and Culture Review
VOLUME 2 ·Number 4 ·October 2015
Special Theme: Comparative Studies of Chinese and Western Philosophy
106 How Time Passes: Comparing Classical Chinese Conceptions of the Passage of Time
with Contemporary Analytic Philosophy of Time
Liu Jeeloo (USA)
122 Reinterpreting the ‘Feeling of Compassion’ from the Perspective of the Philosophy
of Emotion: The Global Value of Mencius’s Ideas on Moral Feeling and Reason
137 Judgment or Description? A Comparative Study on the Notion of the Good in
Aristotle and Early Confucianism
Forum on Confucianism
154 Confucian Self-Transformation in a Changing Cultural Order:
Toward World Confucianism
164 The Development and Evolution of the Confucian Daotong
179 The Confucian Approach to State Governance Reflected in the Analects
194 Reconsidering the Changing Historical Status of Xunzi
History of Chinese Philosophy
208 Cosmology in Classical Chinese Philosophy: A Reappraisal
221 Zhong Tai and the History of Chinese Philosophy as a Modern Discipline
237 Traditional Ritual-Law and Modern Rule of Law in China
256 Intentional Analysis of Wang Yangming’s Philosophy of Mind:
A Phenomenological Approach
Main articles Abstract
How Time Passes: Comparing Classical Chinese Conceptions
of the Passage of Time with Contemporary Analytic Philosophy of Time
Abstract: Charles A. Moore wrote in 1951, “If East and West are really to meet philosophically, comparative philosophy must move beyond broad generalizations and the citing of similarities and differences.” Under this direction, this paper aims to engage in a comparative analytic reconstruction of Chinese philosophy of time in classical Confucianism and Daoism. The paper will begin with a brief reflection on the methodology of comparative philosophy to define its significance, functions, and aims. It will then introduce contemporary philosophy of time in the analytic tradition as a plausible model for comparison with Chinese conceptions of time. There are two opposing doctrines of time in contemporary analytic philosophy of time, the A-theory and the B-theory. The A-theory characterizes temporal properties in terms of past, present, and future, while the B-theory regards the only realistic temporal properties as earlier than, simultaneous with, and later than relationships among events and moments. This debate touches on such issues as whether time is essentially related to our locations in time, whether time is an objective entity that exists independently of human experience, whether there is an objectively locatable now or the present, whether time passes or has a linear passage, and of course, whether time is real. This paper will bring these questions into the reinterpretation of notions of time in the Analects and the Zhuangzi, with the goal to present a fresh perspective on Chinese philosophy of time, and an alternative thinking to contemporary analytic philosophy of time. It will conclude that both Confucianism and Daoism acknowledge the reality of time’s passing, but they do not take the A-theory’s position on the subjectivity of temporal perspectives. Both schools are committed to realism of the passage of time.
Keywords: time, Analects, Zhuangzi, analytic philosophy, comparative philosophy
Liu Jeeloo is professor of the Department of Philosophy at California State University, Fullerton, USA.
Reinterpreting the ‘Feeling of Compassion’ from
the Perspective of the Philosophy of Emotion: The Global
Value of Mencius’s Ideas on Moral Feeling and Reason
Abstract: Amid the recent global upsurge of studies on the philosophy of emotion, a reinterpretation of traditional Confucian philosophy, especially Mencius’s ideas on the siduan (Four Original Sources) of morality, may shed new light on the subject in comparative philosophy. This paper probes the structure of moral feeling and reason described by Mencius’s from five perspectives: (1) In view of the relationship between feeling and reason, is it better to use the expression “siduan” or the expression “sixin (Four Heart-minds)”? (2) In view of dispositional feeling, what are the four original sources? (3) In view of moral feeling, what are the structural order of the four sources and the corresponding procedure of reasoning of four heart-minds of Humanity? (4) In view of positive feeling, how does moral feeling grow out of the goodness of human nature? (5) What is the global value of Mencius’s ideas on human moral feeling? The author concludes that Mencius’s thought on moral feeing has a global value and cross-cultural significance, and that Chinese wisdom is more than regional but universally applicable. The structure of moral feeling and reason that Mencius identifies is in accordance with the principles of zhiliang (grasping the two poles of the beginning and the end) and yongzhong (emloying the middle). The principles of zhiliang and yongzhong are true universal wisdoms of Confucianism, which should be rekindled today. From a practical point of view, “the Way begins from moral feelings,” and Confucius and Yan Hui’s seeking the simple, virtuous life is an ideal model of emotional well-being.
Keywords: philosophy of emotion, four original sources, compassion, structure of moral feeling and reason, global value
Liu Yuedi is associate research fellow from the Institute of Philosophy of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Judgment or Description? A Comparative Study
on the Notion of the Good in Aristotle and Early Confucianism
Abstract: Aristotle describes the good as the end and a target of rational choice. As the result of rational choice of the subject, the good then becomes a judgmental concept. By contrast, early Chinese Confucians regard the good as a state of accomplishment, completeness and excellence, and take human nature as its subject. It is a spontaneous process of this nature towards the good. As a description of a state of excellence, the good is not a judgmental concept but a descriptive one, which lacks the subjective aspect of Aristotle’s notion.
Keywords: the good, Aristotle, Confucianism, judgment, description
Shen Shunfu is professor and PhD supervisor of the Advanced Institute for Confucian Studies at Shandong University.
Confucian Self-Transformation in a Changing
Cultural Order: Toward World Confucianism
Abstract: World Confucianism is not the existing Confucianism, but rather the one which would have been reformed and transformed. This requires an updated understanding of Confucianism. The core conceptual structure of Confucianism includes ren (benevolence), yi (justice), li (rites), and yue (music). Ren stands for a spirit of kindheartedness, charity, or love, which is evidently a universal idea that requires no transformation. Yi means the principle of justice. Confucianism champions two principles of social justice. One is righteousness, which features the construction of social norms and institutions dependent upon the motivation of transcending graded love by seeking the benevolence of equal treatment for all; the other one is appropriateness, which requires social norms and institutions adapted to a community’s current common lifestyles. The two principles are apparently universal ideas that do not need reform. Li means social norms and institutions. On one hand, every society needs norms and institutions, so Confucius asked people to keji fuli (restrain themselves and return to the rites). On the other hand, none of specific norms or institutions has eternal value in society, so Confucius noted that “Li you sunyi” [rites could be decreased and increased]. Thus, Confucian rites should be first reformed and transformed in support of world Confucianism. Yue is a form of social harmony on the basis of rites. Every community shall seek social harmony which varies in its form across lifestyles. Therefore, yue, or the forms of social harmony, also needs reform. The above-mentioned theoretical system is the essential of world Confucianism. This entire system, in view of its universal significance, can serve as an important resource of thought in constructing a new world cultural order.
Keywords: world Confucianism, Confucian self-transformation, construction of a new world cultural order
Huang Yushun is professor of the Advanced Institute for Confucianism at Shandong University.
The Development and Evolution of the Confucian Daotong
Abstract: Confucian ideas, embodied in the tradition of Daotong, constitute an essential part of Chinese culture. A general survey of the history of Daotong reveals several distinct but interrelated stages of evolutionary development and transformation. The origin of the tradition dates back to a period of early semi-mythological sovereigns from Fu Xi to the Duke of Zhou, when Daotong was represented by the benevolent rule of King Wen of the Zhou dynasty and the rites formulations of the Duke of Zhou. A second stage is the period from Confucius’s own time to the Han dynasty, when the Daotong was incarnated in the Way of benevolence and righteousness advocated by Confucius and Mencius. Next is a period from Han Yu to the Cheng–Zhu and Lu–Wang Schools, who advocated historically transcendent theories of the principle of Heaven and the transmission of the Mind respectively. And from the 1920s, a new doctrine of Daotong was worked out by contemporary Chinese Neo-Confucians, which focused on developing a philosophy of outer kingliness equipped with science and democracy from out of the existing xinxing philosophy of inner sageliness (the theory of the mind and human nature). The crystallization, transformation and transmission of Confucian ideas that constitute the Daotong have exerted tremendous influence on Chinese civilization. The Daotong embodies the fundamental character of Chinese social and cultural development and its quintessential quality in different historical periods. It also indicates the general trend of development of Chinese culture.
Keywords: Confucianism, Daotong, the Way, orthodoxy, tradition, transmission
Cai Fanglu is chair professor and Dean of the Institute of Chinese Philosophy and Culture at Sichuan Normal University.
The Confucian Approach to State Governance Reflected in the Analects
Abstract: This article discusses the Confucian approach to state governance advocated in the adages of the Analects. Specifically, personal rectification is the core concept of state governance. By rectifying one’s own conduct, the ruler sets an example for the people to follow suit. Retaining the people’s faith in the ruler is a fundamental guarantee for successful governance, and moral virtue and ritual propriety should be established as the primary guidelines with laws and punishments as supplementary instruments. The kingly way (benevolent government) is an ideal governance model, and grand harmony is the ultimate goal of governance. The author also suggests that China draw on the experience and lessons from the Confucian approach to governance that integrates the roles of virtue, rites and law to modernize the country’s governance system and capacity.
Keywords: Analects, approach to governance, model, modernizing China
Han Xing is a professor and PhD supervisor of the School of Chinese Classics at Renmin University of China.
Reconsidering the Changing Historical Status of Xunzi
Abstract: In the Warring States period, Xunzi made important contributions in the development of Confucianism, especially in the preservation and spread of Confucian classics, pushing Confucianism to new heights. But during the Han dynasty, when the study of Confucian classics prevailed, Xunzi’s significance was undervalued, largely due to the irreconcilable contradiction between his ideas and Dong Zhongshu’s Gongyang scholarship. In the middle of the Tang dynasty, Han Yu and Yang Jing contributed in various ways to the revival of Xunzi’s thought, but Han Yu’s belief that Xunzi was “largely pure, but with small imperfections” also cast a shadow over the further development of his thought. In the heyday of Neo-Confucianism in the Song and Ming dynasties, Xunzi’s ideas differed radically from those of the Neo-Confucian orthodoxy, and his work fell into oblivion. Xunzi’s argument that human nature is evil was totally unacceptable to Neo-Confucians, and they rejected his concept of “the separation of Heaven and man.” However, the rise of philological studies in the Qing dynasty prompted an unprecedented revival of Xunzi’s thought. The late-Qing Anti-Xunzi Movement was a critical response from New Text scholars, though it did not weaken the significance of Xunzi.
Key words: Xunzi, Dong Zhongshu, Han Yu, Yang Jing, Wang Zhong
Lü Wenyu is a professor of the Research Institute of Ancient Texts at Jilin University
Cosmology in Classical Chinese Philosophy: A Reappraisal
Abstract: This study reexamines the creation, growth and value of classical Chinese cosmology, with particular attention to the significance of ecological civilization as to political philosophy. Such cosmology embodies the category-induced epistemology learned in search of the law of natural changes. It also notes that the values that were established by the ancient Chinese participating in the transformation and nourishing process of heaven and earth are still inspiring and worth intellectual exploration.
Keywords: cosmology, the Huang-Lao thought, Huainanzi, Dong Zhongshu
Feng Dawen is Professor of Philosophy at Sun Yat-sen University.
Zhong Tai and the History of Chinese Philosophy as a Modern Discipline
Abstract: Zhong Tai was the first scholar who wrote a complete work on the general history of Chinese philosophy. His two-volume History of Chinese Philosophy was written in a traditional style in both nomenclature and exposition. With his acute methodological awareness, Zhong Tai opposed the methods adopted by contemporary scholars such as Hu Shi, rejecting them as a “forced analogy” or as “far-fetched,” but in so doing, he weakened the topical value of his own work and his influence on this subject. However, academic progress is driven by opposition of viewpoints and renewal of research methods. In view of the development of Chinese philosophical history as a discipline, Zhong Tai’s work, which came after Hu Shi’s Outline of the History of Chinese Philosophy (Part One), accorded with such principles and logic underlying academic development. Zhong’s work was an important link in the construction of Chinese philosophical history as a modern discipline. His methodological awareness can still provide insights for further study of the history of Chinese philosophy.
Keywords: Zhong Tai, history of Chinese philosophy, discipline, research method
Tian Wenjun is professor and PhD supervisor at the School of Philosophy, Wuhan University.
Traditional Ritual-Law and Modern Rule of Law in China
Abstract: The li-fa (ritual-law), which has evolved over thousands of years in Chinese legal culture, embodies China’s traditional law-making spirit, judicial ideals, and principles of enforcement. It uses ritual as the guideline to uphold the order of the patriarchal clan system and maintain social order with “differential modes of association,” as Fei Xiaotong termed it. The most typical feature of the tradition is a combination or union of rite and law. In ancient China, the law served to assist in establishing and maintaining the rule of rites, which in turn underpinned what was law. The rule of law, in its modern sense as a concept derived from Western social, historical, and cultural origins, is essentially a rule that dominates all other entities of power, including political parties, ruling governments, social organizations, and individual citizens, all of whom must respect and abide by the law. This paper reexamines, from a legal history perspective, the relationship between China’s traditional ritual-law and its approach to modern rule of law. The author holds that the rule of law in China presently exhibits both distinctive national characteristics of the modern era and aspects of its experience of the rule of law in the West. The rule of law in modern China has inevitably inherited some attributes of its traditional legal culture, particularly of the ritual-law, which distinguishes the Chinese legal system from the Western legal system. In building modern rule of law in China, therefore, it would be useful for us to investigate and understand the importance of the tradition of ritual-law, which contains some inherent rational considerations, mechanisms, and principles of formulation.
Keywords: ritual-law tradition, modern rule of law, legal culture, administration of justice
Chen Jingliang is professor, PhD supervisor, and Dean of the Institute of Legal Culture at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law.
Intentional Analysis of Wang Yangming’s
Philosophy of Mind: A Phenomenological Approach
Abstract: Wang Yangming’s philosophy of the mind is rather different from typical phenomenology, but his theory that the mind is the embodiment of natural law (xin-jili) is a phenomenological proposition. In pursuit of his own personal improvement, Wang Yangming seems to have established a philosophy of subjectivity. Based on ethical practices, Wang Yangming develops his philosophy of the mind around the intentionality of subjects. His theories of extension of intuitive knowledge (zhiliangzhi) and the unity of knowledge and action (zhixing heyi) are part of a phenomenological and intentional analysis of subjectivity.
Keywords: phenomenology, Wang Yangming, philosophy of the mind, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, intentionality, intuitive knowledge, unity of knowledge and action
Ouyang Qian is professor of Philosophy and PhD supervisor at Renmin University of China.