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446 China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 2, Fall 1997© 1997 by University ofHawai'i Press Chin-shing Huang. Philosophy, Philology, and Politics in Eighteenth-Century China: Li Fu and the Lu-Wang School under the Ch'ing. Cambridge Studies in Chinese History, Literature, and Institutions Series, vol. 20. Cambridge, New York, and Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 1995. xviii, 204 pp. Hardcover, isbn 0-521-48225-9. Chin-shing Huang is to be commended for his delivery to the scholarly world of the first book-length study of Li Fu, a neglected and important early Ch'ing philosopher of the Neo-Confucian School ofthe Mind. Although founded by Lu Chiuy üan (or Lu Hsiang-shan) as early as the twelfth century, not until the emergence ofWang Shou-jen (1472-1529), generally known as Wang Yang-ming, did this school reach its full maturity. Hence it has commonly been referred to as the LuWang school. Its upsurge resulted from the intellectual ferment of the late Ming dynasty (1368-1644), an age that witnessed die flourishing of a variety ofreligious and philosophical currents. Characterized by its individualistic approach and intuitive methodology, it was a school that encouraged free speculation, attracted more followers, and, therefore, weakened its rival, the Ch'eng-Chu orthodoxy. The Ch'ing conquest of China in 1644 ushered in a new era in Chinese intellectual history. For the sake ofpolitical stability, the early Ch'ing monarchs patronized the Ch'eng-Chu school. At the same time, a number of influential Chinese thinkers, notably Ku Yen-wu (1613-1682) and Wang Fu-chih (1619-1692), blamed the spread of the Lu-Wang school as one reason for the fall ofthe Ming. Most early Ch'ing scholars were now captivated by the Ch'eng-Chu orthodoxy, while the once-influential Lu-Wang school was relegated to the fringes of the intellectual mainstream. But Li Fu remained at large, like a lone ranger gallantly defending the doctrines ofits masters, Lu Chiu-yiian and Wang Shou-jen. This book, consisting of an introduction, seven chapters, and a conclusion, is well thought-out. As the foundation of the study, die first three chapters attempt to acquaint the readers with the history and issues of the Ch'eng-Chu and LuWang schools. For instance, chapter 1 covers the similarities and differences between die philosophical views of Lu Chiu-yiian and Chu Hsi (1130-1200), the chief founder of the Ch'eng-Chu school. In chapter 2, Huang discusses the intellectual development ofthe Ming dynasty and the rise ofWang Shou-jen as a great philosopher. Chapter 3 explores the Confucian concept of the tradition of the Way (tao-t'ung), its transmission, and its interaction with the tradition of governance (chih-t'ung). Confucian scholars considered themselves bearers and transmitters of the Way; the monarchs held the tradition ofgovernance. The next three chapters constitute die centerpiece ofthe work. They focus on Li Fu's early life, official career, and philosophical argumentation. Born to a poor Reviews 447 family, Li was gifted with literary talent and a prodigious memory. Poverty hardened his determination to improve his knowledge and achieve academic excellence . His official career was full oftrouble, perhaps because ofhis straightforward personality; he suffered demotion, imprisonment, and even the threat of execution. For all these misfortunes, he distinguished himself as a writer, a scholar, and, most importantly, a philosopher. As a philosopher, Li Fu drew on various sources, including the doctrines of Lu Chiu-yiian and Wang Shou-jen, certain folk beliefs, and possibly the tenets of the pragmatic school ofYen Yuan (1635-1704) and Li Kung (1659-1733). To fight his rivals from the Ch'eng-Chu school and other intellectual enemies, he adopted a philological approach to the textual analysis of Confucian sources, and using both philosophical and philological arguments he was able to present a powerful argument in defense of the Lu-Wang school. Chapter 7 centers on the relations between the traditions of die Way and of governance. The author maintains that prior to the K'ang-hsi period (1662-1722), the scholars ofboth the Ch'eng-Chu and Lu-Wang schools held authority over the tradition ofthe Way, as a means to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 446-449
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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