Di er ci Qimeng (The second Enlightenment), by Wang Zhihe and Fan Meijun, is a timely book in Chinese about constructing a philosophical and practical way to contend with China's postmodernization. It combines Whitehead's process philosophy with a focus on Chinese modernity in order to map out a desirable postmodern society. It addresses the problem on several dimensions from policy making to basic value systems. The range of themes can be seen from the topics of the book's twelve chapters: (...) (1) Reverence for Land—Toward a Constructive Postmodern Agriculture; (2) Becoming Fully Human—Toward a Postmodern Organic Education; (3) Survival of the Harmonious-Toward a Constructive Postmodern Harmonious Culture; (4) Beauty .. (shrink)
A fundamental way in which human thought has developed has been constantly to explain the earliest "classics" that are the source of that thought. All in all, the number of such classics is not very high, their explanations are past counting. Moreover, they are constantly increasing, giving rise to an explanatory chain deriving from the classics. In the development of Chinese philosophy, this aspect is particularly noticeable, so that one can describe Chinese philosophy as a continual explanation of the classics. (...) This holds for both Confucianism and Daoism. The main classics of Daoism are the Laozi and the Zhuangzi. These two works have been constantly reread and reinterpreted throughout history. From the late nineteenth century onward, Chinese philosophy came into closer contact with Western philosophy. Foreign concepts were brought in to provide philosophers with new "insight." Some thinkers applied this new insight or these foreign concepts to the Daoist classics. In this way, they brought a new explanation of the Daoist classics and enriched the ways of interpreting the texts.1 Paving the way in this direction were Yan Fu. Zhang Taiyan, Liang Qichao, Wang Guowei, and Hu Shi. (shrink)
Hao Wang was one of the few confidants of the great mathematician and logician Kurt Gödel. _A Logical Journey_ is a continuation of Wang's _Reflections on Gödel_ and also elaborates on discussions contained in _From Mathematics to Philosophy_. A decade in preparation, it contains important and unfamiliar insights into Gödel's views on a wide range of issues, from Platonism and the nature of logic, to minds and machines, the existence of God, and positivism and phenomenology. The impact of (...) Gödel's theorem on twentieth-century thought is on par with that of Einstein's theory of relativity, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, or Keynesian economics. These previously unpublished intimate and informal conversations, however, bring to light and amplify Gödel's other major contributions to logic and philosophy. They reveal that there is much more in Gödel's philosophy of mathematics than is commonly believed, and more in his philosophy than his philosophy of mathematics. Wang writes that "it is even possible that his quite informal and loosely structured conversations with me, which I am freely using in this book, will turn out to be the fullest existing expression of the diverse components of his inadequately articulated general philosophy." The first two chapters are devoted to Gödel's life and mental development. In the chapters that follow, Wang illustrates the quest for overarching solutions and grand unifications of knowledge and action in Gödel's written speculations on God and an afterlife. He gives the background and a chronological summary of the conversations, considers Gödel's comments on philosophies and philosophers, and his attempt to demonstrate the superiority of the mind's power over brains and machines. Three chapters are tied together by what Wang perceives to be Gödel's governing ideal of philosophy: an exact theory in which mathematics and Newtonian physics serve as a model for philosophy or metaphysics. Finally, in an epilog Wang sketches his own approach to philosophy in contrast to his interpretation of Gödel's outlook. (shrink)
In this first extended treatment of his life and work, Hao Wang, who was in close contact with Godel in his last years, brings out the full subtlety of Godel's ideas and their connection with grand themes in the history of mathematics and ...
Connie Wang ABSTRACT: Accounts of deep disagreements can generally be categorized as optimistic or pessimistic. Pessimistic interpretations insist that the depth of deep disagreements precludes the possibility of rational resolution altogether, while optimistic variations maintain the contrary. Despite both approaches’ respective positions, they nevertheless often, either explicitly or implicitly, agree on the underlying assumption that...
This cogent and knowledgeable critique of the tradition of modern analytic philosophy focuses on the work of its central figures -- Russell, Carnap, and Quine -- and finds it wanting. In its place, Hao Wang unfolds his own original view of what philosophy could and should be. The base of any serious philosophy, he contends, should take as its point of departure the actual state of human knowledge. He explains the relation of this new tradition to mathematical logic and (...) reveals the crucial transitions and mistakes in mainstream Anglo-American philosophy that make a new approach so compelling.Equally at home in philosophy and mathematics, Wang is uniquely qualified to take on the task of critically examining modern philosophy. He carefully traces the path of ideas from Russell and Wittgenstein through the Vienna Circle to modern British and American philosophy, and makes use of his familiarity with the profound thought of Kurt GÃ¶del with whom he has had numerous discussions. He also presents the broader significance of Russell's philosophy, provides a comprehensive and unified treatment of Quine's work in logic and in philosophy, and delineates what is common between Carnap and Quine. (shrink)
In the summer of 1997 one could scarcely enter a bookstore in Beijing without encountering Wang Xiaobo's pensive and defiant look on the cover of dozens of books displayed at the entrance. Wang had suddenly died in the spring of that year at the age of forty-five. Born in Beijing in 1952 to a family of intellectuals, he remained attached to China's capital despite periods of separation, such as during the Cultural Revolution, when he was sent to Yunnan (...) to "learn from the peasants" and taught in a "people-run-school" in Shandong, and also during the 1980s, when he studied in the United States . Wang always returned to Beijing, in the late 1970s to study economy and business at the People's University and in the late 1980s to teach there. After retiring in 1993, he devoted his time to writing: poetry, novels, essays, non-fiction, and a movie script. (shrink)
ntroduction Since China’s gradualist reform started in the early 1980s, its governance record has been relatively successful. Despite a large number of severe challenges, the government in Beijing has managed outstanding economic performance and large-scale social transformation (Naughton 2007). Overall, the regime seems to enjoy relatively high levels of public support (Gilley 2006; Wang 2009), and a reform and state-building process controlled by the ruling Chinese Communist Party looks set to continue for the next ten to 20 years. One (...) key element of the Chinese political or governing system is management of its Party and government officials, or “cadres” in its own terminology. We argue that the Party-state’s personnel management features a meritocratic system that has so far largely evaded scholarly attention. This system retains strong influences from the Confucian scholar-official tradition of China’s imperial past, as well as the Leninist “vanguard party” tradition that was established in the revolutionary and Maoist eras. In recent years, however, this system has paid increasing attention to nurturing managerial competence for the purpose of administering a modern economy and a modern society. How the Party attempts to strike a balance between political loyalty and professional competence is the focus of this study. We will examine several aspects of the Chinese cadre management system. These include the formal rules, institutions, and actual practices regarding (1) recruitment, (2) development, and (3) promotion of officials. From this analysis we will understand how political loyalty and professional competence are defined and measured in the Party’s personnel regime, and how a balance is sought between the two. We will also look at the changes that are taking place in the relative importance, or weights, of these two criteria as the Party-state tries to build a modern governance machine. We find that while political reliability and commitment still feature prominently when the Party staffs the state and party bodies, rapid economic development and social changes have amplified the need for capable and competent managers and administrators, in order to deliver successful governance. Whereas in the past political loyalty played a crucial role for officials’ success within the state ranks, today professional competence has become more central. Whether this trend will continue, to a future state in which political loyalty becomes almost irrelevant, will be discussed toward the end of the chapter. (shrink)