The concept of structure as a basic epistemological paradigm of traditional Chinese thought

Asian Philosophy 20 (1):79-96 (2010)
Abstract
The theoretical work of European and American structuralism has produced a number of important elements which have resulted in (especially with respect to certain new, fundamental approaches in semantics, philosophy and methodology) essential shifts in the modes of thinking in the humanities, and in the cultural and social sciences. Despite these shifts, Western discourses have still not produced any integral, coherent structural model of epistemology. The present article intends to show that such a model can be found in the pan-structural epistemology of the modern Chinese philosopher Zhang Dongsun (1886?1973), and that the crucial, theoretical underpinnings of such models were developed much earlier in the history of Chinese thought, given that the bases of a structural approach to comprehension had already been established in ancient Chinese philosophy. This paradigmatic foundation (the concept li) was further developed and elaborated by various Chinese philosophers in later centuries as a crucial feature of the classical Chinese logic of binary analogies. The article also points out that the central binary concept of the Neo-Confucian tradition (i.e. the concept of structure and creativity; li and qi) has generally been interpreted as a dualism of idea and matter by Euro-American sinologists. However, such interpretations have overlooked an important feature of traditional, structurally determined Chinese onto-epistemology
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References found in this work BETA
A. C. Graham (1978). Later Mohist Logic, Ethics, and Science. School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
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