In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

216 China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 1997 Joel Marks and Roger T. Ames, editors. Emotions in Asian Thought: A Dialogue in Comparative Philosophy. Albany: State University ofNew York Press, 1995. xi, 321 pp. Hardcover, isbn 0-7914-2223-2. Paperback, isbn 07914 -2224-0. Those writing about an "Asian" tradition from a "Western" perspective seem to be divided along a deep mediodological fold. While some are spurred by dissatisfaction with certain patterns ofthought theybelieve to define Western culture and turn to Asia to find a cure or corrective, others explore the particular Asian tradition they have chosen to immerse themselves in widi more of a sense of wonder, trying to make sense ofwhatever new comes their way by relating it to something already famüiar. Consequendy, those who belong to fhe former group need to aggrandize the East-West opposition in order to justify their projects and endeavors, while for the latter the line between the "I" and the "other" constantly shifts in the course oftheir explorations. Instead ofpromising their readers conversion to a radically new mode of thinking, they, more modestiy, hold out a torch they hope will facilitate the readers' own investigations and appropriations of the "other" culture. The various contributors to Emotions in Asian Thought also had to make such methodological choices, and, judging from fhe essays gathered in this volume , did so in radically different ways. Some used their reading ofAsian emotions to complement or correct the Western phüosophical debate about the nature ofemotions and the importance ofemotions for morality. Thus, Joel Marks, one of the editors of this volume, employs the analytical language ofcontemporary Anglo-American philosophy to set up a defense ofthe "Buddhist" ideal of dispassion (aldiough he never explains why and how his construction of dispassion connects widi historical Buddhism). Similarly, Joel Kupperman ascribes to the Buddhists a notion of altruism that involves an equal amount of sympathy for all sentient beings and then seeks to make philosophical sense of this notion by pointing out parallels and contrasts with utilitarianism. Leroy Rouner, taking issue with the social constructionists' view on emotions, posits "ecstasy" as an emotion fhat is both universal and necessary for human rationality and religiosity. Other authors in the volume choose to explain "Asian" emotions rather than "emotions" themselves. Catherine Lutz examines how the emotion fago (which has elements of compassion, love, and sadness) functions on Ifaluk, an atoll of© 1997 by University ^0 innabitants in Micronesia. Her's is a delightful essay. She shows howfago or wai ? re^q^ nQt easjjy gt^jJ1Jn me Western emotional repertoire—she does this by registering her own reactions to fago-related interpretations and customs on Ifaluk— without making die emotion into something inaccessible and uninteUigible. For Reviews 217 instance, the preference ofthe inhabitants ofIfaluk for burying their dead at sea rather than on land is rendered intelligible by the Ifaluk beliefthat taking care of (fago) the living is more important than remembering the deceased, and by the abundant attention they bestow upon the dying. We do not need to share those emotions and preferences in order to understand what they are about. The articles by June McDaniel, Purushottama Büimoria, and Padmasiri de Silva are surveys ofemotion-related concepts in Bengali religious traditions, early Indian traditions , and early Buddhism, respectively. They all show that fhere exists substantial variety among and within Indian traditions, and fhat these traditions use and evaluate emotions positively as weU as negatively. I was particularly interested in the aesthetic emotion rasa, upon which both McDaniel and Büimoria elaborate. In rasa, regular emotions become the object ofconnoisseurship, and are experienced indirecdy rather than direcdy. Graham Parkes describes howboth for Nietzsche and for the Japanese Zen master Hakuin egoistic emotions have to be channeled and elevated, but are not rejected outright. Emotions in Asian Thought contains two articles that deal with ancient China. Both seek to correct the "West" by invoking the "East." Mary Bockover's essay appeals to Confucius' use ofthe concepts of Ii it. and ren f- in an attempt to refine the thesis, now common in Western cognitivist theories of emotion, that emotions possess intentionality and thus cannot be reduced to purely subjective...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 216-218
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.