On “viewing things” and “viewing nothing”: A dialogue between confucianism and phenomenology [Book Review]

Frontiers of Philosophy in China 3 (2):177-193 (2008)
Abstract
In traditional Chinese expressions, guannian 观念 (ideas) are results of guan 观 (viewing). However, viewing can be understood to have two different levels of meanings: one is “viewing things,” that is, viewing with something to view; another is “viewing nothing,” that is, viewing with nothing to view. What are viewed in “viewing things” are either physical beings—all existing things and phenomena—or the metaphysical being (for example, the “Dao as a thing”). In both cases, something is being viewed. What is viewed in “viewing nothing” is the being itself, or “nothing,” in which there is nothing to view. According to Confucianism, the existence of “nothing” manifests itself as life sentiments, especially the sentiment of love, which is the very root and source of benevolence; moreover “viewing nothing” is, in essence, a perception of life. Life sentiments or the perception of life is “the thing itself ” prior to any being or any thing.
Keywords viewing  things  nothing  Confucianism  Phenomenology        儒学  现象学
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