As the semester winds toward its end, and with it, my class on Modern Chinese Philosophy,I find myself reflecting on how much new scholarship has become available on 20th- and 21st-century Chinese philosophy in just the last 18 months. Most of these books are, alas, quite expensive, but the quality is very high. This slew of excellent books makes me feel that the field of modern Chinese philosophy has suddenly come of age — and, at the same time, become eminently teachable. Reflect with me on this list:
- Thierry Meynard, The Religious Philosophy of Liang Shuming: The Hidden Buddhist (Brill, 2011)
- Serina Chan, The Thought of Mou Zongsan (Brill, 2011)
- Derong Chen, Metaphorical Metaphysics in Chinese Philosophy: Illustrated with Feng Youlan’s New Metaphysics (Lexington, 2011)
- Ruiping Fan, ed., The Renaissance of Confucianism in Contemporary China (Routledge, 2011)
- Joachim Kurtz, The Discovery of Chinese Logic (Brill, 2011)
- Viren Murthy, The Political Philosophy of Zhang Taiyan: The Resistance of Consciousness (Brill, 2011)
- Yan Xuetong (Daniel Bell and Sun Zhe, eds.), Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power (Princeton, 2011)
- Sebastien Billioud, Thinking Through Confucian Modernity: A Study of Mou Zongsan’s Moral Metaphysics (Brill, 2012)
- John Makeham., ed., Learning to Emulate the Wise: The Genesis of Chinese Philosophy as an Academic Discipline in Twentieth-Century China (CUHK Press, 2012)
- Yvonne Schulz Zinda, Jin Yuelin’s Ontology: Perspectives on the Problem of Induction (Brill, 2012)
If we add to this works that are well along, like Daniel Bell and Ruiping Fan’s edited volume of Jiang Qing’s writings, or John Makeham’s translation go Xiong Shili’s New Treatise on the Uniqueness of Consciousness (Xin Weishi Lun), then things look even brighter. It’s also notable that some excellent resources exist in obscure places; for example, Jin Yuelin’s Lun Dao has not been translated, but Jin’s own English-language version, Tao, Nature, and Man, is available in his Chinese collected works.
These are only the most recent works. There already exist extensive translations of and studies of many liberals and Marxists; two volumes of Wang Hui’s “New Left” writings; Shipping Hua’s book on scientism and humanism in the 1980s; and much more.
Any thoughts on where the key gaps are, or what these publishing trends might signify? One obvious gap is the lack of available translations of significant works by 20th-century Confucians (Mou’s Nineteen Lectures is still subject to a copyright dispute, alas). What else?