Patrick Fuliang Shan

This article investigates one of the last polygamous families in modern China, the household of Yuan Shikai, who was the first president of the Republic of China. Before his presidency, Yuan was a prominent reformer and high-ranking official in the late Qing Empire. Although he implemented numerous influential progressive reforms to promote China’s modernization, he himself led a traditional private life within his own home: He married ten women, built himself a large harem, and fathered thirty-two children. This article explores Yuan’s polygamous marriages by revealing the characteristics of his marital life, probing the styles of his nuptial experience, and examining his approach of managing his family. Through this study, we can see another aspect of China’s transformation from tradition to modernity, along with its national transformation from empire to republic. Therefore, this study help us not only explore the long-relinquished old-style marriage system and uncover a long forgotten system of spousal union, but also unmask the role of polygamy in shaping the lives of Chinese social and political elites before its final abolition in the early 20th century.

Mark Sentesy


This paper clarifies the way Aristotle uses generation (γένεσις) to establish the priority of activity (ἐνέργεια) in time and in being. It opens by examining the concept of genetic priority. The argument for priority in beinghood has two parts. The first part is a synthetic argument that accomplishment (τέλος) is the primary kind of source (ἀρχή), an argument based on the structure of generation. The second part engages three critical objections to the claim that activity could be an accomplishment: (i) activity appears to lack its own structure; (ii) activity is different in kind from the object it accomplishes; and (iii) activity is external to its accomplishment. Aristotle responds to these objections by analyzing the structure of generation. In the course of the argument, Aristotle establishes that beinghood and form are activity.

Callisto Searle

This title refers to what I see as the state of synonymy between the word “husbandry” in English and the word se 嗇 in Chinese. There are points of striking similarity, not only in the meaning and usage of these two words, but also in the changes in their usage over time, and I have found a comparative study of the etymology of these two words to be mutually illuminating. The similarity and potential for mutual analysis between these two case studies speaks to the universality of metaphor in thought and its expression, as well as the influence of shared experiences, such as agricultural practices, on how we talk about ideas that are more abstract. In English, the idea of a general practice of husbandry derived from the idea of the husbandman or farmer in Late Medieval English (C13th onwards). A more abstracted sense of husbandry, understood as an attitude that may be applied to abstract and intangible objects is witnessed in Shakespeare’s sonnets in the C16th. This sense of husbandry, the husbandry of intangible resources, is also precisely the sense that is developed by a small and specialised group of writers in China represented by texts dating from the pre-Qin period to the Eastern Jin dynasty, following a similar progression from agricultural to ever more metaphorical senses of the practice of husbandry. The similarity of the process through which these abstracted meanings developed from concrete usage in both cases makes the pair mutually illustrative as I hope to show in this paper.

Huang Zhipeng

Matteo Ricci introduced into China the Western theory of soul, a term which he translated as linghun 靈魂. Afterwards, two other Italian Jesuits, Giulio Aleni and Francesco Sambiasi, separately completed two Chinese interpretations of the De Anima (On the Soul), the former privileging the word linghun, and the later, yanima 亞尼瑪, a transliteration for anima. Xia Dachang 夏大常 (Mathias Hsia) is probably the first Chinese person to write specifically on the topic of the soul. However, he used a different term, lingxing 靈性 (human spiritual nature), and also he titled his work “The Theory of Human Nature” (“Xingshuo” 性說). Xia’s work has received little scholarly attention, and this paper aims at investigating how he adopts the Western theory of the soul, why he still uses the concept of lingxing, and which Chinese editions of De Anima or other works written by the Jesuits had influenced him. We shall also see how Xia Dachang uses traditional Chinese sources and Catholic doctrine to support his viewpoint of human nature and how he criticizes theories of human nature within Chinese philosophy. This will enable us to comprehend how Chinese Christians in the Early Qing dynasty understood the theory of the soul and to reflect on the contemporary relevance of this theory in Chinese culture today.

Maliheh Pirayesh Shirazinejad, Mansour Aliabadian and Omid Mirshamsi

The white wagtail (Motacilla alba) species complex with its distinctive plumage in separate geographical areas can serve as a model to test evolutionary hypotheses. Its extensive variety in plumage, despite the genetic similarity between taxa, and the evolutionary events connected to this variety are poorly understood. Therefore we sampled in the breeding range of the white wagtail: 338 individuals were analyzed from 74 areas in the Palearctic and Mediterranean. We studied the white wagtail complex based on two mitochondrial DNA markers to make inferences about the evolutionary history. Our phylogenetic trees highlight mtDNA sequences (ND2, CR), and one nuclear marker (CHD1Z), which partly correspond to earlier described clades: the northern Palearctic (clade N); eastern and central Asia (clade SE); south-western Asia west to the British Isles (clade SW); and Morocco (clade M). The divergence of all clades occurred during the Pleistocene. We also used ecological niche modelling for three genetic lineages (excluding clade M); results showed congruence between niche and phylogenetic divergence in these clades. The results of the white wagtail ancestral area reconstruction showed the influence of dispersal on the distribution and divergence of this complex species. The most important vicariance event for the white wagtail complex may have been caused by the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts. We conclude that the ancestral area of the white wagtail complex was probably in the Mediterranean, with its geography having a considerable effect on speciation processes.

Editors Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Yoshimi Orii

This paper analyzes the critique of Neo-Confucianism by the Japanese Jesuit Brother Fabian Fukansai (c. 1565–1621) in the Myōtei Dialogues (Myōtei Mondō 妙貞問答) (1605), as well as Fabian’s later critique of Christianity. It clarifies the author’s understanding of Neo-Confucian theory and his apology for Christianity by analyzing his explanation of the Great Ultimate (Tai’kyoku/Taiji 太極) and Principle (ri/li 理), which Fabian sees as nothing but an expression of Buddhist monistic mentalism. It also demonstrates that his explanations of the Great Ultimate and Principle have a crucial flaw: they do not sufficiently explain Zhu Xi’s metaphysics, which tried to make the immanent and transcendental characteristics of the Great Ultimate and Principle compatible. This is because Fabian addresses only the elements of “local” religions including Neo-Confucianism with novel keywords that support the framework of Christian Creationism and the Anima Rationalis theory. However, his later work Deus Destroyed (Ha Daius 破提宇子), written after he had rejected Christianity, overturned his former claim by accepting the Neo-Confucian concept of Principle. Fabian’s works are a historical example showing the potential limits of a confrontational approach toward other religions.

Xu Xiangdong

This paper is aimed to show how the libertarian conception of free choice is mistaken or misleading by focusing on Robert Kane’s attempt to solve the problem of luck, which arguably constitutes the most serious challenge to libertarianism about free will. I will argue that either Kane’s solution to the problem of luck falls into some inconsistency or he must introduce the requirement of contrastive explanation into his account of plural voluntary control. Either way, Kane fails to show how his emphasis on the requirement of plural voluntary control is made consistent with his unswerving commitment to the requirement of the libertarian free will for a metaphysical indeterminism.