Ziporyn’s Beyond Oneness and Difference Published

The second volume of Brook Ziporyn’s new work on li and coherence in pre-Neo-Confucian Chinese thought has been published. See below for summary and Table of Contents for both volumes.

Ironies of Oneness and Difference
Coherence in Early Chinese Thought; Prolegomena to the Study of Li
Explores the development of Chinese thought, highlighting its concern with questions of coherence.Providing a bracing expansion of horizons, this book displays the unsuspected range of human thinking on the most basic categories of experience. The way in which early Chinese thinkers approached concepts such as one and manysameness and differenceself andother, and internal and external stand in stark contrast to the way parallel concepts entrenched in much of modern thinking developed in Greek and European thought. Brook Ziporyn traces the distinctive and surprising philosophical journeys found in the works of the formative Confucian and Daoist thinkers back to a prevailing set of assumptions that tends to see questions of identity, value, and knowledge—the subject matter of ontology, ethics, and epistemology in other traditions—as all ultimately relating to questions about coherence in one form or another. Mere awareness of how many different ways human beings can think and have thought about these categories is itself a game changer for our own attitudes toward what is thinkable for us. The actual inhabitation and mastery of these alternative modes of thinking is an even greater adventure in intellectual and experiential expansion.

Brook Ziporyn is Professor of Chinese Philosophy, Religion, and Comparative Thought at the University of Chicago Divinity School and Visiting Professor of Philosophy at the National University of Singapore. His books include The Penumbra Unbound: The Neo-Taoist Philosophy of Guo Xiang, also published by SUNY Press.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Rethinking Same and Different

Coherence and Li: Plan Method of This Book and Its Sequel

1. Essences, Universals, and Omnipresence: Absolute Sameness and Difference

Essences, Universals, Categories, Ideas: Simple Location and the Disjunction of Same and Different in in Mainstream Western Philosophy
Same and Different in Form Matter
Two Opposite Derivations of Omnipresent

2. What Is Coherence? Chinese Paradigms

Coherence As Opposed to Law, Rule, Principle,Pattern: Harmony Versus Repeatability
Is White Horse Horse?
Qian Mu’s Pendulum
Ironic and Non-Ironic Coherence

3. Non-Ironic Coherence and Negotiable Continuity

Coherence and Omniavailability of Value in Confucius and Mencius
Coherence and Heaven in Analects
Ritual Versus Law: Cultural Grammar
Rectification of Names: Negotiated Identity as a Function of Ritual
Classes and Types in Mencius
Omnipresence in Mencius
Transition to Ironic Coherence: Qi-Omnipresence and the Empty Center in Pre-Ironic Proto-Daoism

4. Ironic Coherence and the Discovery of the “Yin”

The Laozi Tradition: Desiring Wholes
Overview of Ironic Coherence in the Laozi
The Five Meanings of the Unhewn: Omnipresence and Ironic Coherence in the Laozi
Zhuangzi’s Wild Card: Thing as Perspective
Using the Wild Card
The Wild Card Against Both Objective Truth and Subjective Solipsism
Conclusion to Chapter 4: Ironic Coherence

5. Non-Ironic Responses to Ironic Coherence in Xunzi and the Record of Ritual

Xunzi and the Regulation of Sameness and Difference
Omnipresence and Coherence in Xunzi
Two Texts from the Record of Ritual (Liji): “The Great Learning,” and “The Doctrine of the Mean”

6. The Yin-Yang Compromise

Yin-Yang Theism in Dong Zhongshu: The Metastasis of Harmony Irony
An Alternate Yin-Yang Divination System: Yang Xiong’s Taixuanjing

Conclusion and Summary: Toward Li


Beyond Oneness and Difference
Li and Coherence in Chinese Buddhist Thought and Its Antecedents
Continues the author’s inquiry into the development of the Chinese philosophical concept Li, concluding in Song and Ming dynasty Neo-Confucianism.Beyond Oneness and Difference considers the development of one of the key concepts of Chinese intellectual history, Li. A grasp of the strange history of this term and its seemingly conflicting implications—as oneness and differentiation, as the knowable and as what transcends knowledge, as the good and as the transcendence of good and bad, as order and as omnipresence—raises questions about the most basic building blocks of our thinking. This exploration began in the book’s companion volume, Ironies of Oneness and Difference, which detailed how formative Confucian and Daoist thinkers approached and demarcated concepts of coherence, order, and value, identifying both ironic and non-ironic trends in the elaboration of these core ideas. In the present volume, Brook Ziporyn goes on to examine the implications of Li as they develop in Neo-Daoist metaphysics and in Chinese Buddhism, ultimately becoming foundational to Song and Ming dynasty Neo-Confucianism, the orthodox ideology of late imperial China. Ziporyn’s interrogation goes beyond analysis to reveal the unsuspected range of human thinking on these most fundamental categories of ontology, metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics.

Brook Ziporyn is Professor of Chinese Philosophy, Religion, and Comparative Thought at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He is the author of several books, including The Penumbra Unbound: The Neo-Taoist Philosophy of Guo Xiang and Ironies of Oneness and Difference: Coherence in Early Chinese Thought; Prolegomena to the Study of Li, both also published by SUNY Press.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Li理 and Coherence: Recap of Ironies of Oneness and Difference and Terminological Clarifications

1. Li 理 as a Fundamental Category in Chinese Thought

Needham and Organic Pattern
Hansen and the Mass Noun Hypothesis
Graham and the Absent Copula and Correlative Thinking
Peterson and Coherence
Hall and Ames and the Focus/Field

2. The Advent of Li, Ironic and Non-Ironic

Li and “Greatest Coherence” in the Xunzi
“Heavenly Principle” (天理 tianli) Ironic and Non-Ironic in the “Inner Chapters” of the Zhuangzi and “The Record of Music”
Li in the “Wings” to the Zhouyi
Li and Centrality in Dong Zhongshu (179-104 BCE)

3. The Development of Li in Ironic Texts

Li and Non-Ironic Coherence in the Later Parts of Zhuangzi: Integrating the Non-Ironic
First Type: Li and Dao Both Non-Ironic
Second Type: Dao Ironic, Li Non-Ironic
Third Type: Dao and Li Both Ironic
Integrating Types Two and Three

4. The Advent of Li as a Technical Philosophical Term

Toward the Ironic: Li in the Pre-Ironic Daoism of the Guanzi
Li Defined: The Later Two-and-a-half Chapters of the Guanzi
The Hanfeizi Commentary on Laozi: Li as Division and the Yielding Dao
Cosmological Dao and Its Li in the Huainanzi

5. Li as the Convergence of Coherence and Incoherence in Wang Bi and Guo Xiang

Subjective Perspectivism in Wang Bi: The Advent of Ti and Yong 體用 as Ironic Structure
Applications of the Multiplicity of Li in Wang’s Laozi Commentary
Convergence of Coherence and Incoherence in Guo Xiang: Li as “Just the Way It Is,” as Limit, and as Vanishing Convergence
Unintelligible Coherence: Vanishing and Merging into Things
Ironic Li as Non-Ironic Li in Guo Xiang

6. Beyond One and Many: Li in Tianti and Huayan Buddhism

How Emptiness Became Li
Tianti on Truth, Threefold
Li in Early Tiantai: Center as Convertibility of Determinate and Indeterminate
Appearance and Reality in Huayan and Tiantai
Existance and Nonexistence in Tiantai and Huayan
Wave and Water in Huayan: “Beyond” Li
Wave, Water, and Mud in Tiantai: Inherent Entailment as Omniavailability
Summary of Difference between Tiantai and Huayan, and the Irony of Coherence in the Tiantai and Huayan Classifications of Teachings

7. Mind, Omnipresence, and Coherence in Tiantai and Huayan

The Pure Mind and the Deluded Mind in Huayan Thought
Mind and the Nature in Tiantai Thought
The Three Thousand Lis and the Three Thousand Events

Conclusion: The Vertex of the Vortex

Epilogue: Toward Li in Neo-Confucianism


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