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.
Martin Hofmann, Ph.D. (2007) is Assistant Professor for East Asian Intellectual History at Heidelberg University’s Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies. He has mainly published on historical cartography, practices of argumentation, and the text-image relation in late imperial China.
Joachim Kurtz, Ph.D. (2003), is Professor of Intellectual History at Heidelberg University. He is the author of
The Discovery of Chinese Logic (Brill, 2011), and has published widely on circulations of knowledge between China and Europe.
Ari Daniel Levine, Ph.D (2002) is Associate Professor of History at the University of Georgia. The author of
Divided by a Common Language (University of Hawai'i Press, 2008), he is currently the Editor of the
Journal of Song-Yuan Studies.
Acknowledgements List of Figures Notes on Contributors
Introduction: Toward a History of Argumentative Practice in Late Imperial China Martin Hofmann, Joachim Kurtz, and Ari Daniel Levine
Part 1: Comparison, Collation, Validation
1 Historical and Political Arguments: Debates on the Veritable Records in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) Peter Ditmanson 2 A Performance of Transparency: Discourses of Veracity and Practices of Verification in Li Tao’s Long Draft Ari Daniel Levine 3 Learning with Metal and Stone: On the Discursive Formation of Song Epigraphy Jeffrey Moser
Part 2: Visualization, Demonstration, Calculation
4 The Persuasive Power of Tu: A Case Study on Commentaries to the Book of Documents Martin Hofmann 5 Inductive Arguments in the Midst of Smoke: “Proving” Rhetorically and Visually That Algorithms Work Andrea Bréard 6 Keeping Your Ear to the Cosmos: Coherence as the Standard of Good Music in the Northern Song Ya Zuo 7 The Textual Nature of Nature: Astronomical Debates in Eighteenth-Century China Ori Sela
Part 3: Verification, Evaluation, Authentication
8 Identity Verification as a Standard of Validity in Late Imperial Civil Service Examinations John Williams 9 Standards of Validity and Essay Grading in Early Qing Civil Service Examinations Li Yu虞莉 10 Some Problems with Corpses: Standards of Validity in Qing Homicide Cases Matthew H. Sommer 11 Value and Validity: Seeing through Silver in Late Imperial China Bruce Rusk
Part 4: Corroboration, Refutation, Presentation
12 Philological Arguments as Religious Suasion: Liu Ning and His Study of Chinese Characters Pingyi Chu 13 A Moral Verdict of Reasonable Doubts: Ouyi Zhixu’s Argumentative Strategies in the Collection of Refutations against Vicious Doctrines Manuel Sassmann 14 Reasoning in Style: The Formation of “Logical Writing” in Late Qing China Joachim Kurtz
All interested in the intellectual history of late imperial China, and anyone concerned with the global histories of historiography, philosophy, science, religion, law, reasoning, and argumentation.