A Few Words on the Problem of Methodology in the History of Chinese Philosophy

Contemporary Chinese Thought 12 (2):81-86 (1980)

During the thirty years of Construction, studies in the history of Chinese philosophy have achieved great results, but not a few problems still remain. Those problems such as the problem of the subject matter, characteristics, and scope of the history of Chinese philosophy, the problem of the relationship between the study of the history of philosophy and real politics, the problem of evaluating the history of the ancient philosophers and their thought systems, the problem of critically inheriting the philosophical legacy, etc. may be subsumed under the general heading of the problem of the methodology of the history of philosophy, which in more concrete terms involves the question of how to use dialectical materialism and historical materialism in the study and synthesis of the history of the development of Chinese philosophical thought, revealing its objective laws. These problems have not been just discovered today. They have been discussed and debated now for a long time, but they have not yet been resolved. It could even be said that because of circumstances lacking in intellectual democracy, the more these problems were debated, the farther they strayed from the truth. The cause has been that the "high-level theoretical demands" of those such as Chen Boda and Guan Feng, who were continually cracking the whip and issuing warnings from their intellectual platform, did not allow you to really solve these problems. And in the hands of the "gang of four" the history of Chinese philosophy had even fallen to the level of being a tainted, filthy study of history. For this reason, as today we return to discussing the problem of the methodology of the history of philosophy, we must first use a proper line of thought to encourage intellectual, scholarly democracy and thoroughly liberate thought. Without such a premise, it will be impossible to fully examine and scientifically solve any philosophical social science problem at all
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Reprint years 1981
DOI 10.2753/CSP1097-1467120281
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