The Origins of Chinese Thought

From Shamanism to Ritual Regulations and Humaneness


From Shamanism to Ritual Regulations and Humaneness offers an account of the origins and nature of a uniquely Chinese way of thinking that, carried through Confucian tradition, continues to define the character of Chinese culture and society. Li Zehou argues that vestiges of the practices of early shamanistic ritual, rationalized in ritual regulations and internalized in morals and values, continue to shape Chinese thought and relationships. This outlook and its understanding of the world, the divine, ourselves, one another, what is right and what is good differ fundamentally from other world traditions. As an alternative to modern liberalism, it offers unique resources for addressing modern Chinese—and even global—philosophic and moral issues.

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Biographical Note

Li Zehou – Ph.D., Philosophy, Peking University. Currently affiliated primarily with Peking University and the University of Colorado, Boulder, Li has authored of dozens of influential publications on Chinese aesthetics, Chinese intellectual history, and moral theory, several already translated into English.

Robert A. Carleo III – Ph.D. candidate, Philosophy, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. M.Phil. Fudan University, Shanghai. Carleo has translated the work of several contemporary Chinese philosophers, including Li Zehou, Yang Guorong, Chen Lai, and Guo Qiyong.


Both specialists and non-specialists researching Chinese philosophy, comparative thought, intellectual history, or Sinology.

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