This report discusses an unearthed text thought to be the lost Qi Analects (《齐论语》).
There are many images and metaphors that might serve as cores of conceptions of something for which one could use the English word “role.” One way to look for some is to look at words from other languages. I’ll look here at two, one from Greek and one from old Chinese.
Peimin Ni’s new translation-and-commentary on the Analects, Understanding the Analects of Confucius: A New Translation of Lunyu with Annotations, is due out soon: (SUNY, 2017). I have read the book in manuscript, and wrote the following blurb:
Peimin Ni’s translation of the Analects has many virtues that make it stand out as an exemplary version of this most important Chinese text. Ni has chosen to present the text as a living document, embedded in two thousand years of commentarial conversation over its meaning, with today’s readers very much part of that ongoing conversation.
Among other things, Peimin skillfully translates the text so that its potential ambiguity comes through, making sense of commentarial debates in ways that previous translations have not captured. Congratulations!
Michael (“Mick”) Hunter’s new book, Confucius Beyond the Analects (Brill 2017) has now been published. Congratulations, Mick! More information is here and below.
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
Jeong Yak-yong (Dasan), The Analects of Dasan, Volume 1: A Korean Syncretic Reading, Hongkyung Kim (tr. and comm.), Oxford University Press, 2016, 260pp., $85.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780190624996.
Reviewed by Richard Kim, Saint Louis University
Even among contemporary Western philosophers with an interest in East Asian philosophy, there are relatively few who are familiar with the works of Jeong Yak-yong (Dasan, 1762-1836), arguably the most brilliant mind in Korean intellectual history. The neglect of Dasan is in part due to the lack of English translations of his works. Hongkyung Kim’s translation and commentary is an important step toward introducing the writings of one of the most outstanding thinkers in Korean history.
Alexus McLeod – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “The Madman of Chu: The Problem of Mental Illness and Self-Cultivation in Early Chinese Texts”, Dec. 2 @ 5:30pm
THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY
Welcomes: ALEXUS MCLEOD (University of Connecticut)
With responses from: ANDREW MEYER (Brooklyn College, CUNY)
Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2nd at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:
“The Madman of Chu: The Problem of Mental Illness and Self-Cultivation in Early Chinese Texts”
ABSTRACT: In Confucian and Zhuangist texts of the Pre-Han and Han period, we see characters described as “crazy, mad” (狂 kuang), and find descriptions or discussions of madness or mad persons—most prominently the infamous Jieyu, “Madman of Chu”. I argue that madness is seen by Confucians and Zhuangists as a kind of moral deformity that moves one outside of the boundaries of ritual and society and thus full personhood—a fact that leads the Confucians to shun mad people, and the Zhuangist to praise them. Madness is seen not as a 病 bing (disorder, illness), but instead as based on a cultivated choice. Continue reading “Alexus McLeod – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “The Madman of Chu: The Problem of Mental Illness and Self-Cultivation in Early Chinese Texts”, Dec. 2 @ 5:30pm”
Here and there I have argued that Confucius did not think family virtue is the root of ren 仁; far from it. In defense of that claim I’ll now try to answer the question: how then do so many scholars think he did?
Confucius’ remark at Analects 1.6 is often cited to show that he thought proper moral development begins with filial piety and then extends that attitude to ever-larger groups of people (ever less intensely). I shall argue that the remark does not display such a view. Confucius did not in general envision moral progress as extension.
Many hold that for Confucius the family is the model for organized political society in some sense; that Confucius regarded the norms for relations beyond the family as largely based on the norms for relations with kin. Here I follow Joseph Chan in challenging that view.
Someone said to Confucius, “Master, why don’t you engage in government?” The Master said, “The Book of Documents says, ‘Filial! But be filial, and a friend to your brothers, thus contributing to government.’ Why then do that other kind of ‘engaging in government’?”
I’ll suppose for the sake of argument that the reported exchange is authentic, and argue that it is not significant evidence of Confucius’ views. Confucius is not aiming to communicate his views here.
Here are some reasons to think that Youzi did not regard family as the root of humanity or of the Way. (I used to think he did.)
Most of my argument focuses on defending a view held by Soothill, Leys, Chin, and maybe Lau and Slingerland: that by 弟 in Analects 1.2, Youzi meant elder-respect, a virtue commonly associated specifically with life outside the family. It would follow that according to 1.2, only one of the two parts of the root of humanity is specifically a family virtue. If 孝 and 弟 have something relevantly in common for Youzi, family isn’t it.
Did Confucius think that if one of us has general virtue, or some particular virtue such as courage or filial piety, that general or particular virtue will have a substantial tendency to spread directly to the people around her, even if she holds no government position?
Here I’ll survey Confucius’ statements in the Analects and conclude that the answer is No. Confucius probably did not hold that view. (I gave the opposite reading in both my published papers on Chinese philosophy.)
A writer from National Geographic has contacted me with a question, and I wonder if anyone out there has a better answer than I have so far come up with. She is working on an article that uses a quote widely attributed to Confucius, and wants to confirm the attribution. It is: “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” One source that I found on-line suggests that this is based on Analects 16:19 (“孔子曰：「生而知之者，上也；學而知之者，次也；困而學之，又其次也。困而不學，民斯為下矣！」”; ctext here.). This is indeed a listing of three ways of acquiring understanding or wisdom, but the rest doesn’t match very well.
Does anyone have any ideas? There are tons of Confucius quotations in other texts, and maybe this is one of them? Or maybe a loose/early version of that Analects passage? The writer’s deadline is 2pm EST tomorrow! Thanks for any help, which I will pass on.
Two quite different approaches to the Analects:
- Robert Eno’s “On-Line Teaching Translation“
- An on-line project to present “the Analects of Confucius for a modern American audience“
P. J. Ivanhoe’s new book, Confucian Reflections: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times (Rutledge, 2015) has been published. Congratulations! Click here for more information.
Prof. Alan Chan of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore is currently working on a six-week MOOC on Confucian Philosophy. The course is now open for registration on Coursera, and will begin on 28 Sep 2015. More details of the MOOC can be found here: https://www.coursera.org/course/ntucp.
Penguin has recently brought out a new translation of, and commentary on, the Analects, by Annping Chin. The Amazon page is here, at which one can get a good sense of the format and goals of this new translation. Considerable comentary is appended after each passage, with a combination of Chin’s own thoughts and comments from mostly post-Song (primarily Qing to the present) scholars. Chinese text is provided in an appendix. Anyone have any thoughts on this new translation?