Reflections on time and related ideas in the yijing

Philosophy East and West 59 (2):pp. 216-229 (2009)

This article reflects on important terms and concepts that constitute the cosmology of the Yijing: ji, tian, yin-yang , and the correlative aspects of temporality. These are familiar terms from the Yijing as well as other philosophical texts from ancient China. It begins with a comparative inquiry into Chinese and Greek attitudes toward time and then explores the related philosophical consequences. Although the ancient Chinese view of the world as temporal, processual, and relational may be found to be in contrast with Greek substance-oriented philosophy, it is argued here that we should revise some commonly accepted interpretations of Chinese terms. Without adequate reflection on temporality and process, many important terms may be misconstrued as atemporal and substance-oriented, which would be alien to the sensibilities of East Asian traditions. Thus, it is attempted here to gauge the adequacy of the prominent existing interpretations of these terms and ideas while giving an account of how such interpretations may be revised to better recognize the role of temporality and process. Specifically, it is proposed that the interpretations given here accord best with a conception of time as a spiral trajectory, as opposed to either the cyclic or linear conceptions of time usually considered dominant in the Yijing and ancient Chinese philosophy.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1353/pew.0.0047
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 48,902
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Trouble With Time.John Berthrong - 1994 - Process Studies 23 (2):134-148.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Anthropocosmic Vision, Time, and Nature: Reconnecting Humanity and Nature.Hongyan Chen & Yuhua Bu - 2019 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 51 (11):1130-1140.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
61 ( #148,553 of 2,309,725 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #758,532 of 2,309,725 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature