The Encounter of Zoroastrianism with Islam
Marietta Stepaniants, 159
The decisive victory of the Arabs over the Iranians put an end to Zoroastrian Iran and brought it into the Arab Caliphate in 651. However, the ‘‘indirect meeting’’ of Islam and Zoroastrianism had taken place centuries before through the impact of Zoroaster’s teaching on Judaism, Christianity, and the religion of the Muslims. Although the ‘‘direct encounter’’ resulted in the virtual disappearance of Zoroastrianism from Iran, it nonetheless brought about a certain synthesis of the two spiritual traditions—most visible in two classical schools of Islamic thought: the mystical trend of Sufism and the Illuminationism of Ishrāqism. Whether Zoroastrianism is still culturally alive, and what its future prospects may be are discussed here.
‘‘Asian Values’’ and Global Human Rights
Fred Dallmayr, 173
Are human rights universal, and, if so, in what sense? Starting with the opposition between ‘‘foundational’’ universalism (as articulated in modern natural law and rationalist liberalism) and ‘‘antifoundational’’ skepsis or relativism (from Jeremy Bentham to Richard Rorty) and steering a path beyond this dichotomy, an inquiry is made into the ‘‘rightness’’ of rights claims, a question that calls for situated, prudential judgment. With specific reference to ‘‘Asian values,’’ Henry Rosemont’s emphasis is followed on the need to differentiate between ‘‘concept clusters’’ and reflecting different modes of human flourishing—clusters that are neither radically incommensurable nor blandly uniform and exchangeable. What this emphasis suggests is that the globalism or universalism of human rights is not a pre-given premise but rather a challenge and practical task—requiring intensive inter-human and cross-cultural learning and (what Tu Wei-ming calls) the ongoing ‘‘humanization’’ of humankind.
Gongsun Long on What Is Not: Steps toward the Deciphering of the Zhiwulun
Jean-Paul Reding, 190
The Zhiwulun, chapter 3 of the Gongsunlongzi, attributed to the Sophist Gongsun Long (third century B.C.), is generally interpreted as a theoretical treatise on the relations between words and things. A new reading proceeds from the hypothesis that the Zhiwulun, like the White Horse Treatise, is another logical puzzle. Its theme is the problem of pointing out things that do not exist in the world or, put in modern terms, the problem of negative existentials. The Zhiwulun is a dilemma whose purpose is to show that the pointing that points at things that do not exist points without pointing.
From the contention that no worldview can be both consistent and complete is derived the insight that a worldview is contextually dependent on past worldviews that it both transcends and includes. Mādhyamika Buddhism illustrates the deconstructive aspect of this thesis—namely, that worldviews claiming completeness or independence are inconsistent. Process philosophy, on the other hand, is a theory that describes reality as the ongoing process of asymmetrical transcendence and inclusion of worldviews as perspectival events. It is argued that both Mādhyamika and process philosophies can be used to formulate a trans-cultural theory of worldviews that is both classificatory and evaluative.
Temporality and Personal Identity in the Thought of Nishida Kitarō
Gereon Kopf, 224
The Euro-American philosophical traditions offer two extreme positions to the problem of identity over time: G. W. Leibniz’ essentialism and Derek Parfit’s reductionism. A third alternative conception of personal identity is presented here, more appropriately named personal nonduality, which is based on Nishida Kitarō’s conception of personal unity as nonrelative contradictory self-identity.
Turning to Others to Learn about Self, a review of Learning from Asian Philosophy, by Joel J. Kupperman
J. E. Tiles, 246
Cheng-Zhu Confucianism in the Early Qing: Li Guangdi (1642–1718) and Qing Learning, by On-cho Ng
Reviewed by John Berthrong, 256
Chinese Gleams of Sufī Light: Wang Tai-yü’s Great Learning of the Pure and Real and Liu Chih’s Displaying the Concealment of the Real Realm, with a New Translation of Jāmī’s Lawā‘ih from the Persian by William C. Chittick, by Sachiko Murata
Reviewed by E. N. Anderson, 257
The Siren and the Sage: Knowledge and Wisdom in Ancient Greece and China, by Steven Shankman and Stephen Durrant
Reviewed by David Glidden, 260
East Meets West: Human Rights and Democracy in East Asia, by Daniel A. Bell
Reviewed by Jerry Burke, 265