Warp, Weft, and Way

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

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.

September 25, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | no comments

Leese Reviews Lloyd, The Ambivalences of Rationality

Michael Leese reviews G. E. R. Lloyd, The Ambivalences of Rationality: Ancient and Modern Cross-Cultural Explorations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018) at BMCR.

September 25, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, China, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | no comments

Gowans Reviews Fiordalis (ed.), Buddhist Spiritual Practices

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2018.09.08 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

David V. Fiordalis (ed.), Buddhist Spiritual Practices: Thinking with Pierre Hadot on Buddhism, Philosophy, and the Path, Mangalam, 2018, 328pp., $35.00 (pbk), ISBN 9780898001174.

Reviewed by Christopher W. Gowans, Fordham University

Pierre Hadot’s interpretation of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy in terms of “philosophy as a way of life” constituted by “spiritual exercises” has received considerable attention from scholars of the period as well as by persons who welcome his defense of a way of doing philosophy that is more practical than dominant academic approaches today. Though Hadot is not without his critics (for example, questions have been raised about the adequacy of his historical claims),[1] his approach also has been seen as a point of view for interpreting non-Western philosophies. This has been true especially of Buddhist philosophy. The present collection of essays, based on a 2015 conference, is a welcome addition to the increasing number of readings of Buddhist philosophy from the perspective of Hadot. I will briefly summarize the essays and then offer some suggestions in light of them on some ways in which Hadot may be beneficial for our understanding Buddhist philosophy.

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September 6, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Buddhism, Comparative philosophy | no comments

Using _Neo-Confucianism: A Philosophical Introduction_ in class

I used Neo-Confucianism: A Philosophical Introduction as the main textbook in a course on Neo-Confucianism this past semester. Student comments on the book (submitted anonymously as part of the teaching evaluation process) are available here. If any readers have used the book, Justin and I would love any further feedback! (I’d also be happy to share similar information about other course books, for other authors out there.)

July 22, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Neo-Confucianism, Pedagogy | no comments

Sassmann Reviews Chandler, Expressing the Heart’s Intent: Explorations in Chinese Aesthetics

In the Journal of East Asian Studies 18:2, Manuel Sassmann reviews Marthe Atwater Chandler, Expressing the Heart’s Intent: Explorations in Chinese Aesthetics (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2017). See here.

July 15, 2018 Posted by | Aesthetics, Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | no comments

Cokelet Reviews Bommarito, Inner Virtue

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2018.07.10 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Nicolas Bommarito, Inner Virtue, Oxford University Press, 2017, 208pp., $55.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780190673383.

Reviewed by Bradford Cokelet, University of Kansas

This clear, engaging book proposes a manifest care account of inner virtue and vice — an account explaining when and why inner states such as pleasure, pain, envy, and gratitude make us better or worse people. As far as I know, this is the only contemporary book devoted to the topic of inner virtue, and Bommarito admirably establishes it as an important and interesting one. In addition, it is worth noting that this book will appeal to non-philosophic and even non-academic audiences; the engaging style and numerous entertaining examples will make it easy and fun for readers to think about various inner virtues and join the search for a general account.

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July 11, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Buddhism, Comparative philosophy, Confucianism | one comment

Blake Reviews Moeller and D’Ambrosio, Genuine Pretending

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2018.06.18 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Hans-Georg Moeller and Paul J. D’Ambrosio, Genuine Pretending: On the Philosophy of the Zhuangzi, Columbia University Press, 2017, 221 pp., $35.00, ISBN 9780231183994.

Reviewed by Susan Blake, Bard College

“A romp through ‘the vast wilds of open nowhere'” — Roger Ebert

“Better than any existing work on humor” — Aristotle

“Nothing more than a success” — Guy Smiley

“A demonstration of nothing . . . in a technical sense” — Ford Prefect

“A tour de force through the ‘homeland of non-even-anything'” — Steven Colbert

This book presents a novel reading of the Zhuangzi that illuminates its humor and presents it as responding to philosophical concerns of its day. To the extent that these philosophical concerns are also those of the present day — the search for a sane and healthy response to the impossible demands of sincerity — we can, through the discussion here, gain an understanding of an alternative to the unsatisfying ethical approaches of both sincerity and authenticity. The book is impressive in bringing together diverse passages in this difficult text under one interpretation.

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June 18, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Daoism, Zhuangzi | no comments

Tucker Reviews Yusa, ed., Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Philosophy

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2018.06.13 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Michiko Yusa, (ed.), The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Philosophy, Bloomsbury, 2017, 391pp., $158.40, ISBN 9781474232692.

Reviewed by John A. Tucker, East Carolina University

This book is a valuable contribution to the rapidly growing field of Japanese philosophy. A nicely produced anthology, it includes a thoughtful introduction by the editor, Michiko Yusa, fourteen erudite essays subdivided into five sections, plus a convenient summary of the essays, notes on the contributors, an account of abbreviations and conventions, an appendix including two essays by Nishida Kitarō, a timeline with dates for the thinkers discussed, an index of Japanese texts cited, and a more traditional index, including kanji, of names and terms mentioned in the anthology. Overall, the scholarly apparatuses included make this volume an extraordinarily well-organized and helpful resource for those conducting scholarly explorations of Japanese philosophy.

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June 18, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Comparative philosophy, Japanese philosophy | no comments

Feature review of books on Ming thought

The latest Journal of Asian Studies (Volume 77 / Issue 2, May 2018, pp 500 – 506) contains a feature review titled “The Lively World of Ming Dynasty Thought” by Katherine Carlitz, covering three recent books on Ming thought:

  • Symptoms of an Unruly Age: Li Zhi and Cultures of Early Modernity. By Rivi Handler-Spitz. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2017. xiii, 239 pp. ISBN: 9780295741505 (cloth, also available as e-book).
  • Li Mengyang, the North-South Divide, and Literati Learning in Ming China. By Chang Woei Ong. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center, 2016. xi, 354 pp. ISBN: 9780674970595 (cloth).
  • Confucian Image Politics: Masculine Morality in Seventeenth-Century China. By Ying Zhang. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2017. xvi, 306 pp. ISBN: 9780295998534 (cloth, also available as e-book).

May 26, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Books of Interest, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Neo-Confucianism | no comments

Curzer Reviews Puett and Gross-Loh, The Path

Howard Curzer has reviewed Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh, The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life (Simon & Schuster, 2017) at the Los Angeles Review of Books; see here.

May 9, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | no comments

Song Reviews Ivanhoe, Oneness

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2018.05.05 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Philip J. Ivanhoe, Oneness: East Asian Conceptions of Virtue, Happiness, and How We are All Connected, Oxford University Press, 2017, 188 pp., $39.95, ISBN 9780190840518.

Reviewed by Bin Song, Washington College

At the center of East Asian philosophical traditions lies a conception of oneness signifying that “we — and in particular our personal welfare or happiness — are inextricably intertwined with other people, creatures, and things,” which Ivanhoe calls the “oneness hypothesis.” (1) While drawing upon the writings of East Asian, especially neo-Confucian, thinkers to elucidate the conception of oneness, this book aims to show how these traditional views “can guide us in constructing contemporary versions of the oneness hypothesis.” (3) In an era when human civilization is constantly alarmed by ecological crisis and societal disintegration, this book has great appeal particularly to those who are willing to employ comparative philosophy to tackle these menacing issues.

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May 8, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Neo-Confucianism | no comments

Lau Reviews Nelson, Chinese and Buddhist Philosophy in Early Twentieth-Century German Thought

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2018.04.10 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Eric Nelson, Chinese and Buddhist Philosophy in Early Twentieth-Century German Thought, Bloomsbury, 2017, 344 pp., $114.00, ISBN 9781350002555.

Reviewed by Kwok-ying Lau, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

In our present age of globalization, more and more people identify themselves as global citizens. To them, intercultural experience seems evident. Yet intercultural encounter in philosophy is still not yet a widely shared experience. This is particularly true in the West, where teaching and research in philosophy are organized basically in the same institutional setting as a century ago in which non-Western philosophies can hardly find their place. Seen in this context, Eric Nelson’s book has the great merit of drawing our attention to the experiences of some great forerunners in intercultural philosophy in Weimar Germany from the end of World War I to the rise of National Socialism in 1933. Nelson’s book is not merely a work on some historical episodes of intercultural philosophy but also a work showing the how of intercultural philosophy in itself.

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April 12, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Buddhism, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | no comments

Sanders Reviews Virág at BMCR

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2018.03.58 (on the BMCR blog)

Curie Virág, The Emotions in Early Chinese Philosophy. Emotions of the past. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. xiii, 219. ISBN 9780190498818. $90.00.

Reviewed by Ed Sanders, University of Roehampton (ed.sanders@roehampton.ac.uk)

Early Chinese philosophy is outside the usual range of BMCR’s interests, but this review considers the book from a Classicist’s perspective. The period covered by the volume is the early-5th to the late-3rd centuries BCE, the ‘Warring States’ period in China, when political disunity created the situations in which a number of philosophers and their schools could flourish. These schools were characterized inter alia by a wide range of views on emotion, and this volume examines the place of emotions within their various natural, psychological, ethical and political philosophies. The exact mix of these varies quite considerably between schools.
The introduction notes that the primary term for ‘emotions’ (qing) developed early in this period out of its earlier meaning of ‘how things are’, and includes both objective and subjective aspects. Lists of ‘basic feelings’ comprised some or all of “joy (xi), anger (nu), sadness (ai), delight/pleasure (le), fear (ju), love (ai), dislike (wu), and desire (yu)” (p. 6, Chinese characters removed). This suggests that other emotions might involve more complex mixtures of these – though the point is not developed.

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March 29, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Emotions | no comments

Crane Reviews Van Norden, etc.

Sam Crane has revved up his Useless Tree blog after a hiatus, with a review of Bryan Van Norden’s Taking Back Philosophy as well as posts on “Legal Exoneration: A Confucian Perspective,” “Mass Evictions in Beijing: What Would Mencius Do?” and “Thoughts on the Classic of Filial Respect 孝經 and Student Protest in Hong Kong.”

January 11, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, China, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Hong Kong | no comments

Burik Reviews Nelson, Chinese and Buddhist philosophy in early twentieth-century German thought

Steven Burik’s review of Eric Nelson, Chinese and Buddhist philosophy in early twentieth-century German thought (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017), has been published in the new journal Global Intellectual History.

December 10, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Buddhism, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | no comments

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