Warp, Weft, and Way

Chinese and Comparative Philosophy 中國哲學與比較哲學

Behuniak Reviews Slingerland, Mind and Body in Early China

| 5 Comments

Jim Behuniak has published a review in Dao — currently “Online First” — of Ted Slingerland’s new book, Mind and Body in Early China: Beyond Orientalism and the Myth of Holism (OUP, 2019). The full review is available (I believe; this might only be for 50 people?) here: https://rdcu.be/buskr. The opening of the review:

I would like to confess my bias at the outset. Before even reading this book, I was predisposed to report that it was brilliant. Edward Slingerland’s cross-disciplinary work in the fields of Chinese philosophy, cognitive science, and metaphor—plus his contributions with respect to consilience in the humanities and natural sciences—establish him as a singularly important scholar and one that we are lucky to have as a contemporary. His 2008 work, What Science Offers the Humanities, was instrumental in shaping my own philosophical approach in two books that will soon be going to press. I regret not giving Slingerland more credit in those pages….

The problem with Slingerland’s work, however, is that it tends to have two distinct components: one positive, one negative. The positive generates real insights. The negative, however, generates unfair criticisms by hastily identifying specific individuals with large-scale, odoriferous tendencies “in our field.” When challenged on this practice, Slingerland will apologize, acknowledge his “inaccuracies,” admit to his own “sloppiness,” and retreat (see Slingerland, “Reply to Prof. Moeller’s Response,” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 10.4 [2011]: 537–539). In the present volume, given the sheer number of us implicated, mending fences might prove a little more difficult….

5 Comments

  1. I was supposed to get a pdf of this a while back from Jim, but seeing the preview here was the first I learned of this review, which I found rather intemperate. I’ve been invited to respond by Dao, the submitted version of my response can be viewed here:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/mqkgknyi84gdnng/Slingerland_response_to_Behuniak.pdf?dl=0

  2. Dao never told me to send you anything, Ted. They said they would forward it to you. Sorry for that confusion. Thanks for responding. I look forward to reading it.

  3. Thanks again to Ted for his response, and to WW&W for posting the review. I have written a reply, forthcoming in DAO:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1k0F8rQuGD1J9kSMaavq2zi2LH-Cb3Y2F/view?usp=sharing

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