Warp, Weft, and Way

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

Discussion of Owen Flanagan’s The Geography of Morals

The widely-read ethics blog PEA Soup hosts regular discussions of recently published books (or more precisely, books recently reviewed for Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, which are themselves recently published). The featured book this time around is Owen Flanagan’s The Geography of Morals, a philosophical call to arms against parochialism in ethics that engages at length with Chinese philosophy. Check it out!

June 9, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Books of Interest, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, philosophy canon | no comments

Loy Reviews Ivanhoe, Three Streams

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2017.06.04 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Philip J. Ivanhoe, Three Streams: Confucian Reflections on Learning and the Moral Heart-Mind in China, Korea, and Japan, Oxford University Press, 2016, 250pp., $74.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780190492014.

Reviewed by Hui Chieh Loy, National University of Singapore

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June 5, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucianism, Neo-Confucianism | no comments

Crane Reviews Kim, Public Reason Confucianism

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2017.06.01 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Sungmoon Kim, Public Reason Confucianism: Democratic Perfectionism and Constitutionalism in East Asia, Cambridge University Press, 2016, 276pp., $99.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781107106222.

Reviewed by Sam Crane, Williams College

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June 2, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Comparative Political Theory, Korea | no comments

Rini Reviews Flanagan, Geography of Morals

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2017.05.29 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Owen Flanagan, The Geography of Morals: Varieties of Moral Possibility, Oxford University Press, 2017, 362pp., $40.00 (hbk), ISBN9780190212155.

Reviewed by Regina Rini, New York University

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May 30, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | no comments

Hutton Reviews Tan, ed., Methodologies Handbook

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2017.05.21 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Sor-hoon Tan (ed.), The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Chinese Philosophy Methodologies, Bloomsbury, 2016, 375pp., $176.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781472580313.

Reviewed by Eric L. Hutton, University of Utah

This 18-chapter anthology is potentially of interest to at least three distinct audiences: philosophers and other scholars whose primary focus is not Chinese philosophy, undergraduate and graduate students who aspire to become specialists in Chinese philosophy, and scholars who are already established specialists in Chinese philosophy. My review will be organized around what the volume offers and how well it serves each of these potential audiences.

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May 23, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | no comments

Harris Reviews Fraser, The Philosophy of the Mozi

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2017.05.07 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Chris Fraser, The Philosophy of the Mozi: The First Consequentialists, Columbia University Press, 2016, 293pp., $40.00 (pbk), ISBN 9780231149273.

Reviewed by Eirik Lang Harris, City University of Hong Kong

When I was a graduate student casting around for ideas for a dissertation topic, one of my mentors suggested that I find some topic X, generally denigrated in the literature, and formulate an argument of the sort, “X is not as stupid as it sounds.” In an important sense, this is what Chris Fraser has done in examining the early Chinese text the Mozi. He examines the philosophical ideas of the Mohists as they appear in this text and provides not only the most charitable account of their philosophical ideas to appear in any Western language but also the first book length treatment of this text by a philosopher in at least 50 years.

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May 8, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Mohism | 3 comments

Huff Reviews Vallor, Technology and the Virtues

This book is notable for drawing on multiple traditions of thought about virtue, including Confucianism and Buddhism…

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2017.04.20 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Shannon Vallor, Technology and the Virtues: A Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting, Oxford University Press, 2016, 309pp., $39.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780190498511.

Reviewed by Benjamin I. Huff, Randolph-Macon College

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April 27, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Confucianism, Virtue | no comments

New JCR issue with several reviews of Chinese philosophy books

Vol. 45, no.1 (May 2017) of the Journal of Chinese Religions is now available online, and it contains a number of articles and especially reviews that will be of interest to many readers of this blog. The Table of Contents is below.
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April 27, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, China, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Religion, Tables of Contents | no comments

Review of Pang-White’s handbook of Chinese philosophy & gender

Here is Sarah Mattice’s review of Ann Pang-White’s Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Chinese Philosophy and Gender, published in Hypatia Reviews Online.

March 29, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Feminism, Gender | no comments

Angle reviews Kim, Public Reason Confucianism

My review of Sungmoon Kim, Public Reason Confucianism: Democratic Perfectionism and Constitutionalism in East Asia (Cambridge, 2016) recently appeared in Ethics 127:3. The first paragraph of the review follows. A pre-publication version of the whole review is available here.
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March 21, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Comparative Political Theory, Contemporary Confucianism, Korea, Political Theory | no comments

Perkins Reviews Harris, The Shenzi Fragments

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2017.03.05 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Eirik Lang Harris, The Shenzi Fragments: A Philosophical Analysis and Translation, Columbia University Press, 2016, 173pp., $55.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780231177665.

Reviewed by Franklin Perkins, University of Hawai’i at Manoa

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March 7, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, China, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative Political Theory, Legalism, Mohism, Politics, Xunzi | one comment

R. Kim Reviews H. Kim’s Translation of Dasan on the Analects

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2017.01.16 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR 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.

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January 20, 2017 Posted by | Analects, Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucianism, Korean Philosophy | 2 comments

Tagore reviews Comparative Philosophy without Borders

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2016.07.25 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Arindam Chakrabarti and Ralph Weber (eds.), Comparative Philosophy without Borders, Bloomsbury, 2016, 246pp., $112.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781472576255.

Reviewed by Saranindranath Tagore, National University of Singapore

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July 29, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | no comments

Liu Reviews Bruya, The Philosophical Challenge from China

In the current issue of Metaphilosophy (47:3), JeeLoo Liu has published a review of Brian Bruya, ed., The Philosophical Challenge from China (MIT, 2015). She gives paragraph-long summaries of each of the thirteen chapters, and then concludes with some critical remarks, which I will excerpt below.

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July 11, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, China, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | one comment

He Li reviews Ma on contemporary Chinese thought

See here for He Li’s review of Leading Schools of Thought in Contemporary China by Ma Licheng (translated by Jing L. Liu).

June 20, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, China, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Contemporary Confucianism | no comments

Volume of Reviews Published On-Line

I am very happy to announce that a collection of fifteen review essays — all written by my students — has now been published on-line. The volume is titled Comparative Philosophy: Reviewing the State of the Art, and is available here. I have also written an Introduction that reflects on the changing nature of comparative philosophy today. The Table of Contents for the book appears below.

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June 15, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Books of Interest, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | 2 comments

Romano Review The Path

Carlin Romano reviews Puett and Gross-Loh, The Path, in The Chronicle.

June 14, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学 | no comments

Chinese-language books for review at Dao

Bai Tongdong, Chinese-language book review editor at Dao, hereby shares a list of books that Dao is interested in reviewing. If you would like to review one (or more) of these books, please contact Professor Bai.

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June 9, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Books of Interest, China, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Journal Related | no comments

Petersen Reviews Lloyd, Analogical Investigations

G. E. R. Lloyd, Analogical Investigations. Historical and Cross-cultural Perspectives on Human Reasoning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Pp. vi, 139. ISBN 9781107518377. $34.99 (pb).

Reviewed by Anders Klostergaard Petersen, University of Aarhus (akp@cas.au.dk)

Review is here.

May 19, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | no comments

Van Norden Reviews McLeod, Theories of Truth in Chinese Philosophy

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2016.05.18 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Alexus McLeod, Theories of Truth in Chinese Philosophy: A Comparative Approach, Roman and Littlefield, 2016, 197pp., $39.95 (pbk), ISBN 9781783483457.

Reviewed by Bryan W. Van Norden, Vassar College

This book provides an overview of philosophical theories of truth and semantics in ancient China, using contemporary analytic philosophy of language as an interpretive framework. The discussion is limited to Chinese philosophy prior to the intellectual revolution caused by Buddhism. However, the period Alexus McLeod focuses on (551 BCE-220 CE) is philosophically rich. This book is accessible to mainstream philosophers, generally well argued, and plausible in most of its conclusions.

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May 19, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Philosophy of language | no comments

Foust Reviews Virtue Ethics and Confucianism

Mat Foust has published a review of Stephen C. Angle and Michael Slote, eds., Virtue Ethics and Confucianism (Routledge, 2013) in the Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies. The full text of the review is available on-line here (look for “Book Review 4”). Thanks, Mat!

May 4, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Confucianism, Contemporary Confucianism, Virtue | no comments

Brons and Mou Discuss McLeod on Truth in Early China

Two essays discuss Alexus McLeod’s work on Wong Chong and “truth,” and Alexus replies, in Comparative Philosophy 6:1; these essays are not directed to Alexus’s recently-published book (Theories of Truth in Chinese Philosophy: A Comparative Approach [Rowman & Littlefield International, 2015]), but the dialogue is still valuable.

  • WANG CHONG, TRUTH, AND QUASI-PLURALISM
    Lajos L. BRONS
  • ROOTED AND ROOTLESS PLURALIST APPROACHES TO TRUTH:TWO DISTINCT INTERPRETATIONS OF WANG CHONG’S ACCOUNT
    Bo MOU
  • REPLIES TO BRONS AND MOU ON WANG CHONG AND PLURALISM
    Alexus MCLEOD

 

May 2, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | no comments

Van Eyghen reviews Bruya, ed., The Philosophical Challenge from China

Hans Van Eyghen reviews Brian Bruya, ed., The Philosophical Challenge from China (MIT, 2015) in Comparative Philosophy 7:1.

May 2, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | no comments

Book Review: Jenco, Changing Referents

Xinyu Li reviews Leigh Jenco, Changing Referents: Learning Across Space and Time in China and the West (OUP, 2015) here.

March 31, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, China, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Comparative Political Theory | no comments

Allen’s Striking Beauty reviewed at NDPR

Barry Allen’s Vanishing Into Things (Harvard, 2015) on Chinese epistemology was reviewed at NDPR last June; now comes a review of his other 2015 book:

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2016.03.18 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Barry Allen, Striking Beauty: A Philosophical Look at the Asian Martial Arts, Columbia University Press, 2015, 252pp., $30.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780231172721.

Reviewed by Evan Thompson, University of British Columbia

Striking Beauty is an exciting, groundbreaking work. It is the first Anglophone philosophy book to focus on the Asian martial arts. It sympathetically and insightfully examines the values and presuppositions of these disciplines. It ranges across ethics, aesthetics, action theory, the philosophy of sport, Greek philosophy, Spinoza, Deleuze, cognitive science, and Chinese philosophy. Barry Allen’s experience as a devoted martial arts practitioner shines through the writing. He presents the Asian martial arts not just as a new subject matter for philosophy but also and more importantly as a new setting for doing cross-cultural philosophy. The result is an original and inspiring work that philosophers and martial arts practitioners will read for many years to come.

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March 21, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Martial Arts | no comments

Rosenlee Reviews Rosemont, Against Individualism

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2016.02.02 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Henry Rosemont Jr., Against Individualism: A Confucian Rethinking of the Foundations of Morality, Politics, Family, and Religion, Lexington Books, 2015, 190pp., $85.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780739199800.

Reviewed by Li-Hsiang Lisa Rosenlee, University of Hawaii, West Oahu

This book has ten chapters and can be roughly divided into two parts: the first five chapters focus on the discussion of many problematics of the Western notion of individualism; and the second half is devoted to the Confucian role-based alternative. This book can be seen as a culmination of Henry Rosemont Jr.’s decades of work in the field of comparative philosophy. His critique of Western individualism along with his search for Confucian spirituality as an alternative stretches back to his early works such as A Chinese Mirror: Moral Reflections on Political Economy and Society (Open Court, 1991), “Human Rights: A Bill of Worries” (in Confucianism and Human Rights, Columbia University Press, 1998) and Rationality and Religious Experience: The Continuing Relevance of the World’s Spiritual Traditions (Open Court 2001). Against Individualism is a natural progression of all these early groundworks that Rosemont has laid along the way.

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February 5, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Confucianism, Politics | 8 comments

New Reviews in The China Journal

The latest issue of The China Journal has some book reviews that will interest many:

  • Review Essay: Modernity and the Chinese Moral Crisis, by Andrew B. Kipnis (reviewing Moral China in the Age of Reform, by Jiwei Ci; and The Stranger and the Chinese Moral Imagination, by Haiyan Lee.)
  • Bryce Kositz reviews Politics and Traditional Culture: The Political Use of Traditions in Contemporary China, by Janette Ai (Singapore: World Scientific, 2015).
  • Vanessa L. Fong reviews Ordinary Ethics in China, edited by Charles Stafford (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013).

January 22, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, China, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Politics | no comments

Hutton Reviews El Amine, Classical Confucian Political Thought

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2016.01.17 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Loubna El Amine, Classical Confucian Political Thought: A New Interpretation, Princeton University Press, 2015, 218pp., $39.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780691163048.

Reviewed by Eric L. Hutton, University of Utah

This book’s subtitle, A New Interpretation, provides a convenient starting point for discussing its aims, methods, strengths and weaknesses. The interpretation offered aims to be new not merely in the sense that it argues for a view that previously has not (or not much) been defended by other scholars, but moreover and especially in that it aims to challenge claims made by other scholars. So described, the book might sound like it is primarily for specialists in ancient Chinese thought, and while Loubna El Amine never identifies her target audience very clearly, at points she also provides basic background information that would allow non-specialists to follow along. The book is thus potentially of interest to non-specialists as well, such as Western political philosophers and theorists who know little about Confucian political thought and want a compact and accessible discussion of Confucianism that speaks to their interests. This review will focus on those aspects in which the book addresses a specialist audience, but my discussion is equally for the benefit of non-specialists. As will become apparent from the reservations I express below, the value of the book for non-specialists needs to be carefully qualified, in a way to be explained at the end.

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January 21, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Comparative Political Theory, Confucianism | one comment

Bai Review Bell, The China Model

Bai Tongdong of Fudan University has review Daniel Bell’s The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2015) at NDPR. Read on for the link and for the full review.

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January 14, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, China, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative Political Theory, Politics | no comments

Review of Ziporyn’s Books on Coherence

My review of Brook Ziporyn’s two-volume study of Chinese philosophy through the lens of “coherence” has now been published, and should be available to those with access to Dao. Here’s the first paragraph of the review:

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January 7, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Buddhism, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Confucianism, Daoism | 4 comments

Review of Dallmayr’s Being in the World

Loubna El Amine has published a review (available here) of Fred Dallmayr’s Being in the World: Dialogue and Cosmopolis (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 2013). In light of El Amine’s remarks at the end of the review about the central place still occupied in Dallmayr’s theorizing by Western theory, it may be fruitful to compare with Leigh Jenco’s new book.

November 28, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Comparative philosophy, Comparative Political Theory | no comments

Wong Reviews Cline, Families of Virtue

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2015.11.28 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Erin M. Cline, Families of Virtue: Confucian and Western Views on Childhood Development, Columbia University Press, 2015, 342pp., $30.00 (pbk), ISBN 9780231171557 .

Reviewed by David B. Wong, Duke University

This book attributes to early Confucianism the view that the parent-child relationship has a “unique and irreplaceable” role in early moral development (xi) and goes on to argue that this view is right. In the course of making this argument Erin M. Cline provides careful and perceptive comparative readings of early Confucian texts and a very wide range of texts in the Western tradition, from Plato, Aristotle, Locke, and Rousseau to contemporary feminists, to show how unusual and in-depth the insights of Confucian thinkers were. She draws from a wide range of empirical studies to support the Confucian view. There is much in this book that will be of value to anyone with interests in the fields of the philosophy and psychology of moral development, feminist care ethics, and comparative ethics. Cline’s comparison of Confucian and feminist views, which have the most to say about parent-child relationships, is informative and balanced. It is not clear that she has fully established the unique and irreplaceable role of the parent-child relationship, but Cline surely has given enough argument to establish that the relationship is one of the most important factors, perhaps the most important single factor, in moral development, and she raises good questions as to why U.S. society largely neglects its importance in its public policies.

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November 28, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Books of Interest, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Confucianism | no comments

Seok reviews Slingerland, Trying Not to Try

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2015.11.05 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Edward Slingerland, Trying Not to Try: The Art and Science of Spontaneity, Crown, 2014, 295pp., $26.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780770437619.

Reviewed by Bongrae Seok, Alvernia University

In his recent book, Edward Slingerland explains and analyzes one of the unique ideas of Chinese philosophy, viz., wu-wei (無爲). The term is used mostly in Daoist texts, but the concept is discussed broadly in many schools of Chinese philosophy. Wu-wei is usually translated as non-action or non-doing, but it does not mean not doing anything. Rather it means doing things in a spontaneous and natural manner. If you act without a strongly imposed or premeditated intention or will, you are very close to the natural flow of wu-wei. Chinese philosophy, whether it is Confucianism or Daoism, focuses on the question of living a meaningful and happy life with a sustained effort to achieve natural spontaneity. Yet this specific ideal of spontaneity hasn’t been fully articulated and explained in philosophy. With his broad understanding of Chinese philosophy and cognitive science, Slingerland provides a coherent picture of how the ancient Chinese wisdom of wu-wei can be defined, explained, and promoted.

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November 4, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | no comments

Review of Beiser on the making of modern philosophy

Those of us interested in modern Chinese “philosophy” should pay attention to Frederick Beiser’s new book, reviewed recently on NDPR (see below), since it enables us to recognize some fascinating, albeit partial, parallels between the challenges faced by those seeking to reconstitute Confucianism (and other traditions) as “philosophy,” on the one hand, and the challenges faced in Europe by those seeking to retain or recreate a role for “philosophy” in the face of developments in modern science. Many have been critical of the narrowing and professionalization that characterize modern Confucian “philosophy,” often by criticizing it as problematically “Westernized.” Beiser helps us see more clearly that the current state of “Western” philosophy is also contingent, a result of efforts to respond to major existential challenges.

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2015.10.27 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Frederick C. Beiser, The Genesis of Neo-Kantianism, 1796-1880, Oxford University Press, 2014, 610pp., $99.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198722205.

Reviewed by Lydia Patton, Virginia Tech

This book is about a group of philosophers faced with existential challenges to philosophy. In their lifetimes, the successes of scientific explanation had resulted in conflicts between religion and science and between science and philosophy. Materialist and naturalist scientific explanations, including Darwinism, materialism about consciousness, and the physiology of perception imperiled religious views about the origin and special status of humankind and aesthetic views about the qualitative character of consciousness. The practical and academic success of science threatened philosophy itself. Philosophy, once the “mother” of the sciences, now was excluded from the sciences altogether and was thrust into an identity crisis. Academic philosophers had to defend the right of their departments to exist as psychologists were hired for positions in philosophy departments. Philosophy was threatened with obsolescence.

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October 29, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Books of Interest, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | 2 comments

More on Bell’s “China Model”

Last week Daniel Bell published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, “Troubles for the ‘China Model’: Meritocracy has worked for Beijing, but to survive, the system needs more openness.”  And you might also be interested in this review by Thomas Kelloggg, on ChinaFile.

October 8, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, China, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative Political Theory | no comments

Siderits Reviews The Moon Points Back

Another work of comparative philosophy engaging with various streams of Buddhism:

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2015.09.22 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Koji Tanaka, Yasuo Deguchi, Jay L. Garfield and Graham Priest (eds.), The Moon Points Back, Oxford University Press, 2015, 285pp., $35.00 (pbk), ISBN 9780190226879.

Reviewed by Mark Siderits (retired), Seoul National University

This is a collection of essays in what some call ‘analytic Asian philosophy’, an enterprise that uses tools and techniques of the analytic tradition in investigating one or another school of classical Asian philosophy. Here the focus is on the Buddhist tradition. All but two of the essays concern the doctrine of emptiness that first appeared in the Indian Buddhist Madhyamaka school but underwent significant development in various schools of Tibetan and East Asian Buddhism (that of the modern Kyoto School being the most recent East Asian manifestation).

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September 21, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Buddhism, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | no comments

Review of another book with big Comp-Phil aspect

Graham Priest’s One draws substantially on Buddhist philosophy (Indian and Chinese), among other things. Read on for Jason Turner’s review…

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2015.09.15 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Graham Priest, One: Being an Investigation into the Unity of Reality and of its Parts, including the Singular Object which is Nothingness, Oxford University Press, 2014, 252pp., $65.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780199688258.

Reviewed by Jason Turner, Saint Louis University

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September 16, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Buddhism, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | no comments

Goodman Reviews Garfield

Not really Chinese philosophy, but very interesting on comparative philosophy….

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2015.09.02 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Jay L. Garfield, Engaging Buddhism: Why It Matters to Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2015, 376pp., $29.95 (pbk), ISBN 9780190204341.

Reviewed by Charles Goodman, Binghamton University

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September 2, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Buddhism, Comparative philosophy | no comments

Weber Reviews Jullien

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2015.08.43 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

François Jullien, On the Universal, the Uniform, the Common and Dialogue between Cultures, Polity, 2014, 189pp., $29.95 (pbk), ISBN 9780745646237.

Reviewed by Ralph Weber, University of Basel

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September 1, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | no comments

Slingerland Reviews Flanagan

A new review on NDPR:

Flanagan, Owen. Moral Sprouts and Natural Teleologies: 21st Century Moral Psychology Meets Classical Chinese Philosophy, Marquette University Press, 2014, 119pp., $15.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780874621853.

Reviewed by Edward Slingerland, University of British Columbia

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August 24, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Books of Interest, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Moral Psychology | no comments

Adler reviews Chinese Metaphysics and Its Problems

Chenyang Li and Franklin Perkins (eds.), Chinese Metaphysics and Its Problems, Cambridge University Press, 2015, 242 pp., $95.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781107093508.

Reviewed by Joseph A. Adler, Professor Emeritus of Asian Studies and Religious Studies, Kenyon College

Read on-line at NDPR.

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July 15, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Metaphysics, Neo-Confucianism | no comments

New Book: Daniel Bell, The China Model

Daniel A. Bell’s new book, The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy (Princeton, 2015) has been published. Amazon is here. Unsurprisingly, the book is occasioning considerable discussion. One early review is here. Comments (and references to other reviews) are welcome!

July 7, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Books of Interest, China, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Comparative Political Theory, Contemporary Confucianism, Politics | one comment

Review of new book on virtue with Chinese perspectives

Erica Lucast Stonestreet’s review at NDPR of Nancy E. Snow (ed.), Cultivating Virtue: Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology, and Psychology (Oxford University Press, 2015) highlights Ted Slingerland’s contribution to the volume, nicely bringing Chinese philosophy into this broader conversation.

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Moral Psychology, Virtue | no comments

Rosemont Reviews Allen, Vanishing Into Things

Henry Rosemont’s review of Barry Allen’s new book on Chinese epistemology, Vanishing Into Things (Harvard University Press, 2015), has just been published at NDPR. Looks terrific!

June 18, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Books of Interest, Buddhism, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Epistemology, Military, Neo-Confucianism | no comments

New (?) Book Reviews at China Review International

It has just come to my attention that Volume 19, Number 4 of Chinese Review International has been published. This is dated 2012, but they have been running behind. I’m not sure how recently this issue was published, but anyway it’s new to me, and perhaps to some readers. Several recent books in Chinese philosophy are reviewed, including works by Jiang Qing, Michael Ing, Paul Fraser, and more. For those without institutional access, Yuri Pines’s review of Jiang Qing is also available on his Academia.edu site.

June 11, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | 6 comments

Sung in NDPR on Hutton’s Xunzi

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2015.03.16 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Xunzi, XunziThe Complete Text, Eric L. Hutton (tr.), Princeton University Press, 2014, xxxi+ 397pp., $39.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780691161044.

Reviewed by Winnie Sung, Nanyang Technological University

Continue reading “Sung in NDPR on Hutton’s Xunzi”

March 11, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucianism, Translation, Xunzi | no comments

El Amine Reviews Kim, Confucian Democracy in East Asia

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2015.02.31 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Sungmoon Kim, Confucian Democracy in East Asia: Theory and Practice, Cambridge University Press, 2014, 321pp., $29.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781107641211.

Reviewed by Loubna El Amine, Georgetown University

Sungmoon Kim’s book offers an important and passionate defense of democracy, especially as it applies to East Asian countries. It moves the current debate on the topic from the question of whether democracy is relevant to, and compatible with, the East Asian context, to the question of “the particular mode of Confucian democracy” that is suitable for East Asia (247). In other words, the starting premise of Kim’s inquiry is the simple fact that democracy does already exist in that part of the world, including in South Korea, Taiwan, and (“arguably,” according to Kim), in Hong Kong (247). The question then is, what form of democracy does, will, and should work in East Asia?

Continue reading “El Amine Reviews Kim, Confucian Democracy in East Asia”

February 23, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Books of Interest, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Comparative Political Theory, Korea, Political Theory, Politics | no comments

Review of Crane, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Dao

Here is another in our occasional series of book reviews. Thanks to Mat for doing this, and comments are, of course, welcome!

Mathew A. Foust       Central Connecticut State University

Review of Sam Crane, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Dao: Ancient Chinese Thought in Modern American Life (UK: Wiley Blackwell, 2013), xi + 201 pp.

Sam Crane intends this volume for “people who have an interest in seeing how ancient Chinese thought might cast new light on the present day but who are not yet familiar with the time-honored works” (3), with the belief that Chinese thought can “show us something about our world and ourselves that we might otherwise not see” (10). More specifically, Crane applies concepts and theories from Confucianism and Daoism to several contemporary issues dotting the American landscape. After a chapter explaining key concepts of Confucianism and Daoism, Crane explores how these teachings might be brought to bear on debates arising in virtually every sphere of human life, from birth (e.g., the issue of abortion) to death (e.g., the issue of euthanasia). Although his arguments are occasionally strained by inadequate textual support, his volume is largely able to achieve its stated objectives.

Continue reading “Review of Crane, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Dao”

December 8, 2014 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Comparative Political Theory, Confucianism, Confucius, Contemporary Confucianism | no comments

New Frontiers of Philosophy in China published

Frontiers of Philosophy in China 9:3 has been published, and is available on-line. Among other things, there are reviews of:

  • Brook Ziporyn, Ironies of Oneness and Difference: Coherence in Early Chinese Thought; Prolegomena to the Study of Li 理. (By Steve Coutinho)
  • Stephen C. Angle, Contemporary Confucian Political Philosophy: Toward Progressive Confucianism. (By WANG Kun)
  • Erica Fox Brindley, Music, Cosmology, and the Politics of Harmony in Early China. (By Heinrich Geiger)

In case some readers do not have access to this journal, I will add here some snippets from these three reviews.

Continue reading “New Frontiers of Philosophy in China published”

December 1, 2014 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Comparative Political Theory, Contemporary Confucianism | no comments

NDPR Review: Franklin Perkins, Heaven and Earth Are Not Humane

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2014.11.23  View this Review at NDPR   View Other NDPR Reviews

Franklin Perkins, Heaven and Earth Are Not Humane: The Problem of Evil in Classical Chinese Philosophy, Indiana University Press, 2014, 295pp., $35.00 (pbk), ISBN 9780253011725.

Reviewed by Youngsun Back, City University of Hong Kong

The intriguing title, Heaven and Earth Are Not Humane, a line that originally appears in the Daodejing of Laozi, draws the reader into early Chinese philosophy. By exploring the problem of evil, Franklin Perkins opens new doors into this ancient tradition. The problem of evil in this book specifically refers to the fact that bad things happen to good people. Perkins examines the multiplicity of ways that philosophers of the Warring States period dealt with the problem of evil. His study focuses on six major texts, the Lunyu, Mozi, Daodejing, Mengzi, Zhuangzi, and Xunzi, but he incorporates a variety of recently excavated texts such as Xing zi ming chuTaiyi sheng shui, and Qiong da yi shi into his study as well.

Continue reading “NDPR Review: Franklin Perkins, Heaven and Earth Are Not Humane”

November 19, 2014 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | 4 comments

Two More Book Reviews

Xiaomei Yang’s review of Stephen C. Angle (Ph.D, 1994) and Michael Slote, eds., Virtue Ethics and Confucianism has appeared in the most recent issue of Ethics, Vol. 125,# 1, 2014.

Joseph’s Chan’s feature review of my book Contemporary Confucian Political Philosophy: Toward Progressive Confucianism has just appeared in Philosophy East and West, Vol. 64,#3,2014, as well as two follow-ups:

  • Joseph Chan. “’Self-Restriction’ and the Confucian Case for Democracy.”
  • Stephen C. Angle. “Sages and Self-Restriction: A Response to Joseph Chan.”
  • Joseph Chan. “Reply to Stephen C. Angle.”

November 9, 2014 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Comparative Political Theory, Contemporary Confucianism, Virtue | no comments

Book Reviews

Manyul and I are occasionally contacted by publishers wondering whether we would like to post a review of a new book on the blog. He and I have discussed this, and would like to let you all know that our policy is: yes, if it is directly on-point for the blog, and if we can find a volunteer who will write the review in a timely fashion. So authors, please feel free to suggest that your  publishers contact us in appropriate cases. Thank you!

August 31, 2014 Posted by | Blog details, Book Review | no comments

Review of Chan, Confucian Perfectionism

This is a rich review of Joseph Chan’s important new book; the review is significant, in part, because it represents an engagement by someone from outside the Chinese philosophy world with contemporary Chinese thought. Wall is himself an advocate of perfectionism, which helps to explain why the cross-tradition engagement here is so fruitful.

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2014.08.16 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Joseph Chan, Confucian Perfectionism: A Political Philosophy for Modern Times, Princeton University Press, 2014, 256pp., $35.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780691158617.

Reviewed by Steven Wall, University of Arizona

This is an unusual book. It is partly an effort to reconstruct and revive an ancient tradition of political thought, partly an exercise in comparing that tradition to western liberalism and partly a contribution to contemporary political theory. It does not fit into any well-defined disciplinary niche. Its unusual aims, in turn, present a challenge to the reviewer. Should the success of the project be assessed in terms of its fidelity to a tradition of thought that has shaped Chinese culture for over two millennia, or should it be assessed in terms of its contribution to contemporary political thought? No doubt the right answer to this question is that it should be assessed along both dimensions, but this answer does not tell us how much weight to give to each measure of assessment. My own assessment will not grapple with this problem, since I am in no position to gauge its success in remaining faithful to traditional Confucian ideas. Accordingly, this review does not offer a verdict on how well Confucian Perfectionism succeeds in its aim of staying true to Confucian political thought (leaving that judgment to others who are better placed to make it). It focuses instead on how well the view of politics that it presents hangs together and how well it contributes to an understanding of the political topics that it addresses.

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August 18, 2014 Posted by | Book Review, Books of Interest, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative Political Theory, Contemporary Confucianism, Democracy | no comments

Interesting resource: Reviews of Asian-language books

I’ve just become aware of New Frontiers of Asian Scholarship, a resource hosted by the Harvard-Yenching Institute, posting reviews of Asian-language scholarly books. There are a few philosophy books, and a variety of other interesting materials.

July 18, 2014 Posted by | Book Review, Books of Interest, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Resource | no comments

Review of Virtue Ethics and Confucianism at NDPR

Hagop Sarkissian’s review of Virtue Ethics and Confucianism (Routledge, 2013) has been published at NDPR. Comments on the review or the book itself are welcome! I will also paste the review below. Thanks, Hagop!

Continue reading “Review of Virtue Ethics and Confucianism at NDPR”

May 11, 2014 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Confucianism, Neo-Confucianism, Virtue | no comments

Book Review – The Tao of Chip Kelly by Mark Saltveit

I just finished reading Mark Saltveit’s book The Tao of Chip Kelly. For anyone curious about the book, I’m posting an informal review here.

The Tao of Chip Kelly is an enjoyable read on the leadership and coaching strategies of Philadelphia Eagle’s head coach, Chip Kelly. The book presents lessons on leadership from Kelly’s coaching career, the majority of which are drawn from his four seasons at the University of Oregon. While Saltveit’s introduction claims the book is aimed towards management strategy, the book is accessible to anyone and potentially of interest to anyone interested in team strategies, football, or contemporary applications of ideas drawn from Laozi or Zhuangzi. Continue reading “Book Review – The Tao of Chip Kelly by Mark Saltveit”

February 10, 2014 Posted by | Book Review, Books of Interest, Daoism, Taoism | 8 comments

Reviewer Wanted for Trying Not To Try

Would you like to write a review on the blog of Ted Slingerland’s forthcoming book, Trying Not To Try? If so, please contact me via email. The publisher would be happy to send a free copy of the book to a reviewer for this blog.

January 21, 2014 Posted by | Book Review, Books of Interest, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | 5 comments

Reviews of Three Books

Issue 75:4 (2013) of The Review of Politics contains reviews of three recent books in Chinese and comparative philosophy:

  • Doh Chull Shin: Confucianism and Democratization in East Asia. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. x, 366.), reviewed by Albert H. Y. Chen
  • Tongdong Bai: China: The Political Philosophy of the Middle Kingdom. (London: Zed Books, 2012. Pp. 177.), reviewed by Michael Nylan
  • John A. Rapp: Daoism and Anarchism: Critiques of State Autonomy in Ancient and Modern China. (London: Continuum, 2012. Pp. xi, 292.), reviewed by Edward S. Krebs

Nylan’s review of Bai is relentlessly critical, concluding that:

When all is said and done, this book highlights the enormous chasm that currently exists between Euro-American and PRC scholarship on a great many issues relating to the early empires in China. Tying scholarship so tightly to contemporary politics does not make for careful analyses likely to ameliorate long-standing disputes between the two great continental powers, as is Bai’s ostensible goal. Instead, this book will irritate knowledge- able readers while confirming others in their old prejudices. (p. 679)

It’s surprising to hear that a book as provocative as Bai’s will confirm people’s old prejudices. What Nylan means is that Bai’s picture of early China is based, she says, on a variety of views (e.g., that “zhongguo” means “Middle Kingdom”; she says it means “Central States,” courts once closely allied with the Zhou kings) that critical historians have long since rejected. She also objects to Bai’s characterizing Confucians and Daoists as belonging to schools, and wishes he had attended instead to the many overlaps among the early texts. And so on. Some of her points strike me as accurate and useful; others as tendentious but certainly based in relevant scholarship; and still others veer toward the realm of the “simplistic or unsubstantiated” that she says she finds in Bai’s book. As far as one can tell from the review, Nylan did not find a single thing of value in Bai’s book. I daresay there is an enormous chasm between the largely historical goals of Nylan’s scholarship and the largely philosophical goals of Bai’s. This is not to say that philosophers cannot learn from historians, or vice versa. But there are many challenges, not the least of which is learning to approach one another charitably, mindful of differing objectives and audiences.

October 23, 2013 Posted by | Book Review, Books of Interest, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy | 8 comments

Three More Reviews: Zhao/Dallmayr, Chan, Bai

‘Tis the season for reviews of works in Chinese philosophy to be published, apparently! The latest issue of The China Journal has reviews of three recent works in our field, along with much else of interest:

  • Leigh Jenco reviews Contemporary Chinese Political Thought: Debates and Perspective, edited by Fred Dallmayr and Zhao Tingyang; she finds much to like about several of the included articles, though has misgivings about the introduction and some of the editorial choices.
  • Jason Clower reviews The Thought of Mou Zongsan by N. Serina Chan; Clower emphasizes its usefulness as a reference on the sprawling writing and thinking of Mou.
  • John Makeham reviews China: The Political Philosophy of the Middle Kingdom by Tongdong Bai; Makeham emphasizes the book’s idiosyncracies.

July 31, 2013 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative Political Theory, Contemporary Confucianism, Mou Zongsan, Politics | no comments

Hon Reviews Angle, Contemporary Confucian Political Philosophy

Tze-ki Hon’s review of my latest book, Contemporary Confucian Political Philosophy: Toward Progressive Confucianism (Polity, 2012) has been published “on-line first” in Dao. (If your library subscribes to Dao, you should be able to get to the article, though quite possibly not through the link I just gave.) The review’s final paragraph reads:

While Angle may not be completely faithful to MOU Zongsan, he succeeds in drastically changing the image of New Confucianism. Instead of an abstract philosophy in the ivory tower, he transforms New Confucianism into a political theory for promoting tolerance, diversity, and equality. While it is still early to tell whether New Confucianism will have a strong impact on twenty-first century Chinese politics, it is clear that the three parts of a healthy society that Angle describes—the ethic subjectivity, the rights of the public, and the communicative acts based on rituals—are essential to building a fair and open political system in China. They directly address the new political condition of contemporary China where individuals aggressively demand recognition of their unique personality, inalienable rights, and full participation in the communicative lifeworld.

Many thanks to Tze-ki for his generous and probing review!

July 30, 2013 Posted by | Book Review, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Comparative Political Theory, Contemporary Confucianism, Politics | no comments