An appeal is made to the foot travels of Matsuo Bashō, especially his 1689 journey to northern Japan, reflected in his Narrow Road to the Interior, as examples of wandering. It is suggested that while the travels of a poetwanderer such as Bashō are notably distinct from shamanic travels in some respects, they are similar in other important ways, for example in their capacity to give perspective to our everyday experience. Based on Bashō’s example, three aspects of wandering are discussed that may be of aesthetic interest, and it is concluded that in the face of various technological and social developments in industrial societies that increasingly alienate us from our environment, wandering may help us to recover a sense of the depth of space, the real diversity of places, and our human lives in the larger context of nature.
Custom and Human Nature in Early China
Mark Edward Lewis, 308
Here it is demonstrated how, in the early ru philosophical discussions of human nature and the pivotal role of education, the concept of ‘‘custom’’ came to play a crucial role. This concept became the standard rubric for all defective education or upbringing. Custom was defective because it was partial, tied to the character of place, and dominated by the attraction of material objects. This contrasted with the ‘‘classicist’’ education of the ru that was all-encompassing, grounded in the refined culture of the Zhou literary and musical heritage, and detached from the desire for material goods.
The Debate on Human Nature in Early Confucian Literature
Maurizio Scarpari, 323
The doctrines on human nature and moral development maintained in ancient China by Gaozi, Mencius, and Xunzi, respectively, have been interpreted mostly as a contradiction within the Confucian school. It is argued here that they represent distinct, yet possible and congruous, modes of interpreting and re-elaborating Confucius’ teachings, two opposing yet largely complementary currents that have developed within the Confucian school.
What Is the ‘‘Subaltern’’ of the Comparative Philosophy of Religion?
Purushottama Bilimoria, 340
It is claimed that Comparative Philosophy of Religion (CPR) mistakenly builds on the dogmas of comparative religion (or history of religions) and philosophy of religion. Thus, the belief that there are things common and therefore comparable between two or more traditions and that these objects of comparison are of philosophical or theological significance are questions that continue to trouble the field. Just what does one compare, how does one choose what to compare or why, through what methodological and epistemic tools, and who is it that carries out the tasks? But what has remained unasked and unanalyzed are the larger meta-questions concerning the motivation, civilizational presuppositions, cultural parochialism, or legacies of orientalism, modernity, and (post-)colonialism that together affect the boundedness of certain key categories and thematic issues in the comparative enterprise such as God or the Transcendent, Creation, the Problem of Evil, the Afterlife, Sin, Redemption, Purpose, and the End. Is difference with respect to alterity and altarity permissible? If so, what a postcolonial, differently gendered, cross-cultural critique would look like and what is left of CPR are two such questions explored here.
Meno and Mencius: Two Philosophical Dramas
Marthe Chandler, 367
The conversations between Meno and Socrates and between Mencius and King Xuan are philosophical dramas whose ‘‘plots’’ are intellectual arguments. Although both texts present historical characters at particular times in their lives, the texts were written some years after the events they describe by disciples of Socrates and Mencius. The authors had a number of motives: they wanted to represent what the characters thought and said, to explain the philosophical theories underlying the dramatic plots, and to justify the failure of their mentors to teach something very important. Meno did not learn how to live a good life. Xuan did not become a sage king. It is argued here that while both dramas end in failure, Socrates leaves the conversation confidently optimistic about the future. The conversation between Mencius and Xuan, on the other hand, has deeply tragic overtones.
COMMENT AND DISCUSSION
Response to David Glidden’s Review of The Siren and the Sage
Steven Shankman and Stephen Durrant, 399
The Lives and Minds of Traditions, a review of History of Islamic Philosophy, edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Oliver Leaman, and History of Jewish Philosophy, edited by Daniel H. Frank and Oliver Leaman
J. E. Tiles, 403
Boston Confucianism: Portable Tradition in the Late-Modern World, by Robert Cummings Neville
Reviewed by Bryan W. Van Norden, 413
Response to Bryan W. Van Norden’s Review of Boston Confucianism
Robert Cummings Neville, 417
Reply to Robert Neville
Bryan W. Van Norden, 420
Transcreation of the Bhagavad Gita, Instant Nirvana: Americanization of Mysticism and Meditation, and An Introduction to Yoga Philosophy: An Annotated Translation of the Yoga Sutras, by Ashok Kumar Malhotra
Reviewed by Vasanthi Srinivasan, 421
Moral Measures: An Introduction to Ethics West and East, by J. E. Tiles
Reviewed by Li-Hsiang (Lisa) Lee, 425