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Abstract

Having both similarities with and differences from dao , yi is an important concept which occupies an important position in early Daoist thought. As is the case with dao, “oneness” can also be traced back to the Laozi and subsequently went through a complex process of conceptual change. As a foundational concept, it serves as a description of dao while also referring to the innermost basis for the emergence and unity of everything that exists. As the foundation of the dao of political authority and effective governance, “oneness” refers to a basic principle and method which the ruler should grasp and put into practice 執一, but also designates an elementary goal and value in the ruler’s own process of self-cultivation 貴一. In comparison to the idea of dao, the concept of “oneness” approaches the relation between the one and the many as entailing a rich variety of relations of identity/difference and commonality/diversity which manifest themselves within the myriad things and affairs in the world in a more direct manner.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities
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Abstract

The “Wuji” section of the Tsinghua Bamboo Slips offers great insight into the pre- modern Chinese philosophical landscape. At the heart of this section lies the concept of zhong (mean), which is intricately woven into the fabric of the tiandao (the way of Heaven) and the rendao (the way of man). This concept is reflected in the “wuji” and the “wude,” embodying the pinnacle of political principles and the ideal outcome of governance. The notion of the mean transcends traditional Confucian values such as zhong (loyalty) and xin (trustworthiness), encompassing qualities of centrality, equality, justice, impartiality, and abundance. It is revered as an absolute and sacred principle, serving as both a coveted goal and the most effective means to achieve it. To fully grasp the implications of “the mean” in the “Wuji” section of the Tsinghua Bamboo Slips, a fresh examination of received texts such as the Yizhoushu, Analects, Guanzi, and Heguanzi, as well as excavated texts like the “Baoxun” and “Xinshi weizhong” of the Tsinghua Bamboo Slips, and the Huangdi sijing of the Mawangdui Silk Texts, is warranted.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities
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Abstract

Several studies have addressed the question of whether the people of early China wrote with thin bamboo strips held in their hands or whether they wrote with the support of flat desks. However, scholars have not addressed the distinction between jian (bamboo strips) and larger du (wooden tablets) in everyday writing. In early China, tablets would be held in the hand to write, while strips would be laid flat on a writing desk. Tablets were the main medium of everyday writing during the period spanning the pre-Qin and Western and Eastern Han dynasties. In the drafting of various literary texts, taking court records, and taking classroom notes, tablets were the primary writing medium. Among written materials from before the Western Han dynasty, duan zhang (short passages) were the most common style of writing, and most texts were composed of short passages. Among the early Chinese manuscripts that have been unearthed, short passages are also very common. However, almost no one has raised the question of why a documentary system dominated by short passages was formed in the pre-Qin and Western and Eastern Han dynasties period. The number of characters that a writing tablet can accommodate essentially coincides with the number of characters in short passages in early Chinese manuscripts. In view of its wide use, I propose that the formation of the short passage form was potentially influenced by the material writing medium of the tablet.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities
Author:

Abstract

The silk manuscripts of Huang-Lao, unearthed at the Mawangdui Han Tombs, articulate a theory that advocates nurturing penal virtue through the prioritization of virtue before punishment. Many scholars have used Han Fei’s concept of xingde-erbing 刑德二柄 to explain the theory and give it context. Contrasted with Legalism, represented by Shang Yang and Han Fei, which emphasizes rewards and punishments – with Shang Yang advocating punishment before reward – the Huang-Lao doctrine extends beyond this dichotomy. It notably diverges in its exploration of the relationship between the heavens and humanity, as well as theories on motivations underlying human nature. Han Fei’s concept of the xingde-erbing fundamentally aligns with Shang Yang’s approach to governance through the mechanisms of punishment and reward. Moreover, Han Fei’s notion of yindao quanfa 因道全法 posits that sovereigns, by governing according to universal principles and fully understanding the law, can ensure state peace and deter major crimes. However, this concept is distinct from Huang-Lao thought, which does not share the same ideological framework as the reward-punishment methods of Shang Yang and Han Fei. The analogous approach of the prioritization of virtue before punishment found in Guanzi, which stresses that wise and virtuous monarchs govern by aligning their decrees with the natural progression of the seasons, is closely aligned with Huang-Lao philosophy. The present analysis clarifies the longstanding intellectual debates between Huang-Lao and Legalism, affirming the distinctiveness of Huang-Lao’s penal virtue theory and illuminating the conceptualization of the heaven-human relationship during the Warring States period.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities
Author:

Abstract

Naturalism is the dominant characteristic of W. V. Quine’s philosophy. The current study presents a more comprehensive and sympathetic clarification of Quine’s naturalized epistemology (NE hereafter), and vindicates its main positions by critically responding to the three objections to Quine’s NE: it is the replacement of traditional epistemology (TE hereafter), it is viciously circular, and it is devoid of normative dimension, and to Williamson’s three charges to naturalism (mainly Quine’s brand), finally concludes that the three objections and Williamson’s three charges to Quine’s NE are mainly perhaps caused by misreading or misinterpretation, so all of them failed, and that there are still illuminating, reasonable, and valuable insights in Quine’s NE, which are worthy of further development.

In: Journal of Chinese Philosophy

Abstract

Comparative philosophy is gaining traction in professional academic philosophy, with specialist journals, organizations, books, and public campaigns. These inroads have been made in canonical areas of philosophy, including epistemology, metaphysics, logic, and value theory. Yet comparative philosophy still plays little role in practical applied ethics, an interdisciplinary research area in which work with practice and policy implications are dominated by the anglophone world. In this article, I explain why comparative work might be especially difficult in this type of applied ethics, and I suggest how comparative philosophers might overcome these challenges to connect their theoretical work with contemporary practical issues.

In: Journal of Chinese Philosophy

Abstract

The launching of philosophical pursuits undertaken in an East-West trajectory at the first East-West Philosophers’ Conference in 1939 represents a turning point in philosophy. However, as groundbreaking as this approach was, it left out all philosophical cultures that did not fit the initial framework. Islamic philosophy, being viewed as neither Western nor Eastern (Asian), was thus marginalized from the start. I introduce “Bricolage” – a method emphasizing curiosity, humility, and playfulness – as a more nuanced way of engaging with diverse philosophical traditions. “Bricoleurs” are interculturalists who remain open to the use of different methodologies: they are “flâneurs” walking through diverse philosophical landscapes for sheer intellectual pleasure.

In: Journal of Chinese Philosophy
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In: Journal of Chinese Philosophy