On Human Action and Practical Wisdom


In On Human Action and Practical Wisdom, Yang Guorong offers a description of his “concrete metaphysics.” This system seeks to overcome traditional metaphysical problems by providing a concrete basis - which serves as both the starting point and the final determining factor - for metaphysics. Yang gives a discussion of wisdom and practical action that begins in our everyday activities and social relationships, is extended to form universal principles, and finally refers back to actual situations for determining appropriateness.

Based on his unification of ontology, epistemology and axiology, Yang thus attempts to overcome the one-sided understanding of action in modern Western philosophy, targeting in particular the excessively linguistic, logical, and abstract focus found in the American analytic tradition.

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Y ang Guorong, Ph.D. (1988), East China Normal University, is Professor of Chinese Philosophy at that university. He has published dozens of articles and over ten monographs in Chinese, many of which are being currently being translated into English.

Paul J. D’Ambrosio, Ph.D. (2013), University College Cork, National University of Ireland, is Assistant Professor of Chinese Philosophy at East China Normal University. He has recently completed two monographs and has published numerous articles and translations.

Sarah Flavel, Ph.D. (2015), University College Cork, National University of Ireland, is Lecturer in Religions, Philosophies and Ethics at Bath Spa University, UK. She specializes in European, East Asian and Comparative Philosophy and has published articles and edited works in these areas.


Preface vii

1 Practical Philosophy’s Perspective on Action 1
2 Reasons, Causes and Action 33
3 On the Weakness of Will 55
4 Shi, the Background for Practice 81
5 Ji, Shu and Yun in Practice 102
6 Practical Reason and Its Principles 121
7 Practical Activities, Communicative Action and the Rationality of Practical Processes 146
8 Practical Wisdom 180

Index 213
All interested in contemporary Chinese philosophy, comparative philosophy or global philosophy, and anyone working in contemporary metaphysics.