This essay compares Śankara and Jacques Derrida on the issue of difference. This hermeneutical dialogue compares the two thinkers with respect to the following items: différance and nonduality; presence and trace; being and alterity; and truth, meaning, and reality. This essay intends to compare Śankara and Derrida on what the latter calls différance because it is a central notion in his postmodern philosophy, whereas nondualism is stressed by the former philosopher. Therefore, this comparison engages two philosophies that move in completely different directions.
Mou Zongsan, Hegel, and Kant: The Quest for Confucian Modernity
Stephan Schmidt, 260
This essay discusses the New Confucian philosopher Mou Zongsan (1909–1995), who in a number of highly influential writings in the 1970s attempted a kind of Confucian Aufhebung of Immanuel Kant’s critical philosophy. Section 1 analyzes Mou’s hybrid terminology and demonstrates how his use of Kantian concepts such as intellectual intuition (zhi de zhijue) and autonomy (zi lu) significantly altered the meaning of these terms without making the differences explicit. By relating this particular brand of Kantian Confucianism to the Chinese discourse on modernization—in which New Confucians took a stand against May Fourth iconoclasm—section 2 brings to light the inner strategic logic of Mou Zongsan’s approach, namely a two-step argument for both the possibility and the necessity of Confucian Modernity. The concluding third section traces Mou’s strategic appropriation of Kantian philosophy to his brief but momentous encounter with Hegel’s metaphysics of history in the 1950s. Although Mou Zongsan himself never fully acknowledged his indebtedness to Hegel, the essay demonstrates that it was Hegel who first provided Mou with an understanding of how to enlist Kant’s services in his quest for Confucian Modernity.
Sarkar on the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths
Chris Kang, 303
This is a critical comparison of two important figures, one ancient and one contemporary, in the Indian religious landscape: Gotama Buddha and Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar. Such comparison of their key ideas and practices is warranted for two reasons. First, Sarkar, a neo-Hindu thinker and reformer, has both praised the Buddha’s humanism and criticized the Buddhist doctrine of the Four Noble Truths, and it is of interest to examine exactly where Sarkar stands in relation to the Buddha and to Buddhism as a whole. It is particularly interesting to examine in what ways Sarkar’s teachings are an attempt to find an alternative to Buddhism. Second, it is of academic interest to explore the accuracy of Sarkar’s interpretations of the Buddha’s teachings and the problem of their acceptability to Buddhists. This essay argues for the commensurability of the Sarkarian and Buddhist emancipatory ethic despite real doctrinal and practical differences, and suggests that Sarkarian and Buddhist approaches can each contribute to the alleviation of human suffering both individual and collective.
The Concept of Zhen 真 in the Zhuangzi
Kim-chong Chong, 324
The term zhen in the Zhuangzi is commonly associated with the zhen ren or the “true person,” who is described, for example, as capable of going through fire and water unharmed. Some scholars take this as typifying a mystical element in the Zhuangzi. This essay investigates the various meanings and uses of zhen in the Zhuangzi and reaches a broader understanding of the zhen ren in various contexts.
Mozi’s Moral Theory: Breaking the Hermeneutical Stalemate
Daniel M. Johnson, 347
The most significant contemporary controversy surrounding the thought of Mozi is the debate over his ultimate criterion of right action—whether he should be interpreted as a divine-will theorist or as a utilitarian. It is possible, at least on the surface, to interpret him either way. I consider arguments designed to break this hermeneutical stalemate and argue that the divine-will interpretation comes out ahead. I conclude by responding to an argument by Xiufen Lu that the debate is misguided.
COMMENT AND DISCUSSION
Acquiring the Notion of a Dependent Designation: A Response to Douglas L. Berger
Jay L Garfield and Jan Westerhoff, 365
A Reply to Garfield and Westerhoff on “Acquiring Emptiness”
Douglas L. Berger, 368
Note on Nirvikalpaka and Savikalpaka Perception
Johannes Bronkhorst, 373
Plant Lives: Borderline Beings in Indian Traditions, by Ellison Banks Findly
Reviewed by Elisa Freschi, 380
Zhuangzi and Early Chinese Philosophy: Vagueness, Transformation and Paradox, by Steve Coutinho
Reviewed by Aaron B. Creller, 385
Readings from the Lu-Wang School of Neo-Confucianism, translated with introductions by Philip J. Ivanhoe
Reviewed by JeeLoo Liu, 388
Die Kunst des Lebens und andere Künste: Skurrile Skizzen zu einem euro-daoistischen Ethos ohne Moral, by Günter Wohlfart
Reviewed by Geir Sigurðsson, 391
The Linji Lu and the Creation of Chan Orthodoxy: The Development of Chan’s Records of Sayings Literature, by Albert Welter
Reviewed by Mario Poceski, 395
Mengzi: With Selections from Traditional Commentaries, translated by Bryan W. Van Norden
Reviewed by Yuet Keung Lo, 399
Zhuangzi: The Essential Writings, with Selections from Traditional Commentaries, translated by Brook Ziporyn
Reviewed by Paul Fischer, 402
Books received, 405