Will democracy figure prominently in China's future? If so, what kind of democracy? In this insightful and thought-provoking book, David Hall and Roger Ames explore such questions and, in the course of answering them, look to the ideas of John Dewey and Confucius.
Composed more than 2,000 years ago during a turbulent period of Chinese history, the Dao de jing set forth an alternative vision of reality in a world torn apart by violence and betrayal. Daoism, as this subtle but enduring philosophy came to be known, offers a comprehensive view of experience grounded in a full understanding of the wonders hidden in the ordinary. Now in this luminous new translation, based on the recently discovered ancient bamboo scrolls, China scholars Roger T. Ames (...) and David L. Hall bring the timeless wisdom of the Dao de jing into our contemporary world. Though attributed to Laozi, “the Old Master,” the Dao de jing is, in fact, of unknown authorship and may well have originated in an oral tradition four hundred years before the time of Christ. Eschewing philosophical dogma, the Dao de jing set forth a series of maxims that outlined a new perspective on reality and invited readers to embark on a regimen of self-cultivation. In the Daoist world view, each particular element in our experience sends out an endless series of ripples throughout the cosmos. The unstated goal of the Dao de jing is self-transformation–the attainment of personal excellence that flows from the world and back into it. Responding to the teachings of Confucius, the Dao de jing revitalizes moral behavior by recommending a spontaneity made possible by the cultivated “habits” of the individual. In this elegant volume, Ames and Hall feature the original Chinese texts of the Dao de jing and translate them into crisp, chiseled English that reads like poetry. Each of the eighty-one brief chapters is followed by clear, thought-provoking commentary exploring the layers of meaning in the text. The book’s extensive introduction is a model of accessible scholarship in which Ames and Hall consider the origin of the text, place the emergence of Daoist philosophy in its historical and political context, and outline its central tenets. The Dao de jing is a work of timeless wisdom and beauty, as vital today as it was in ancient China. This new version will stand as both a compelling introduction to the complexities of Daoist thought and as the classic modern English translation. (shrink)
In the second edition of this groundbreaking text in non-Western philosophy, sixteen experts introduce some of the great philosophical traditions in the world. The essays unveil exciting, sophisticated philosophical traditions that are too often neglected in the western world. The contributors include the leading scholars in their fields, but they write for students coming to these concepts for the first time. Building on revisions and updates to the original, this new edition also considers three philosophical traditions for the first time—Jewish, (...) Buddhist, and South Pacific philosophy. (shrink)
“The conception of culture and philosophy’s role within it developed in this work permits interesting formulations of a number of important issues and concepts: the relations between the utopian and utilitarian functions of philosophic theory; the character of the aesthetic and mystical sensibilities; the meaning and function of metaphor and of irony; the value of theoretical consensus; the nature of philosophic communication; and the distinctive relation of Plato and Socrates as a model for philosophic activity.” — David L. Hall With (...) Eros and Irony, David Hall re-evaluates the cultural role of philosophy, probing to the very heart of questions in epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of culture. Two central arguments structure the book: the first is that in modern culture the autonomy of the aesthetic and religious sensibilities has been seriously qualified by an overemphasis on narrowly rational moral interests. The second is that philosophic activity must be construed in terms of two conflicting elements: the desire for completeness of understanding, and the failure to achieve such understanding. Hall provides a historical survey of philosophic thought, encompassing Plato, Kant, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and Whitehead. He also avails himself of sources outside of philosophy, in such diverse fields as poetry, psychology, physics, and Eastern religion, to create a work that not only addresses key issues in philosophy, but also has deep implications for science, art, religion, morality, and cultural self-understanding. (shrink)
Searching for the meaning of “truth” in the Chinese tradition would not immediately strike one as a controversial activity. The signal prominence of the quest for truth in shaping the sensibility of Anglo‐European culture might easily suggest that the notion has had a similar import in China. But the fact of the matter is that scholars from China, Europe, and America continue to debate the question as to whether there is even anything like a concept of “truth” in China. On (...) the surface, the claim that the Chinese have no concept of truth appears outrageous – surely the Chinese tell the truth as often as we, and lie as often. Even granting that this is the case, it turns out, nonetheless, that the issue is not as easily settled as one might think. (shrink)
However much the Catholic Church may wish to free the peoples of the world from the excessive atheistic rationalism of the Englihtenment that has pitted science against religion, it is still in most other ways solidly on the side of modernity.Centesimus Annus endorses aform of democracy, akind of capitalism, asort of technological development, all of which are strongly undergirded by a resolute belief in human beings as rights-bearing individuals possessed of individual autonomy and a legitimate appetite for private property. The (...) themes of liberal democracy, capitalist free enterprise, and the proliferation of rational technologies form the common focus of both the Enlightenment and Anti-Enlightenment sensibilities.From a Chinese perspective, these culturally alien themes are viewed with suspicion. The Chinese are increasingly troubled by the corrosive effects upon their culture and social fabric associated with and embedded in the modernizing impulse. But, for a variety of reasons, it certainly seems that China will have little choice but to accommodate modernity in some sense, whatever the risks. The serious question is: Will China remainChinese under the conditions of modernization? (shrink)
Some of the authors of the essays on Chinese philosophers prefer the pin yin system of romanization for Chinese names and words, while others prefer the Wade‐Giles system. Given that both systems are in wide use today, important names and words are given in both their pin yin and Wade‐Giles formulations. The author's preference is printed first, followed by the alternative romanization within brackets.