I’d like to do a little informal poll on two questions relating to research and publication on Chinese philosophy. I welcome your responses.
First, what do you think of scholars who can’t read primary sources publishing on Chinese philosophy? Is being able to read original sources important? I should perhaps clarify that what I mean are not the “translations” one sometimes finds (e.g., of the Laozi) by people who don’t read classical Chinese, but scholarly articles or books.
The second question concerns use of secondary literature. My own observation is that Western scholars, even those who read Chinese, often don’t refer to Chinese secondary literature. By “secondary literature” I mean specifically 20th and 21st century academic work, not traditional commentaries. I’m curious why this is and what other people in the field think about it. Is it a problem? Or is it instead a sign of the development of the field, that we have our own English-language debates just as specialists in ethics might have debates about Kant that don’t refer to the German literature at all?