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Hermeneutical Thinking in Chinese Philosophy

Lauren Pfister (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-6789-5
164 pages
January 2007, Wiley-Blackwell
Hermeneutical Thinking in Chinese Philosophy (1405167890) cover image
This volume is devoted to studying the emergence and flourishing of new humanistically informed developments in philosophical hermeneutics within contemporary Chinese philosophy. By means of some articles published previously in the Journal of Chinese Philosophy in the 1970s and 1980s, questions about the nature of philosophical understanding and the diversity of hermeneutic options in Chinese indigenous teachings – including Ruist (“Confucian”), Daoist, and Chinese Buddhist realms of exploration – are reintroduced. Following these seminal essays, a number of new pieces written by philosophers and sinologists active in evaluating basic orientations toward philosophical understanding in China are presented. Some offer new insights into the confluence of Gadamerian and Ruist approaches to philosophy, while others employ more critical methods to indicate why serious hermeneutic inquiries into these indigenous traditions and their most representative texts reveal significant challenges for the informed reader. The focus of this volume centers on issues arising in early Ruist and Daoist texts – the Analects and the Zhuangzi – and then moves to examine hermeneutic claims asserted in the synthetic philosophical efforts of Zhu Xi (1130-1200). A sequel dealing with modern and contemporary themes in Chinese hermeneutics will appear in the March 2007 issue of the Journal of Chinese Philosophy.
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Part I.General Introduction, Chung-ying Cheng.

Part II.Editor’s Introduction, Lauren F. Pfister.

Part III: Basic Chinese Philosophical Orientations about Understanding.

1. Toward Constructing a Dialectics of Harmonization: Harmony and Conflict in Chinese Philosophy, Chung-ying Cheng.

2. Hermeneutic Explorations in the Zhuangzi, Kuang-ming Wu.

Part IV: Confucius, the Analects, and Early Confucianism.

3. Gadamer and Confucius: Some Possible Affinities, Richard E. Palmer.

4. A New Hermeneutical Approach to Early Chinese Texts: The Case of the Analects, John Makeham.

5. Three Kinds of Confucian Scholarship, Kelly James Clark.

Part V: Zhu Xi: Textual and Philosophical Understanding.

6. On Zhu Xi’s Theory of Interpretation, Pan Derong and Peng Qifu.

7. To Catch a Thief: Zhu Xi (1130-1200) and the Hermeneutic Art, John Berthrong

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Teaching in philosophical, religious and humanities areas at Hong Kong Baptist University, Lauren Pfister has resided in Hong Kong with his family since 1987. Serving as Associate Editor for the Journal of Chinese Philosophy since 1997, he has continued to pursue research and publish articles in areas dealing with 19th and 20th century Ruist (“Confucian”) philosophy, the history of sinology, as well as comparative philosophical and comparative religious studies. A two volume work on the missionary-scholarship of James Legge (1815-1897) was published by Peter Lang in June 2004, the result of fifteen years of cross-disciplinary research. It is entitled Striving for ‘The Whole Duty of Man’: James Legge and the Scottish Protestant Encounter with China. Besides an abiding interest in hermeneutics, he is currently involved in research projects focusing on the German missionary-scholar, Ricahrd Wilhelm (1873-1930) and others describing and evaluating the emergence and formation of the academic disciplines of Chinese philosophy and religious studies in China.
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  • Devoted to studying the emergence and flourishing of new humanistically informed developments in philosophical hermeneutics within contemporary Chinese philosophy
  • Hermeneutics can be defined as the analysis of obstacles to understanding
  • Addresses questions about the nature of philosophical understanding and the diversity of hermeneutic options in Chinese indigenous teachings - including Ruist (“Confucian”), Daoist, and Chinese Buddhist realms of exploration
  • Includes an insightful discussion of a “dialectics of harmonization” that gives structure to Ruist and Daoist philosophies and forms of life by Chung-ying Cheng and Zhuangzi by Kuang-ming as well as a number of new pieces written by philosophers and sinologists active in evaluating basic orientations toward philosophical understanding in China
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