I have recently finished a draft review for The China Journal of John Makeham, ed., Learning to Emulate the Wise: The Genesis of Chinese Philosophy as an Academic Discipline in Twentieth-Century China. I thought that one paragraph from my review might be of general interest and worth discussing here. Let me know what you think!
…Criticism of “Chinese philosophy” continues today. A main theme of Makeham’s Epilogue is the increasing strength in both Anglophone and Sinophone China studies of what he calls the “inner logic paradigm,” which stresses “the continued agency and relevance of the past in the present” (p. 361). Makeham then connects this to recent arguments that contemporary discussion of Chinese thinking should draw exclusively upon native sources and categories, which he calls “epistemological nativism” (p. 364). It is important to emphasize, perhaps to a greater degree than Makeham himself does, that the move from “inner logic” to epistemological nativism is a non-sequitur. Even if we imagine that Chinese thought had always developed in complete isolation from other traditions of thought, that still does not give us a reason to think that this should remain the case going forward. Only if one argues that Chinese thought does not have general or universal scope—that it is only a kind of local practice that is parochially limited to the Chinese—can one justify epistemological nativism. On top of this, there is the further point that Makeham and others in the volume vividly illustrate, namely that Chinese thought in the twentieth century manifestly does not develop in isolation, so the nativists must further believe that Chinese traditions can somehow be extricated from a century of cross-pollination….