Category Archives: China

Song Reviews Li, “A History of Classical Chinese Thought” (Lambert, trans.)

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2020.06.17 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Li Zehou, A History of Classical Chinese Thought, Andrew Lambert (tr., intr.), Routledge, 2020, 353pp., $160.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780367230128.

Reviewed by Bin Song, Washington College

It is a daunting task for me to review Li Zehou’s work, not least because while born in and always philosophizing about the same land, Li had entered his intellectual heyday in the 1980s when I was not yet a teenager. While reading Li’s work using Andrew Lambert’s stellar translation, I repeatedly asked myself: what is the difference between him and me regarding the approach to doing comparative Chinese philosophy? Why is there such a difference? What can I learn from him? And what inspirations can Li’s work generate globally.  Since there are English resources[1]that introduce Li’s thought, I won’t dwell on those questions. Instead, I will critique Li’s philosophy as presented in this book.

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Confucianism and Resistance in Hong Kong

Earlier this month Joseph Chan, a well-known authority on Confucianism at the University of Hong Kong, published a short essay (in Chinese) that draws on the Analects (especially 8:13) to think about people’s responsibilities when a state “lacks the Way.” A very brief summary: when Confucius says that in a state lacking the Way one should “yin 隱” (which is translated “conceal” in that Ctext link), he does not mean that one should hide away and fail to engage with the society. It might be worth contrasting this with questions raised in 2014 during the Umbrella Movement about the lack of Confucian discourse at that time.

New Book: Thomas Crone, Between Disaster, Punishment, and Blame

Thomas Crone, Between Disaster, Punishment, and Blame: The Semantic Field of Guilt in Early Chinese Texts (Harrassowitz Verlag, 2020)

The concept of having done something wrong is an integral part of normative thinking and thus a human universal. With regard to the early Chinese world of ideas and the resulting Confucian value system, consensus has it that the normative forces of “shame” have played a particularly strong role in the conceptualization and assessments of wrongdoings.

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New Book: Bell and Wang, Just Hierarchy

Daniel A. Bell (贝淡宁) and Wang Pei (汪沛)’s new book Just Hierarchy: Why Social Hierarchies Matter in China and the Rest of the World will be officially published by Princeton University Press in March but advance copies have arrived in the warehouse and the book can be ordered on the PUP website. Please enter discount code C285 for 30% off. The discount expires June 30, 2020. For more information from the press, read on.

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