Intentionality of integration(誠)-from dualistic intentionality to yinyang intentionality

Sogang Journal of Philosophy 9:73-88 (2005)
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The Western intellectual tradition is accustomed to the separation between the human sphere and the sphere of nature, whereas in the East Asian intellectual tradition the two are considered continuous. For good or bad, the Western dualist outlook, which considers mind and matter to be fundamentally distinct, received much philosophical attention in modern times. But how is the East Asian tradition of non-separation to be philosophically expounded? The idea that the human sphere and the sphere of nature are fundamentally connected is attractive on many levels, but it appears to be in need of philosophical scrutiny. One of the key notions which any attempt to provide an adequate elucidation of the East Asian integrative outlook would have had to address is the notion of intentionality. For the idea of intentionality is placed at the center of discussions regarding the continuity — or lack thereof — of minds and bodies, and of nature and humanity. The present paper claims that the dualistic thesis according to which intentionality serves as a delineative mark which separates the mental from the physical and the human sphere from the sphere of nature is implausible (1st section). It further argues that the concept of intention, cheng(誠) of Zhungyong, can be taken to reflect the idea that all things have a mind as a capacity to process information at the appropriate level where they are placed (2nd section). Finally, it develops the view that the capacity for integration sustains a picture according to which integration is a case of yinyang intentionality (3rd section).



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