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This paper examines a specific set of pre-war Taiwanese philosophers, called the Sit-chûn scholars. Sit-chûn means “existence” in Hokkien and was a frequently discussed notion by these scholars in defying Japan’s colonial assimilation. Armed with Western ideas, the Sit-chûn scholars were devoted to thought resistance against assimilation, which ended up building Taiwan’s cultural subjectivity under Japanese rule (1895−1945). I first present a large body of literature and introduce the overlooked tradition of Taiwanese philosophy that was long regarded as taboo during Chiang’s dictatorship (1949–1987). Next, based on Liao’s (1988) characterization, I argue that the thought resistances of the 1920s are not separate incidents, but systematic responses to cultural and political crises during this period. I then examine some works by Lin Mosei, Liao Wen Kwei, and Tseng Tien-tsung to clarify my point. Finally, a comparative analysis between the Sit-chûn scholars and other East Asian philosophers of the early 20th century is offered.


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