Guarding Moral Boundaries: Shame in Early Confucianism
Jane Geaney, 113
In response to allegations that China is a ‘‘shame culture,’’ scholars of Confucian ethics have made use of new studies in psychology, anthropology, and philosophy that present shame in a more favorable light. These studies contend that shame involves internalization of social moral codes. By adapting these new internal models of shame, Confucian ethicists have attempted to rehabilitate the emphasis on shame in early Confucianism, but in doing so they have inadvertently highlighted the striking absence in early Confucian texts of such prominent shame metaphors as being seen, particularly with genitals exposed. This essay analyzes these visual metaphors for shame, in contrast to contact metaphors, and considers the implications for Confucian ethics that they might be two different types of shame.
Is Indian Logic Nonmonotonic?
John Taber, 143
Claus Oetke, in his ‘‘Ancient Indian Logic as a Theory of Nonmonotonic Reasoning,’’ presents a sweeping new interpretation of the early history of Indian logic. His main proposal is that Indian logic up until Dharmakīrti was nonmonotonic in character—similar to some of the newer logics that have been explored in the field of Artificial Intelligence, such as default logic, which abandon deductive validity as a requirement for formally acceptable arguments; Dharmakīrti, he suggests, was the first to consider that a good argument should be one for which it is not possible for the property identified as the ‘‘reason’’ (hetu) to occur without the property to be proved (sādhya)—a requirement akin to deductive validity. Oetke’s approach is challenged here, arguing that from the very beginning in India something like monotonic, that is, deductively valid, reasoning was the ideal or norm, but that the conception of that ideal was continually refined, in that the criteria for determining when it is realized were progressively sharpened.
There are numerous traces of Nietzsche’s influence in Wang Guowei’s ‘‘On the Dream of the Red Chamber’’ even though there is not a single mention of Nietzsche’s name in that seminal essay. Nietzschean thought looms large where Wang openly disagrees with or quietly departs from the views of Schopenhauer and, to a lesser extent, those of Kant and Aristotle. His questioning of Schopenhauer’s ‘‘no-life-ism’’ harks back to Nietzsche’s challenge to Schopenhauer’s life-negating ethics. His portrayal of Bao Yu reveals three distinctive character traits of the Nietzschean overman. In particular, the praise of Bao Yu’s rebellious character reveals Wang’s preference for the iconoclastic Nietzschean overman over the passive Schopenhauerian saint. A strong influence of Nietzsche’s views of tragedy may also be observed in Wang’s discussion of the tragic form. His modification of Aristotle’s catharsis seems to have been made in the spirit of Nietzsche’s criticism of its ‘‘pathological discharge.’’ His stress on the ultimate salvational function of the Dream strongly reminds us of what Nietzsche has said about the life-saving role of the Dionysian tragedy in the Birth. Finally, in his conditional endorsement of ‘‘live-life-ism’’ we can see a thinly disguised repudiation of the extreme Darwinian tendency he mistakenly reads into Nietzsche’s works. It should not be surprising that there are so many echoes of Nietzschean thought in ‘‘On the Dream.’’ While writing this essay Wang was deeply occupied with the study of Nietzsche’s aesthetic and ethical theories through comparisons with Schopenhauer’s. If this influence of Nietzsche can be established on the basis of the evidence given above, there is then a need to reassess Nietzschean thought as a catalyst more important than hitherto thought for the rethinking of traditional Chinese literary and cultural traditions—a broad twentieth-century critical and intellectual trend initiated by none other than Wang’s ‘‘On the Dream.’’
From Nativism to Numerology: Yamaga Sokō’s Final Excursion into the Metaphysics of Change
John Allen Tucker, 194
Most discussions of Yamaga Sokō’s philosophical development as a Confucian scholar in Tokugawa Japan suggest that in his later years he moved away from Confucianism and toward a religio-philosophical celebration of Japan’s supposed uniqueness. It is shown here, however, that Sokō’s nativism, set forth in his Chūchō jijitsu, was later eclipsed by his final philosophical work, the Gengen hakki, wherein he articulated a kind of naturalistic numerology, based vaguely on the Yijing. This shift in Sokō’s thought can be viewed as a return to Neo-Confucianism, the earliest philosophical paradigm that he had embraced. Moreover, the successive shifts in his thinking can be understood in terms of the vicissitudes of his life, first in his exile to the Kansai area, near the ancient imperial capital of Kyoto, and then later in his pardon and return to Edo, the shogun’s capital. Perhaps most importantly, this final shift in Sokō’s thought reveals that this prominent early modern thinker did reach his philosophical climax not in defiant opposition to Neo-Confucianism, nor in a sustained celebration of Japan’s political traditions and their superlative nature, but instead in a return to modes of metaphysics akin to those typically deployed by Neo-Confucians themselves in their attempts to understand the changing nature of the cosmos and their political place within its flux.
For the purposes of interpretation and constructive engagement, the structure and content of Confucius’ version of the Golden Rule (CGR) is examined by elaborating its three dimensions as suggested in the Analects. It is argued that the CGR, which consists of two intertwined central ideas in Confucius’ ethics, shu and zhong, involves three interdependent and complementary dimensions: (1) the methodological (i.e., the methodological aspect of shu), which consists of the principles of reversibility and extensibility; (2) the internal starting point (i.e., the substantial aspect of shu), which somehow points to the fundamental virtue ren and constitutes the internal starting point for applying the methodological principles of the CGR; and (3) the external starting point (i.e., zhong as one’s sincere and devoted commitment to those established social constituents specified by the li, regardless of the involved moral recipient’s social status), which constitutes the external starting point for applying the methodological principles of the CGR.
Interpreting the Mengzi, a review of Mencius: Contexts and Interpretations, edited by Alan K. L. Chan
Philip J. Ivanhoe, 249
Advaita Epistemology and Metaphysics: An Outline of Indian Non-Realism, by Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad
Reviewed by S. R. Saha, 264
Buddhism: Introducing the Buddhist Experience, by Donald W. Mitchell
Reviewed by David L. McMahan, 268
Awesome Nightfall, the Life, Times, and Poetry of Saigyō, by William R. LaFleur
Reviewed by Michiko Yusa, 270
Philosophers of Nothingness: An Essay on the Kyoto School, by James W. Heisig
Reviewed by Robert E. Carter, 273