When it comes to Wittgenstein's philosophy of mathematics, even sympathetic admirers are cowed into submission by the many criticisms of influential authors in that field. They say something to the effect that Wittgenstein does not know enough about or have enough respect for mathematics, to take him as a serious philosopher of mathematics. They claim to catch Wittgenstein pooh-poohing the modern set-theoretic extensional conception of a real number. This article, however, will show that Wittgenstein's criticism is well grounded. A real (...) number, as an 'extension', is a homeless fiction; 'homeless' in that it neither is supported by anything nor supports anything. The picture of a real number as an 'extension' is not supported by actual practice in calculus; calculus has nothing to do with 'extensions'. The extensional, set-theoretic conception of a real number does not give a foundation for real analysis, either. The so-called complete theory of real numbers, which is essentially an extensional approach, does not define (in any sense of the word) the set of real numbers so as to justify their completeness, despite the common belief to the contrary. The only correct foundation of real analysis consists in its being 'existential axiomatics'. And in real analysis, as existential axiomatics, a point on the real line need not be an 'extension'. (shrink)
Wittgenstein criticizes Russell’s theory of logical types for involving the idea that our language must be anchored in extra-linguistic entities so that it makes a meaningful combination of signs. Calling it the “fallacy of meaning,” Wittgenstein self-consciously remains within the realm of signs. This issue of meaning vs. sign, however, has not been understood correctly, partly because of being viewed through the distorting lens of Russell. Siding with Wittgenstein, I will argue that our language does not go wrong because of (...) our “transgressing the (pre-established) rules of logical syntax.” It is rather because we just happen not to use a sign in accordance with the logico-grammatical rules we arbitrarily stipulate about it. The rules of logical syntax do not, as it were, flow from some extra-linguistic entities, or anything of that nature. “The rules of logical syntax must follow of themselves, if we only know how every single sign signifies.” In general, our language is accountable to nothing but itself in order for it to make the sense that it does. When it comes to logical syntax, our language is autonomous. (shrink)
In this essay I revise, based on the notion of the ‘enlightened ruler’ or mingzhu and his critique of the literati of his time, the common belief that Han Fei was an amoralist and an advocate of tyranny. Instead, I will argue that his writings are dedicated to advising those who ought to rule in order to achieve the goal of a peaceful and stable society framed by laws in accordance with the dao.
Several scholars have recently proposed that Confucianism should be regarded as a form of virtue ethics. This view offers new approaches to understanding not only Confucian thinkers, but also their critics within the Chinese tradition. For if Confucianism is a form of virtue ethics, we can then ask to what extent Chinese criticisms of it parallel criticisms launched against contemporary virtue ethics, and what lessons for virtue ethics in general might be gleaned from the challenges to Confucianism in particular. This (...) paper undertakes such an exercise in examining Han Feizi, an early critic of Confucianism. The essay offers a careful interpretation of the debate between Han Feizi and the Confucians and suggests that thinking through Han Feizi's criticisms and the possible Confucian responses to them has a broader philosophical payoff, namely by highlighting a problem for current defenders of virtue ethics that has not been widely noticed, but deserves attention. (shrink)
Feizi’s philosophy is usually represented as an amoral autocracy where the ruler is the sole political power and runs the state by controlling the people through rewards and punishments. While his system is formally autocratic, this article argues that the purpose behind this system bears some similarity to the republican political ideal of non-domination. In this interpretation, Han Feizi makes the ruler the sole power to mitigate the danger of the state being dominated by ministers. He does not employ republican (...) institutions, but attempts to discourage the ruler from using his power capriciously in order to increase order and security in the state, which are his ultimate political values. Han Feizi is not a republican, but this similarity suggests that when revised for today’s very different circumstances, Han Feizian philosophy’s focus on impartial law can make a contribution to contemporary Chinese political thought. (shrink)
It is commonly accepted that Han Fei studied under Xunzi sometime during the late third century BCE. However, there is surprisingly little dedicated to the in-depth study of the relationship between Xunzi’s ideas and one of his best-known followers. In this essay I argue that Han Fei’s notion of xing, commonly translated as human nature, was not only influenced by Xunzi but also that it is an important feature of his political philosophy.
This paper explores the relation of order and welfare for Han Fei's philosophy. It will be claimed that the Legalist did indeed show concern for the overall quality of life of society, claiming that his model state would lead to a substantial increase for the individual's welfare. On the other hand, although he acknowledges (and cares) for these positive consequences, Han Fei does not attach any value for legitimizing the system he proposes to them. Even if there were any value (...) attached to benefitting the people, it would be indirect. For Han Fei, a welfare does not legitimize the system but is a consequence of the ‘right system’. He is not concerned with letting the people live better for the sake of the people, but rather with having healthy and motivated subjects, as these are at the same time consequences of, and requirements for, a strong and stable state. The novelty of this paper is to interpret Han Fei's philosophy as welfare-maximization through a specific understanding of the role of virtue. (shrink)
Writing only decades apart, Han Feizi (ca. 250 BCE) and Kautilya (ca. 300 BCE) were two great political thinkers who argued for strong leaders, king or emperor, to unify warring states and bring peace, who tried to show how a ruler controls his ministers as well as the populace, defended the need for spies and violence, and developed the key ideas needed to support the bureaucracies of the emerging and unified states of China and India respectively. Whereas both thinkers disliked (...) the new merchants, Han Feizi seems content with a traditional feudal economy, whereas Kautilya wanted to use the state to increase production and the wealth in the king's treasury. Kautilya also had much more extensive discussions of war and diplomacy. (shrink)
Chapter 49 of the Han Feizi, entitled 'Wudu' ('The Five Vermin'), includes one of the earliest discussions in Chinese history of the concepts of gong and si: Han Fei (d. 233 B.C.) takes si to mean 'acting in one's own interest'. Gong is simply what opposes si. 'Acting in one's own interest' is not inherently reprehensible in Han Fei's view; but a ruler must remember why ministers propose their policies: they are concerned only with enriching themselves, and look upon the (...) ruler as nothing more than a resource to be exploited in their quest for material aggrandizement. The interests of the ministers and the ruler are diametrically opposed. Ministers <span class='Hi'>hope</span> for a comfortable career; a ruler must weed out the posers in his search for those rare and invaluable adjuvants who are genuinely capable of administering the state. In short, if si is the self-interest of the minister, gong is the self-interest of the ruler. (shrink)
Introduction: Chinese philosophy and the translation of disciplines -- The faces of masters literature until the Eastern Han -- Scenes of instruction and master bodies in the Analects -- From scenes of instruction to scenes of construction: Mozi -- Interiority, human nature, and exegesis in Mencius -- Authorship, human nature, and persuasion in Xunzi -- The race for precedence: polemics and the vacuum of traditions in Laozi -- Zhuangzi and the art of negation -- The self-regulating state, paranoia, and rhetoric (...) in Han Feizi -- Epilogue: a future for masters literature and Chinese philosophy. (shrink)
The legalism of han fei-Tzu has affinities with much of modern political thought, Particularly in its denial of an objective morality. Because legalism is modernism unmoralized, It shows clearly some of the less savory implications of the truisms we accept. Han fei's ideas are interesting in their own right, But it is also interesting to see these ideas in a comparative setting, That we might gain a broader understanding of modern political thought, Both of its merits and its limitations.
The most notorious and celebrated forger of the twentieth century, Han van Meegeren (1889-1947), was born in the Dutch town of Deventer. He was fascinated by drawing as a child, and pursued it despite his father’s disapproval, sometimes spending all his pocket money on art supplies. In high school he was able finally to receive professional instruction, and went on to study architecture, according to his father’s wishes. In 1911 he married Anna de Voogt. His artistic talents were recognized when (...) he soon after won first prize and a gold medal from the General Sciences Section of the Delft Institute of Technology for a drawing of a church interior. He agreed to sell this drawing, but was discovered by his wife making a copy of it to sell as the original. She dissuaded him from carrying out this small swindle, but the incident is the first evidence of an interest in faking, even if in this case the artist was merely forging his own prize-winning work. (shrink)
Neo-Confucianism of the Han and Tang dynasties is an indispensable part of the history of Chinese philosophy. From Han dynasty Confucians to Tang dynasty Confucians, the study of Confucian classics evolved progressively from textual research to conceptual explanation. A significant sign of this transformation is the book Lunyu Bijie 论语笔解 (A Written Explanation of the Analects), co-authored by Han Yu and Li Ao. Making use of the tremendous room for interpretation within the Analects, the book studied and reorganized the relationship (...) between the study of literature and the Dao and principles. It clearly shows an inevitable development of Confucianism, shifting its focus from phenomena to the nature of the heart-mind in order to comprehend nature and heavenly Dao, both of which cannot be heard (from Confucius). (shrink)
In this article, it is argued that Ch'oe Han-gi (1803-1877), a Korean Confucian scholar from the late Chosŏn, can be credited with finding the full philosophical significance of the notion of experience (kyŏnghŏm). At the same time, his philosophy of experience can be interpreted adequately in the context of not British empiricist but Confucian philosophical assumptions. There is both continuity and discontinuity in Ch'oe's relation to Confucian tradition. Unlike the Confucian traditionalist, he admitted that inherited knowledge and practice are potentially (...) fallible. Confucian tradition, though still reliable, becomes less important than the process of the world itself, in whose flux all experience must be repeatedly tested. For Ch'oe, humans imbued with configurative energy and with their capability for correlative thinking become skilled in experiencing the world directly without absolute dependence on past Confucian traditions. (shrink)
Song, Hongbing 宋洪兵, New Studies of han Feizi’s Political Thought 韓非子政治思想再硏究 Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11712-012-9265-2 Authors Soon-ja Yang, Inha University, 253 Yonghyeon 4-dong, Nam-gu, Incheon, South Korea 402-751 Journal Dao Online ISSN 1569-7274 Print ISSN 1540-3009.
Despite the scathing criticisms leveled at Han philosophy by orthodox Neo-Confucians and their latter-day scholastic followers, the most accurate characterization of many extant pieces of Han philosophical writing would be "critical" (rather than "superstitious") and "probing" (rather than "derivative"). In defense of this statement, three major Han philosophical works are examined, with particular emphasis on the treatment in these works of classical tradition and classical learning. The three works are the "Fa yen" (ca. A.D. 9) by Yang Hsiung, the "Lun (...) heng" (ca. A.D. 80) by Wang Ch'ung, and the "Feng su t'ung yi" (ca. A.D. 200) by Ying Shao. All three works are profoundly critical of beliefs and practices endemic to mainstream state-sponsored Confucianism in the Han. Good reasons lead Yang Hsiung, Wang Ch'ung, and Ying Shao to employ the dialogue, rather than the expository essay. Also, the particular styles of dialogue chosen by Yang, Wang, and Ying directly relate to the specific content of their varying critiques of contemporary forms of Confucian theorizing and practice. (shrink)
Han Fei was one of the main proponents of Legalism in Qin -era China. Although his works are mostly read from a historic perspective, the aim of this paper is to advance an interpretation of Han Fei as a “social scientist”. The social sciences are the fields of academic scholarship that study society and its institutions as a consequence of human behavior. Methodologically, social sciences combine abstract approaches in model-building with empiric investigations, seeking to prove the functioning of the models. (...) In a third step, social sciences also aim at providing policy advice. Han Fei can be read as operating similarly. First, he builds a model of the nature of men, the state, and its interconnections, and then he uses history as empiric ground to prove his models. Again, after studying society as a “raw fact”, Han Fei develops models on how to deal with “society”. This article examines the “social scientific” inclinations of Han Fei by re-reading Chapter 49 of his book and applying an analysis in “historical correspondence”. This article serves as a case-study in this new type of analysis that can prove fruitful for the advancement of comparative philosophy. (shrink)
One of Han Fei's most trenchant criticisms against the early Confucian political tradition is that, insofar as its decision-making process revolves around the ruler, rather than a codified set of laws, this process is the arbitrary rule of a single individual. Han Fei argues that there will be disastrous results due to ad hoc decision-making, relationship-based decision-making, and decision-making based on prior moral commitments. I lay out Han Fei's arguments while demonstrating how Xunzi can successfully counter them. In doing so, (...) I argue that Xunzi lays out a political theory restricting the actions of the ruler through both the use of ritual and law, which allows him to develop a theory that legitimizes government while at the same time constraining itself. Xunzi's political theory makes important strides in its attempt to recognize the importance of the ruler as a moral exemplar while also restricting his control in the political process. (shrink)
As we all know, the Silk Road, as a famous ancient transportation route, was a trade line cross-Eurasian continent in history. Its name was from the delivery of silk. However, no Chinese ancient documents mentioned the name of “Silk Road”. German F. V. Richthofen (1933-1905) firstly used the term “Silk Road” in his book China, published in 1877. Afterwards, the name of “Silk Road” has been accepted universally and used by the world widely. The Silk Road was an ancient business (...) channel, acrossing the middle of China and countries in Central Asia, gradually forming after Qian Zhang visited Western Regions twice, two thousand and one hundred years ago. The north-west land Silk Road started from Chinese ancient Capital Chang’an (now Xi’an), acrossing Central Asia, and reaching ancient Rome in Europe. It was a bridge for communication of politics, economy, and culture between ancient China and the Western. Before 11 Century, the Sino-Western silk trade mainly depended on the land transportation. During Han Dynasty, it was a competition between the Huns and the Hans for occupy the Silk road. The silk as a kind of material culture was a sort of intermediary for making people to know how to get along together.This article attempts to describe the Sino-Western silk trade conditions before and after the two missions of Qian Zhang to Western Regions (Xiyu), including archaeological evidences, kinds of silk and trade scale, transportation routes, trade participants, and so on. (shrink)
Compiling in one volume the basic writings of these three seminal thinkers of ancient China, each from a different philosophical school, this book reveals the richness and diversity of the ancient Chinese intellectual world.
This edited volume on the thinker, his views on politics and philosophy, and the tensions of his relations with Confucianism (which he derided) is the first of its kind in English.Featuring contributions from specialists in various ...