Browse results

Author: Yair Neuman
The old practices of interpretation have been exhausted, and the humanities and social sciences are facing a crisis. Is there a way out of the labyrinth of reading? In this book, Professor Neuman presents a challenging approach to interpreting texts and reading literature through the spectacles of conceptual mathematics. This approach strives to avoid the simplicity of a quantitative approach to the analysis of literature as well as both the relativistic and the ideological dangers facing a qualitative reading of a text. The approach is introduced in a rigorous and accessible manner and woven with insights gained from various fields. Taking us on a challenging journey from Ovid’s Metamorphoses to Nick Cave’s The Death of Bunny Munro, the book shows how we may gain a deeper understanding of literature and the aesthetic experience of reading.

Abstract

After Confucius died, his disciples formed the Eight Confucian Factions [rujia ba pai 儒家八派]. The most influential among them were the moral idealist school of Mencius 孟子, which proposed the doctrine of heart-mind and human nature [xinxing 心性], and the political idealist school of Xunzi 荀子, which posited a political interpretation of Confucianism. The Mencian approach emphasized the ethics of Confucianism, whereas the Xunzian approach focused on the political application of Confucianism. Their respective weaknesses have become evident in the present. It is hoped that we can overcome their shortcomings by integrating them and formulating a new approach to modern Confucianism that uses their advantages. However, modern Confucianism had made important contributions not only in its synthesis of Mencian and Xunzian thought but, more importantly, as it carries on the approach advocated by Dong Zhongshu 董仲舒. This involves not only examining the political applications of a particular kind of scholarship on the Chunqiu gongyang zhuan 春秋公羊傳 [The Gongyang Commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals] developed by Dong known as Gongyang scholarship [gongyang xue 公羊學] but also integrating the internal principles and politics of Confucianism. In theory, it requires an integration of the strengths of various schools to achieve a Confucian ideological system that embraces the Hundred Schools of Thought [zhuzi baijia 諸子百家]. In practice, it entails actual political application taken from a melting pot of the theoretical and political ambitions of Confucianism that is superior to the form of Confucianism that originated in the pre-Qin period [221 BCE] and other schools of thought and their successors.

In: Journal of Chinese Humanities

Abstract

According to Karl Jaspers’s theory of the Axial age, many important cultures in the world experienced a “transcendental breakthrough” between 800 and 200 BCE; no more transformations occurred until Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century, which eventually ushered in the modern era. The implication of this theory is that only the West had a second cultural breakthrough, thus rendering moot the discussion of a third Confucian epoch. But, in reality, Confucianism had a second breakthrough during the Song—Ming period (tenth to seventeenth centuries) and spread from China to East Asia; this new form of Confucianism is called “neo-Confucianism” by Western scholars. The third Confucian epoch is a forward-looking concept that uses the lexicon of Western science and democracy to trace Confucianism’s philosophical transformation from a Chinese tradition into a part of world culture, and the integration of Mencian and Xunzian thought has to be treated in this light. Faced with Western cultural challenges, modern Confucianism has broken new ground in many ways. Mou Zongsan 牟宗三 is Mencian (as represented by Lu Xiangshan 陸象山, Wang Yangming 王陽明, and Liu Jishan 劉蕺山) in spirit and Xunzian (as represented by Zhu Xi 朱熹) in practice. Li Zehou 李澤厚, by contrast, exhorts us to talk the Mencian talk but walk the Xunzian walk; this contradictory stratagem, which he thinks will lead to a brighter and healthier future, only accentuates the power of Mencius 孟子 as a philosopher of the mind. Mencius and Xunzi 荀子 are very important in a modern deconstruction of Confucianism and the integration of their thought may very well become the impetus for another transcendental breakthrough. Is integration possible? How should they be integrated? We await the results of Confucian scholars’ open-minded explorations.

In: Journal of Chinese Humanities
Dynamiken zweckrationaler Passion
Author: Eckart Goebel
Welche Funktion hat ein Ehrgeiz, der auch dann nicht erlischt, sobald Selbsterhaltung sichergestellt ist? Lässt sich überhaupt trennscharf zwischen ›gesundem‹ und ›krankhaftem‹ Ehrgeiz unterscheiden? Diese Fragen stellen sich, seit Hesiod zwischen der guten und der bösen Eris differenzierte, und seit Aristoteles –der Lehrer Alexanders des Großen – feststellte, dass die gute Mitte zwischen fehlendem undexzessivem Ehrgeiz ›keinen Namen hat‹. Der über die Selbsterhaltung hinausschießende, ›brennende Ehrgeiz‹ wurde in der Philosophie nur gelegentlich reflektiert, in der Weltliteratur, der Erfolgssoziologie, der Spieltheorie und der Psychoanalyse hingegen eindringlich beschrieben. Er erscheint in evolutionsbiologischer Perspektive sinnlos, latent feindselig bzw. autodestruktiv. Die Alltagssprache registriert den destruktiven Aspekt, wenn sie in einer drastischen Wendung davon spricht, jemand sei ›von Ehrgeiz zerfressen‹ wie von einem Raubtier, einer Säure oder einem unkontrollierbar gewordenen Feuer. Diesem ›brennenden‹, potentiell ›zerfressenden‹ Ehrgeiz, der als das Verlangen nach Unsterblichkeit exklusiv menschlich zu sein scheint, wird seit der Antike mit Ambivalenz und Scheu begegnet. Ihm gilt das primäre Interesse des vorliegenden Buches.
In: Ehrgeiz
In: Ehrgeiz
In: Ehrgeiz