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After piloting an emperor the age of a college student through China’s most drastic government reforms before the modern era, Wang Anshi (1021—1086) retreated to his Halfway Hill villa at Nanjing, where in late middle age he became one of the Northern Song’s three or four most innovative poets.
He redirected the craft of composing high-stakes policy papers into lighter-than-air evocations of clear-eyed grief, sensuous Buddhism, and intricate reactions to rain on the river or donkey-riding up Bell Mountain. Acrimony over his redesigned government, which he lived just long enough to see totally dismantled, remains relevant to Chinese politics and economics. Published during his thousand-year jubilee, this first full English biography since 1937 draws on Wang’s essays, poems, and his vivid, seldom-explored throne-room diary.
Editor: John Makeham
Unlike classical, medieval, Buddhist or post-Tang Confucian philosophy, Modern Chinese philosophy has been largely ignored in Western studies of Chinese philosophy. This series aims to redress this imbalance by publishing authoritative, innovative and informative studies in Chinese philosophy from the late Qing period to contemporary times. It aims to become the series of choice for prospective authors of studies on Modern Chinese philosophy writing on topics in New Confucian philosophy, modern Buddhist philosophy, Chinese Marxist philosophy, modern Daoist philosophy, as well as works of a comparative nature. It will be “catholic” in its judgment of what constitutes Chinese philosophy, adopting the norms favoured by Chinese scholars and intellectuals, as well as those adopted in the Western academy.

Contributor: Zhipeng Huang
Thierry Meynard and Dawei Pan offer a highly detailed annotated translation of one of the major works of Giulio Aleni (1582 Brescia–1649 Yanping), a Jesuit missionary in China. Referred to by his followers as “Confucius from the West”, Aleni made his presence felt in the early modern encounter between China and Europe. The two translators outline the complexity of the intellectual challenges that Aleni faced and the extensive conceptual resources on which he built up a fine-grained framework with the aim of bridging the Chinese and Christian spiritual traditions.
Reform, Utopia and Global Teleology in Kang Youwei's Datong Shu
In Confucian Concord, Federico Brusadelli offers an intellectual analysis of the Datong Shu. Written by Kang Youwei (1858-1927) and conceived as his most esoteric and comprehensive legacy to posterity, the book was eventually published posthumously, in 1935, considered “too advanced for the times” in Kang’s own opinion.

Connecting Datong Shu to its author’s intellectual biography and framing it within the intellectual and political debate of the time, Brusadelli investigates the conceptual and philosophical implications of Kang’s ‘global prophecy’, showing how an apparently ‘utopian’ and ‘escapist’ piece of literature was actually an attempt to save (at least ideally) the imperial political order, updating the traditional Confucian universalism to a new, ‘modern’ world.
Author: Yu Sang
Xiong Shili 熊十力(1885-1968) was one of the most important Chinese philosophers of the twentieth century, and a founding figure of the modern New Confucian school of philosophy. At the core of his metaphysics is one of the key conceptual polarities in traditional Chinese philosophy: Reality ( ti 體) and Function ( yong 用). Xiong Shili’s Understanding of Reality and Function, 1920-1937 presents a detailed examination and analysis of the development of Xiong Shili’s conception of Reality and Function between 1920 and 1937. While scholars have tended to focus on Xiong’s mature ti-yong philosophical system, which was initially established in the early 1930s, this study explains how that system was gradually formed, providing a more comprehensive basis for understanding the development of Xiong’s philosophical thought in later periods.
Chinese Visions of Progress, 1895 to 1949 offers a panoramic view of reflections on progress in modern China. Since the turn of the twentieth century, the discourses on progress shape Chinese understandings of modernity and its pitfalls. As this in-depth study shows, these discourses play a pivotal role in the fields of politics, society, culture, as well as philosophy, history, and literature. It is therefore no exaggeration to say that the Chinese ideas of progress, their often highly optimistic implications, but also the criticism of modernity they offered, opened the gateway for reflections on China’s past, its position in the present world, and its future course.
Standards of Validity in Late Imperial China
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.
With Contemporary Explication and Traditional Commentary
Author: Guying Chen
Editors / Translators: Paul D'Ambrosio and Ouyang Xiao
Chen Guying’s Laozi dissects different versions of the Laozi and provides close readings of traditional and contemporary commentaries, from Han Fei, Wang Bi, and Heshang Gong through to Shi Deqing, Xu Kangsheng and Ding Yuanzhi. This book completely changed Laozi studies in China, where no serious student or scholar can ignore Chen’s amazing work. It is the standard interpretation of the Laozi at nearly every Chinese university.

The English translation provided here seeks to accurately reflect the detail of Chen’s meticulous work by providing multiple English translations of key characters, allowing the reader to follow complex Sinological arguments. The close “word-for-character” translation of the Laozi text enables scholars to interact with the Laozi on a level previously unavailable in English.
In The Culture of Love in China and Europe Paolo Santangelo and Gábor Boros offer a survey of the cults of love developed in the history of ideas and literary production in China and Europe between the 12th and early 19th century. They describe parallel evolutions within the two cultures, and how innovatively these independent civilisations developed their own categories and myths to explain, exalt but also control the emotions of love and their behavioural expressions. The analyses contain rich materials for comparison, point out the universal and specific elements in each culture, and hint at differences and resemblances, without ignoring the peculiar beauty and attractive force of the texts cultivating love.
Bringing Community back to Human Rights in the Age of Global Risk Society
Author: Sang-Jin Han
Confucianism and Reflexive Modernity offers an excellent example of a dialogue between East and West by linking post-Confucian developments in East Asia to a Western idea of reflexive modernity originally proposed by Ulrich Beck, Anthony Giddens, and Scott Lash in 1994. The author makes a sharp confrontation with the paradigm of Asian Value Debate led by Lee Kwan-Yew and defends a balance between individual empowerment and flourishing community for human rights, basically in line with Juergen Habermas, but in the context of global risk society, particularly from an enlightened perspective of Confucianism. The book is distinguished by sophisticated theoretical reflection, comparative reasoning, and solid empirical argument concerning Asian identity in transformation and the aspects of reflexive modernity in East Asia.