Philosophy East and West, vol. 54, no. 4 (2004)


Manyness of Selves, Sāmkhya, and K. C. Bhattacharyya
Ramesh Kumar Sharma, 425

Classical Sāmkhya, as represented byĪśvarakrsna’s Sāmkhya-kārikā, is well known for its attempt to prove not only the reality but the plurality of selves (purusa-bahutva). The Sāmkhya argument, since it proceeds from the reality of the manyness of the bodies as its basic premise, approximates, even if not in every detail, the ‘argument from analogy’ in its traditional form (which the essay tries to explicate). One distinguished modern interpreter, K. C. Bhattacharyya, however, not satisfied with this account, attempts to interpret and expound Sāmkhya pluralism in terms of a radically different strategy consisting of showing that the self is known in buddhi in its pure asmita function as an infinite I and so as necessarily involving all Is or selves. This solution, which in the process offers reflections on such issues as infinity, universals, the role of ‘I’, the individuality (of self ), et cetera, is examined and criticized at length with respect to some of its basic assumptions, with a brief focus on the idea of ‘self-consciousness’, which according to some (Western) philosophers presupposes ‘other’-consciousness and which in certain respects seems to inform Bhattacharyya’s thoughts on the main issue.

Word and Gesture: On Xuan-school Hermeneutics of the Analects
Robert Ashmore, 458

This is an attempt to assemble the fragmentary remains of xuan-school Analects commentary so as to articulate the broad coherence of a xuan-school style of interpretation of that text. A model of ‘‘gestural language’’ is proposed as a way of seeing the overall thrust of interpretive approaches to this text by commentators from Wang Bi in the mid–third century to Huang Kan in the first half of the sixth. This xuan-school approach to reading the Analects is of considerable interest in its own right, reminding us of the centrality of the notions of sagehood and ‘‘timeliness’’ to hermeneutical thought in this period, as well as anticipating some of the insights obtained by modern-day applications of speech-act theory to the interpretation of the text. What close attention to these relatively neglected sources conveys, moreover, is a sense of the real importance of the Analects, and of the sage Confucius, to much xuan-school thought. Viewing this historical style of interpretation in its conceptual sophistication and broad coherence may thus also serve as a corrective to persistent assumptions about xuan-school thought as essentially ‘‘metaphysical’’ or ‘‘Neo-Daoist’’ in its basic orientation.

Zhu Xi’s Prayers to the Spirit of Confucius and Claim to the Transmission of the Way
Hoyt Cleveland Tillman, 489

What philosophical and historical insights might be gained by juxtaposing and linking two distinct areas of Zhu Xi’s comments, those on guishen (conventionally glossed as ghosts or spirits) and those on the transmission and succession of the Way (daotong)? There is considerable evidence that he regarded canonical rites for ancestors and teachers as insufficiently satisfying, and thus he sought enhanced communion with the dead. His statements about spirits and especially his prayers to Confucius’ spirit served to enhance his confidence that he had gained the transmission of Confucius’ dao and that nothing being passed down to him had been lost. In the rituals and prayers to Confucius, Zhu Xi also projected himself as mediator between his students and Confucius’ spirit. After hearing such prayers and participating in the ritual sacrifices, Zhu’s students would become more convinced of his special status in the transmission of the Way. This inquiry into these spiritual and philosophical issues ultimately demonstrates the compelling importance of Zhu’s practical concerns.

The Confucian Politics of Appearance—and Its Impact on Chinese Humor
Weihe Xu, 514

It is argued here that ancient Chinese convictions—that appearances and truth, the outer and the inner, and everything else in the universe are correlated; that the outer can change the inner; and that the cosmos and human society are inherently hierarchical—gave rise to the Confucian politicization of appearance, and this culminated in the rites’ stringent requirements of reverence and gravity from the traditional Chinese junzi (the morally and often socially superior man) during public appearances, thereby causing his humor to fade and vanish in public, thanks to an apparently natural antithesis between reverence/gravity and laughter/humor.

Specifying the Nature of Substance in Aristotle and in Indian Philosophy
Hugh R. Nicholson, 533

Aristotle struggles with two basic tensions in his understanding of reality or substance that have parallels in Indian metaphysical speculation. The first of these tensions, between the understanding of reality as the underlying substrate (to hupokeimenon) and as the individual ‘‘this’’ (tode ti), finds a parallel in the concept of dravya in Patañjali’s Mahābhāsya. The second tension, between the understanding of reality as the individual this and as the intelligible essence of the individual this (to ti ēn einai), corresponds to an ambiguity in the concept of vastu in Kumārila’s Ślokavārttika.


On Japanese Things and Words: An Answer to Heidegger’s Question
Michael F. Marra, 555


Beyond Personal Identity: Dōgen, Nishida, and a Phenomenology of No-Self, by Gereon Kopf
Reviewed by Steven Heine, 569

Concerning Creativity: A Comparison of Whitehead, Neville, and Chu Hsi, by John Berthrong
Reviewed by David L. Hall, 571

The Cult of Nothingness: The Philosophers and the Buddha, by Roger-Pol Droit, translated by David Streight and Pamela Vohnson
Reviewed by A. J. Nicholson, 577

A Buddhist History of the West: Studies in Lack, by David R. Loy
Reviewed by Gereon Kopf, 580