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122 China Review International: Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall 1994 being vigorously pursued in order to rid the government of the burden of subsidized housing. This makes housing a marketable commodity in a socialist city. Despite these criticisms, this collection of papers provides interesting and informative reading, particularly for scholars with an interest in postreform urban development in China. The editor has done an excellent job in ensuring continuity in the flow of ideas from one paper to another. C. P. Lo University of Georgia NOTE S 1. Yeung Yue-man, Urban and Regional Development in China: Recent Transformation and Future Prospect (Hong Kong: Hong Kong Institute ofAsia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, 1993). F Chad Hansen. A Daoist Theory ofChinese Thought. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. xv, 448 pp. Hardcover $57. "On the Contrary" and "On the Other Hand" A responsible reviewer should serve as a feeless broker for the book he reviews. Often a description of the book's contents and a précis of its major conclusions are sufficient to introduce the book to those it will most benefit. But when an author self-consciously foregrounds the strictiy theoretical and interpretative dimensions of his book, one is invited to focus upon the rationale of the work. In this case, the broker serves his client best through conversational engagement— engagement of the sort that contextualizes the arguments of the book and provides , whenever relevant, responses of either an "on the contrary" or an "on the ofher hand" variety. Responses of an "on the contrary" sort are dialectical criticisms aimed at the promotion of intertheoretical engagement which can lead to adjustments of principles and arguments on eifher or both sides of Aie debate. These adjustments, insofar as they realize increased clarity and cogency, are thought to promise real philosophical progress. Responses of an "on the other hand" variety come from pragmatic critics, who provide alternative accounts which contextualize the arguments of the work reviewed in such a manner as to highlight its strengths and ofHawai'i Pressweaknesses—not through logical analysis, but through a simple juxtaposition which seeks to identify those contexts within which the author's arguments, as well as the proposed alternatives, are relevant. In the following pages I intend to ) 1994 by University Reviews 123 serve primarily as a pragmatic critic, promoting "on the ofher hand" sorts of engagement . Let me state at the outset that Hansen's book is worth the considerable effort it takes to read and absorb its detailed analyses and reconstructions. The importance of the work is not only that it self-consciously and unapologetically employs a distinctiy philosophical perspective to interpret the development, character, and content ofclassical Chinese intellectual culture, but that it does so in such a way as to invite, indeed encourage, critical engagement of both a dialectical and a pragmatic sort on precisely those issues that contemporary Sinologists, and their philosophical helpmates, most need to address. Now, as any who has read A Daoist Theory ofChinese Thoughtwill discover, Hansen is a dialectical thinker. His "on the contrary" style of argumentation places him in the company of Aiat considerable number ofphilosophers who believe that fhere is some philosophical progress and that it depends upon dialectical engagements among alternative theories which aim at "getting it right." This means that, as a pragmatic critic, I will not be engaging Hansen precisely on his own terms. My efforts should be more than justified, however, by the fact that the dialectical and pragmatic methods represented by Hansen and his present reviewer are not merely abstract philosophical positions; they, in fact, constitute the two dominant methodological perspectives in contemporary philosophy, and thus represent the alternative interpretative methods which may be applied to any philosophical subject—including, of course, classical Chinese philosophy. Dialectical and PragmaticApproaches in Context The long shadow of Enlightenment rationalism has only just begun to recede from the contemporary scene. It was the inAuence of the Descartes-to-Hegel axis Aiat led us to emphasize the metaphor of "mind" as the medium through which the world was to be accessed. Beginning with the existential critics of Hegel— principally, of course, Soren Kierkegaard—fhere was a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 122-134
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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