The article discusses Iris Murdoch’s philosophical relationship to Buddhism. First, we argue that Murdoch was not, and did not identify herself as, a Buddhist. Then we suggest caution regarding Murdoch’s interpretations of Buddhism. On the one hand, she applies the limited viewpoint of her era. On the other hand, her approach is motivated by insights tracing affinities between Buddhism and Husserl’s and Sartre’s analyses of consciousness, as well as Platonic ideas of unselfing and self-purification. Murdoch’s reflections on Buddhism serve primarily (...) a complex argument about the role of religion in our moral lives, as these reflect the rapidly changing Western cultural environment. She envisages the possibility for Christianity to learn from Buddhism and move closer towards demythologisation and a radical, loving commitment to the others here and now. While Murdoch’s observations may not be accurate as a ‘diagnosis of our times’, they serve as a valuable opening for reflecting on our lives in the suggested terms. They are also inspiring in their optimism that there is the possibility to learn from others (other cultures, other religions) for the better. The ‘muddled’ nature of our reality does not thwart this possibility of learning; it only makes its particular steps unpredictable. (shrink)
Cet article se demande si un dialogue entre la civilisation chinoise et Leo Strauss est possible et à quelles conditions. Il décrit le contexte d’introduction de Strauss en Chine, en se concentrant sur Liu Xiaofeng, l’un des straussiens les plus influents de la Chine contemporaine. L’analyse de son interprétation de la critique straussienne de la modernité occidentale fait ressortir deux distorsions fondamentales : là où Strauss considérait l’« enseignement tyrannique » comme quelque chose de théorique, Liu en fait un plan (...) d’action politique ; au lieu de reconnaître la modernité des bases idéologiques de l’État fondé par Mao Zedong, il les interprète au crible de la tradition. Cette double déformation contredit l’intention de Strauss en tant que philosophe zététique et socratique. (shrink)
In my essay, I critically discuss the work of the French philosopher and sinologist François Jullien. First, I reconstruct the social and political context from which Jullien’s thinking emerged in the late 1970 s and 1980 s. Second, I analyze a number of philosophical and sinological premises underlying his interpretation of Chinese and European thought. By comparing his interpretation of traditional Chinese thought with other approaches, it is possible to get a better understanding of Jullien’s creative appropriation of the other. (...) I conclude by pointing out perspectives for future research. (shrink)
Reorienting the Political examines the reception of two controversial German philosophers, Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss, in the Chinese-speaking world. This volume explores the powerful resonance of both thinkers in Chinese political thought from a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary perspective.
It is well known that the Neo-Confucian thinker Zhu Xi particularly emphasizes the role of emotions in human life. This paper shows that the four ‘moral emotions’ are central to Zhu's thinking, insofar as only their genuine actualization enables the individual to achieve spiritual freedom. Moreover, I discuss the crucial notions of ‘awareness’/‘perception’ and ‘knowledge’/‘wisdom’, in order to reveal the complex dynamic that moral emotions are said to create in the moral agent. I also analyse two important passages from the (...) Mencius and examine how Zhu Xi, in his exegetical glosses, defines the conditions of virtuous agency as based on the moral emotions. Finally, I explain the reasons why Neo-Confucians like Zhu Xi have sometimes been described as Kantian thinkers avant la lettre. (shrink)
This essay attempts to shed new light on the relation between language and world-view from the perspective of East Asia. Twentieth century European philosophers have often thematized the encounter with alien world-views and ways of living, and pondered on the multiplicity of human cultures. In the fields of hermeneutics, phenomenology and deconstruction, the alienness of the other even has become a sort of leitmotif for philosophers. And yet, the difference between the familiar and the alien has almost always been debated (...) in the European languages of philosophy, not by directly engaging the philosophical and religious discourses of the other. In my essay, I want to re-think the relation between language and world-view by engaging with Chinese philosophical and religious discourses. (shrink)
Kai Marchal nähert sich dem Thema auf dem Wege einer Erörterung der Geschichte der Adaption und Anverwandlung liberaler Theorien in China, um diese sodann am Beispiel des komplexen Verhältnisses von zeitgenössischem Neokonfuzianismus und demokratischer Politik zu vertiefen. Móu Zōngsāns 牟宗三 Rezeption und Transformation der Philosophie Kants, vor allem seine Interpretation des Begriffs der Autonomie, stehen dabei im Zentrum.
Ever since the seventeenth century, freedom had been defined as all great philosophy’s most private concern. Philosophy had an unexpressed mandate from the bourgeoisie to find transparent grounds for freedom. But that concern is antagonistic in itself.The normative ideal of freedom lies at the heart of the self-understanding of modern Western societies. The various dimensions of modern freedom are widely recognized as essential values; many or even most members of Western societies also assume the idea of freedom to be objectively (...) valid. Also, according to a very influential philosophical theory, namely liberal.. (shrink)
If philosophy has anything to do with wisdom there's certainly not a grain of that in Mind, & quite often a grain of that in the detective stories.This special issue of Philosophy East and West is dedicated to the topic of wisdom. It might appear to be a paradoxical endeavor to think about wisdom on the pages of an academic journal. As Ludwig Wittgenstein pointed out a long time ago in his somewhat peculiar, quixotic style, philosophers in the setting of (...) modern academia are not necessarily in the best position to make meaningful contributions to the question of what it means to be wise. We do not really know what was going on in Plato's academy, or whether the conversations there had much, if anything, to do with... (shrink)
In this essay, I argue for a historical-critical perspective on rationality. In our global age, we in the West need to come to terms with the fact that non-Western traditions have developed complex forms of practical rationality. I will first give an overview of what I call the “Confucian standards of reasoning.” Secondly, I will explain how the Neo-Confucian thinker Zhu Xi 朱熹 has rearticulated the earlier understanding of practical reasoning. Thirdly, I will demonstrate why a comparative perspective may enrich (...) our reasoned engagement with individuals in the Chinese-speaking world. In developing forms of global reasoning, we should make sure that these are neither parochial nor difference-blind. (shrink)
Until recently, most humanities scholars in North America and Europe lived in a world where China was notable for its absence. In the great debates of the 1990s and early 2000s on postmodernism, the end of history, the legacy of Marxism, and the future of liberalism, no Chinese contributions were heard, nor were they in the more recent debates on the relationship between Islam and the West, the post-secular age, genetic engineering, the digital age, or Speculative Realism. Only most recently, (...) with the changed geopolitical situation, are Chinese thinkers starting to receive more attention. In this context, Eric S. Nelson’s book Chinese and Buddhist Philosophy in Early Twentieth-Century... (shrink)
The topic of my dissertation is the political and philosophical thought of Lü Zuqian, one of the key players in the history of the "True Way Learning" in Southern Song China and a close associate of Zhu Xi. Focusing on core concepts in Lü’s writings like self-cultivation, imperial sovereignty, law, rites, institutions and reform, this study advances a new interpretation of Lü Zuqian's modes of thinking. The comparison of Lü Zuqian's political ideas to those of contemporaries such as Zhu Xi, (...) Zhang Shi, Lu Jiuyuan, Chen Liang and Ye Shi clarifies the political language and the political engagements of Daoxue thinkers. This case study tries to explain the fundamental nature of political Daoxue discourse between 1160 and 1180 and to shed new light on the interpretation of "Neo-Confucian" thought in general. (shrink)