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Becoming Human

Li Zehou's Ethics


Jana Rošker

Powerful Arguments

Standards of Validity in Late Imperial China


Edited by Martin Hofmann, Joachim Kurtz and Ari Daniel Levine

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.

The Annotated Critical Laozi

With Contemporary Explication and Traditional Commentary


Guying Chen

Edited by Paul D'Ambrosio


Fanxi Wang

Edited by Gregor Benton

Wang Fanxi, a leader of the Chinese Trotskyists, wrote this book on Mao more than fifty years ago. He did so while in exile in the then Portuguese colony of Macau, across the water from Hong Kong, where he had been sent in 1949 to represent his comrades in China, soon to disappear for decades into Mao’s jails. The book is an analytical study whose strength lies less in describing Mao’s life than in explaining Maoism and setting out a radical view on it as a political movement and a current of thought within the Marxist tradition to which both Wang and Mao belonged. With its clear and provoking thesis, it has, since its writing, stood the test of time far better than the hundreds of descriptive studies that have in the meantime come and gone.


Paolo Santangelo and Gábor Boros

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.

Cheng Shaoxuan

By examining the Zhoujiatai Qin Tomb 30 Bamboo Slip End Profile Chart, one can see that the various sections of the rishu (Daybook) formed an ovular rolled bundle that was, for the most part, closed. These slips appear to have belonged to a common manuscript. However, the slips of the calendrical manuscript saliu nian ri (Days of the 36th Year) did not belong to this rolled bundle and instead were wrapped around a separate axis. On this basis, we can determine that Days of the 36th Year and the daybook were separate manuscripts when they were placed in the tomb.

Liu Xinfang

Many scholars have already studied the daybook (rishu 日書) text titled “Stars” (Xing 星), which was included among the excavated Qin manuscripts at Shuihudi 睡虎地. The Corpus of Qin Documents Written On Bamboo and Wood (Qin jiandu heji 秦簡牘合集) can be seen as a consequential culmination of these studies. Based on a collative approach, this article offers a comparative reading by citing ancient theories on astrological divination in order to clarify the provenance of passages found within the “Stars” text. Through such a comparative study, it is possible to provide an enhanced explanation of certain passages, somewhat different from the understandings of other scholars.

Qiu Xigui

This paper proposes that the character in the sentence 生乃呼曰 “was born and called out: ‘Jin!’” in the Shanghai Museum manuscript Zi Gao 子羔 should be transcribed as 銫, pronounced jin, and was a special way of writing the word jin 金 “metal.” The myth of Xie in Zi Gao may be related to the virtue of Metal of the Shang dynasty, which can still be seen in a story in the Shiyi ji 拾遺記 in which the divine mother asks Jian Di 簡狄 to give birth to Xie to “succeed the Virtue of Metal.” This paper also traces the myths of Shaohao 少皞 and Xie in order to show that Shaohao and Xie derive from the same mythical source. This paper argues that the association of Shang with the virtue of Metal already existed prior to the time that Zou Yan 鄒衍 systematized the Five Virtues.

Song Huaqiang

On the Chu 楚 bamboo slips from Geling 葛陵 there appears a character written in the form of 米. Most scholars agree that it is identical to the graph 柰 on the Baoshan 包山 bamboo slips and should also be read as sui 祟. This essay assumes that the reading of 柰 as sui on the Baoshan slips is correct, but that the graph written as 米 on the Geling slips is most likely a simplified version of , which in the texts is to be read as sheng 眚, a synonym for sui.

Yan Changgui

This article examines the names of five gods and spirits that appear in Chu divination records. It proposes that “Dashui” 大水 refers to the god of the sea, the Sea Approver in Zhuangzi; “Weishan” 危山 is the mountain Sanwei in Chuci, a land of immortality; “Gongmei” 宮禖 is likely the high goddess of childbirth, who was once a Chu ancestress; and “Sijin” 司祲 and “Sizhe” 司折 are two heavenly gods, the former in charge of people’s fortune, and the latter in charge of people’s lifespans. The latter is similar to the Overseer of Youth’s Fate in Chuci.