une lecture philosophique du Yiking, le Classique du changement (Images of immanence: Contributions to a philosophical interpretation of the Yijing, the Classic of Change). Paris: Bernard Grasset, 1993; reprint, Livre de Poche, 1995. 317 p. Paperback, ISBN 2-253-94214-6.
François Jullien . La propension des choses: Pour une histoire de l'efficacité en Chine. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1992. 282 p. Paperback Fr 170, ISBN 2-02-013629-5. (Translated into English as The Propensity of Things: Toward a History of Efficacy in China [Zone Books, 1995]).
François Jullien . Fonder la morale: Dialogue de Mencius avec un philosophe des Lumières (The foundation of morality: A dialogue between Mencius and a philosopher of the Enlightenment). Paris: Bernard Grasset, 1995. 219 p. Paperback Fr 119, ISBN 2-246-52171-8.
François Jullien . Le détour et l'accès: Stratégies du sens en Chine, en Grèce (Detour and access: Strategies of meaning in China and in Greece). Paris: Bernard Grasset, 1995. 462 p. Paperback Fr 145, ISBN 2-246-50371-x.
Karel van der Leeuw
University of Amsterdam
Karel van der Leeuw

Karel van der Leeuw is an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy, University of Amsterdam, and specializes in two fields, Chinese philosophy and philosophy for children.


All of the books under review are subdivided into chapters of moderate length, and these in turn in sections of a few pages. All contain character glossaries, but none contains an index of names and subjects. All books use the pinyin transcription, which is now in general use in French sinological literature. Only the word shi in La propension des choses is—for the sake of pronunciation—kept in the old French transcription che.

1. Jean-Paul Reding, Les fondements philosophiques de la rhétorique chez les sophistes grecs et chez les sophistes chinois (Bern: Peter Lang, 1985, p. 37). Although I do not agree with its main thesis, I consider it regrettable that this magnificent and careful study has not been translated into English.

2. Cf. Jullien, Fonder la morale, pp. 121-122. Jullien rightly points to the fact that it is highly misleading to translate zhi as "will."

3. Both this book and La propension des choses have been published as part of a series, Des Travaux, which sets for itself the purpose of establishing communication between researchers in different areas of study by the publication of original and translated works.

4. Alison H. Black, Man and Nature in the Philosophical Thought of Wang Fu-chih (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1989).

5. Alison H. Black, "The Concept of the Mandate of Heaven in the Political Thought of Wang Fu-chih (1619-1692)" (M.Lit. Thesis, University of Glasgow, 1970).

6. Iulian K. Shchutskii, Researches on the I Ching, trans. W. L. MacDonald and Tsuyoshi Hasegawa with H. Wilhelm, with an introd. by G. W. Swanson (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1980).

7. See Roger T. Ames' review in China Review International 3, no. 2 (Fall 1996): 458-462.

8. The origin and development of the term shi are discussed by Roger T. Ames in The Art of Rulership: A Study in Ancient Chinese Political Thought (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1983), pp. 65 ff.

9. For example, for Chad D. Hansen, in A Daoist Theory of Chinese Thought: A Philosophical Interpretation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), Mencius is almost the evil genius who killed the spirit of Chinese philosophy.

10. Jullien quotes the examples of Rousseau in his Discours sur l'origine de l'inégalité parmi les hommes (Discourse on the origin of inequality among men [1755]) and Kant in his Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten (Foundations of the metaphysics of morals [1785]), but Shaftesbury, in An...


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