The essays in
Powerful Arguments reconstruct the standards of validity underlying argumentative practices in a wide array of late imperial Chinese discourses, from the Song through the Qing dynasties. The fourteen case studies analyze concrete arguments defended or contested in areas ranging from historiography, philosophy, law, and religion to natural studies, literature, and the civil examination system. By examining uses of evidence, habits of inference, and the criteria by which some arguments were judged to be more persuasive than others, the contributions recreate distinct cultures of reasoning. Together, they lay the foundations for a history of argumentative practice in one of the richest scholarly traditions outside of Europe and add a chapter to the as yet elusive global history of rationality.
A history of traditional Chinese knowledge, thought and belief from the seventh through the nineteenth centuries with a new approach that offers a new perspective. It appropriates a wide range of source materials and emphasizes the necessity of understanding ideas and thought in their proper historical contexts. Its analytical narrative focuses on the dialectical interaction between historical background and intellectual thought. While discussing the complex dynamics of interaction among the intellectual thought of elite Chinese scholars, their historical conditions, their canonical texts and the “worlds of general knowledge, thought and belief,” it also illuminates the significance of key issues such as the formation of the Chinese world order and its underlying value system, the origins of Chinese cultural identity, foreign influences, and the collapse of the Chinese world order in the 19th century leading toward the revolutionary events of the 20th century.
Liang Shuming and the Populist Alternative in China, Catherine Lynch offers an alternative understanding of Liang Shuming’s work. While the current work on Liang suggests a connection to other Asian philosophical traditions (like Confucianism and Buddhism), this new work argues that Liang’s work is an important part of the evolution of the modern Chinese thought and examines the role of populist ideas in the development of Liang’s thinking. In addition to Liang’s writings, this reading of Liang relies on lengthy interviews the author completed with Liang as well as with people associated with Liang. This book adds a new perspective based on access the author had to Liang while he was still alive.
Wenzi is a Chinese philosophical text that enjoyed considerable prestige in the centuries following its creation, over two-thousand years ago. When questions regarding its authenticity arose, the text was branded a forgery and consigned to near oblivion. The discovery of an age-old
Wenzi manuscript, inked on strips of bamboo, refueled interest in the text. In this combined study of the bamboo manuscript and the received text, Van Els argues that they belong to two distinct text traditions as he studies the date, authorship, and philosophy of each tradition, as well as the reception history of the received text. This study sheds light on text production and reception in Chinese history, with its changing views on authorship, originality, authenticity, and forgery, both past and present.
Origins of Chinese Political Philosophy is the first book in any Western language to explore the composition, language, thought, and early history of the
Shangshu (Classic of Documents), one of the pillars of the Chinese textual, intellectual, and political tradition. In examining the text from multiple disciplinary and intellectual perspectives,
Origins of Chinese Political Philosophy challenges the traditional accounts of the nature and formation of the
Shangshu and its individual chapters. As it analyzes in detail the central ideas and precepts given voice in the text, it further recasts the
Shangshu as a collection of dynamic cultural products that expressed and shaped the political and intellectual discourses of different times and communities.
Contributors are: Joachim Gentz, Yegor Grebnev, Magnus Ribbing Gren, Michael Hunter, Martin Kern, Maria Khayutina, Robin McNeal, Dirk Meyer, Yuri Pines, Charles Sanft, David Schaberg, Kai Vogelsang.
Confucius Beyond the Analects, Michael Hunter challenges the standard view of the
Analects as the earliest and most authoritative source of the teachings of Confucius. Arguing from a comprehensive survey of the thousands of extant sayings and stories from the early period, Hunter situates the compilation and rise of the
Analects in the Western Han period (206 BCE–9 CE), roughly three centuries after the death of Confucius. As a study of the growth and development of the Confucius figure over the course of the early period, the book is also meant to serve as a roadmap for those interested in exploring the wealth and diversity of Confucius material beyond the