Category Archives: Book Review

Behuniak Reviews Slingerland, Mind and Body in Early China

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….

Mills Reviews Dorter, Can Different Cultures Think the Same Thoughts?

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2019.04.14 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Kenneth Dorter, Can Different Cultures Think the Same Thoughts?: A Comparative Study in Metaphysics and Ethics, University of Notre Dame Press, 2018, 276pp., $50.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780268103538.

Reviewed by Ethan Mills, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Philosophers specializing in non-Western traditions today face a dilemma. On one hand, the virtues of encouraging non-specialists to engage with non-Western material are obvious: it enhances collegiality between specializations, opens up philosophically fertile comparisons, and creates more visibility for non-Western traditions among our mono-cultural colleagues. On the other hand, there are risks of non-specialist engagement with non-Western material: linguistic limitations, less familiarity with contemporary scholarship, lack of understanding of cultural and philosophical context, and a tendency to make sweeping pronouncements about non-Western traditions based on limited exposure.

Continue reading →

Defoort reviews Angle and Tiwald, Neo-Confucianism

Carine Defoort has published a review of Justin’s and my book Neo-Confucianism: A Philosophical Introduction (Polity, 2017) in Tijdschrift voor Filosofie 80(3): 591-592. The review is in Dutch, but Google translate (plus a little help from Carine!) did a pretty good job. Here’s one short passage:

Because these thinkers [i.e., the Neo-Confucians] propose a variety of insights that seem somewhat Western, they have never really aroused my interest: fixed order patterns in a changing world seemed to me a diluted variant of an all too familiar dualistic worldview. The careful and broadly varied representation of Angle and Tiwald has changed that.

Thanks, Carine!

Song Reviews Liu, Neo-Confucianism

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2019.03.33 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

JeeLoo Liu, Neo-Confucianism: Metaphysics, Mind, and Morality, Wiley-Blackwell, 2018, 316pp., $34.95 (pbk), ISBN 9781118619414.

Reviewed by Bin Song, Washington College

This book is clearly one of the greatest accomplishments among English Neo-Confucian philosophical studies in recent decades. JeeLoo Liu uses clear language and rigorous philosophical reasoning to analyze eight pivotal Neo-Confucian figures regarding three major areas: metaphysics, moral theory and moral practice. The book can be aptly used as both an introduction to Neo-Confucianism for beginners and a top reference for researchers, which is itself a rare achievement.

Continue reading →

Hongladarom Reviews Epistemology for the Rest of the World

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2019.03.30 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Masaharu Mizumoto, Stephen Stich, and Eric McCready (eds.), Epistemology for the Rest of the World, Oxford University Press, 2018, 295pp., $85.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780190865085.

Reviewed by Soraj Hongladarom, Chulalongkorn University

When I was a graduate student at the Department of Philosophy at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana back in the 1980s, I took the program’s required epistemology course. What struck me then was that its content was very much tied to the English language. It was not exactly the kind of English that I studied in my English major classes back home, but a simple one focusing on only a few words. The main analysis was of sentences such as “S knows that p”. Naturally, I came across the famous paper by Edmund Gettier, and I remember that I spent a large amount of time figuring out what was going on. Somebody had a true and justified belief that the man who will get the job has ten coins in his pocket, but in the end, he does not know that. I wondered what was going on. So I translated the whole thing into Thai thinking that doing so might help me understand the whole thing better, but to no avail. To a normal Thai-speaking person it was strange to think that such a scenario could ever happen. I remember that I had to impose the strangeness of the situation onto my intuition of English. Since I am not a native speaker, I assumed that English speakers might have some kind of intuitive understanding of how the word ‘know’ was used.

Continue reading →

Book Reviews by Bin Song

Bin Song (Washington College) has recently published reviews of two books:

Paul Tillich and Asian Religions. Edited by Keith CHAN Ka-fu and William NG Yau-nang (Boston: De Gruyter, 2017). “Asian Religions” here mainly refer to Buddhism and Confucianism. The review is published by the Journal of Interreligious Studies, and can be accessed through here.

Confucianisms for a Changing World Cultural Order. Edited by Roger T. Ames, Peter D. Hershock (Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press, 2017). The review is published by “Reading Religion” in the American Academy of Religion, which you can find here.

Ivanhoe Reviews Makeham (ed.), The Buddhist Roots of Zhu Xi’s Philosophical Thought

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2018.11.26 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

John Makeham (ed.), The Buddhist Roots of Zhu Xi’s Philosophical Thought, Oxford University Press, 2018, 354pp., $74.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780190878559.

Reviewed by Philip J. Ivanhoe, Sungkyunkwan University

This volume aims at answering important questions about the historical sources of Zhu Xi’s philosophical system; it includes a wealth of information about earlier, Buddhist philosophical writings and makes clear how some of these appear to have informed and influenced the development of Zhu’s philosophical system. I will very briefly describe the contents of the volume, highlighting some of the ways in which the various chapters fill out our understanding of how Chinese Buddhist philosophy provided sources and context for the development of Zhu’s thought. I then will consider what the volume aims to and does achieve.

Continue reading →

Le Blay Reviews Lloyd and Zhao, eds., Ancient Greece and China Compared

Geoffrey E. R. Lloyd, Jingyi Jenny Zhao (ed.), Ancient Greece and China Compared. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018. Pp. xv, 430. ISBN 9781107086661. £90.00.
Contributors: In collaboration with Qiaosheng Dong.

Reviewed by Frédéric Le Blay. See here for full review (in French) from the BMCR blog.

New issue of China Review International

The latest issue of China Review International has been published, and is available here. It is labelled Volume 23, Number 3, 2016; after being on hiatus for a while, the journal has lately been more active. This issue includes some reviews the will be of interest to WW&W readers, including my review of Ming-huei Lee, Confucianism: Its Roots and Global Significance; and Thomas Michael’s review of Michael D. K. Ing, The Vulnerability of Integrity in Early Confucian Thought.