Author: Ralph Weber

Chinese philosophy in the twentieth century has often been related to some sort of cultural or other particularism or some sort of philosophical universalism. By and large, these still seem to be the terms along which academic debates are carried out. The tension is particularly manifest in notions such as “Chinese philosophy,” “Daoist cosmology,” “Neo-Confucian idealism,” or “Chinese metaphysics.” For some, “Chinese metaphysics” may be a blatant contradictio in adiecto, while others may find it a most ordinary topic to be discussed at the beginning of the twenty-first century. In this article, I set out to examine two major discourses in which talk about “metaphysics” is frequent and popular and to which talk of “Chinese metaphysics” may wish to contribute: the history of philosophy and analytic philosophy. My contention is that it is usually far from obvious what reasons are behind putting “Chinese metaphysics” on the academic agenda and to what precise purpose this is done. What my discussion seeks to highlight is the as yet often largely unarticulated dimension of the politics of comparative philosophy—of which talk about “Chinese metaphysics” may but need not be an example.

In: Frontiers of Philosophy in China
In: Concepts of Philosophy in Asia and the Islamic world
Author: Ralph Weber

Contemporary proponents of Confucian political philosophy often ignore the fact that any sizeable future Confucian political order will have to accommodate many “non-Confucians.” The guiding question of this paper is therefore the following: how could a Confucian political philosophy, if it can at all, adequately take into account a plurality of comprehensive worldviews? I first turn to John Rawls and his account of these terms and of reasonable pluralism more generally. I then examine some particularly relevant developments and criticism of Rawls’ account. Finally, I offer a discussion of some recent proposals for a Confucian political philosophy, and examine to what extent each recognizes the fact of pluralism, sees it as a challenge, and deals with it in a persuasive manner. The paper concludes with a depiction of two major stumbling blocks that might stand firmly in the way of such a pluralism-accommodating political Confucianism.

In: Frontiers of Philosophy in China
In: Concepts of Philosophy in Asia and the Islamic world
The contributions to Concepts of Philosophy in Asia and the Islamic World reflect upon the problems implied in the received notions of philosophy in the respective scholarly literatures. They ask whether, and for what reasons, a text should be categorized as a philosophical text (or excluded from the canon of philosophy), and what this means for the concept of philosophy. The focus on texts and textual corpora is central because it makes authors expose their claims and arguments in direct relation to specific sources, and discourages generalized reflections on the characteristics of, for example, Japanese culture or the Indian mind. The volume demonstrates that close and historically informed readings are the sine qua non in discussing what philosophy is in Asia and the Islamic world, just as much as with regard to Western literature

Contributors are Yoko Arisaka, Wolfgang Behr, Thomas Fröhlich, Lisa Indraccolo, Paulus Kaufmann, Iso Kern, Ralf Müller, Gregor Paul, Lisa Raphals, Fabian Schäfer, Ori Sela, Rafael Suter, Christian Uhl, Viatcheslav Vetrov, Yvonne Schulz Zinda, and Nicholas Zufferey.
In: Concepts of Philosophy in Asia and the Islamic world