Special Issue: Tenth East-West Philosophers’ Conference, “Value and Values: Economics and Justice in an Age of Global Interdependence”
SPECIAL ISSUE ARTICLES
Retrospective on the Global Reach of the East-West Philosophers’ Conferences (Plenary Address at the Tenth East-West Philosophers’ Conference, May 16, 2011)
Marietta Stepanyants (Stepaniants), 829
Comparative philosophy has been institutionalized in different ways due to the East-West Philosophers’ Conferences started in Honolulu in 1939. The tradition of the EWPC is dynamic, sensitive to the changes and demands of the times. It moved ahead considerably from the initial “synthesis” approach to an examination of specific philosophical issues and themes that could be addressed from the background of different cultural perspectives. The EWPC might justly be recognized as the genuine forerunner of the dialogue of civilizations.
Mozi’s Teaching of Jianai (Impartial Regard): A Lesson for the Twenty-First Century?
Kirill O. Thompson, 838
In response to the waste, violence, and destruction of his times, Mozi began teaching jianai 兼愛 (impartial regard), a reflection on Confucius’ Silver Rule (SR) and teaching of ren 仁 (humaneness). Mozi regarded the negative formulation of the SR as too passive, and the concomitant expressions of ren conduct as circumscribed by the li 禮 (ritual action) that supported hierarchical elite clans and courts. Accordingly, it is argued here that SR and ren practice contributed to harmony and stability within the elites but not among them. Jianai thus reflects a positive Golden Rule (GR) and enjoins a mutual concern that crosses hierarchical levels and clusters, involving a notion of justice as fairness and equity. As an ethical precept of both intrinsic validity and practical efficacy for Mozi’s chaotic world, jianai sits well with our human intuition of fairness and equity, and empirically is shown conducive to fair and positive outcomes. Today, we are increasingly aware of other peoples around the world but also know that our interconnected global village is radically imbalanced. Most of the wealth entering impoverished areas is siphoned off to elites and does not contribute adequately to disadvantaged communities. Could jianai, as corollary of the GR, provide a missing link in contemporary arguments for viewing justice as equity? It expresses a clear and compelling moral truth that encourages empathy and consideration toward others, and the sort of human intuition that economic and business theory attempt to conceal, to the advantage of the vested interests. Mozi saw jianai as a moral theme conducive to a harmonious, win-win society and world.
It is argued here that the function of the well-field system of land ownership is consistent with the role of ritual propriety in Zhang Zai’s philosophy of qi 氣, which emphasizes the realization of a great harmony; a state of vital, affective harmony and equilibrium. In other words, this configuration of land works to realize economic equity, a means to the further end of producing and sustaining equilibrium and harmony among members of a community, and this, I argue, is also the function of ritual propriety.
This is a critique of capitalist conceptions of “value” that draws on Diñnāga’s and Dharmakīrti’s “exclusion of the other” semantics, Marxist philosophy, and poststructuralist feminist and queer theories. It diagnoses sufferings that are integral to the legal subject of capitalist economics, and raises questions about current interpretations of Buddhist appeals to “conventional truth.”
Rawls in Japan: A Brief Sketch of the Reception of John Rawls’ Philosophy
Satoshi Fukuma, 887
This essay explains how John Rawls’ philosophy has been received in Japan, especially in relation to Japanese culture, politics, and economy. It discusses the reason why, in the 1970s, Rawls’ works were first introduced into Japan not by ethicists and philosophers but rather by economists and jurists. From the 1980s, however, although Rawls’ thought has been mostly ignored by the general public, academics have become more interested in his ideas. In the 2000s, Japan entered a prolonged economic slump, and the resulting tension in society could direct public attention to the theories of justice and Rawls’ philosophy. Finally, future research on Rawls’ philosophy in Japan is proposed.
The Confucian Conception of Freedom
Chenyang Li, 902
Attributing a notion of “free will” to Confucian philosophy has serious limitations; it will be more fruitful to draw on contemporary feminist theories of freedom and autonomy, particularly the notion of autonomy competency, in explicating Confucian freedom. Here, the Confucian notion of freedom in terms of choosing (ze 擇) is articulated, and a Confucian conception of freedom as choosing the good (ze shan 擇善) is advanced. Under such a conception, freedom is competence-based, and its realization is liberating and fulfilling. The political implications of Confucian freedom are elaborated and it is argued that while Confucianism leaves plenty of room for civil liberties, a key consideration of the boundaries of individual liberty is the good of humanity.
Non-Representational Language in Mipam’s Re-Presentation of Other-Emptiness
Douglas S. Duckworth, 920
This essay probes the discourses of other-emptiness in the Jonang (jo nang) and Nyingma (rnying ma) traditions. After briefly introducing other-emptiness in Jonang, the locus classicus for other-emptiness in Tibet, I contrast the way Mipam (‘ju mi pham rgya mtsho, 1846–1912) positions the discourse of other-emptiness in his interpretative system. I then demonstrate how Mipam’s portrayal of other-emptiness highlights the way he uses a perspectival means to incorporate a diversity of seemingly contradictory claims that he uses to support his view of ultimate reality as indeterminate. It is argued that an implication of his view is a non-representational account of language about the ultimate.
Mindfulness and Mindlessness in Early Chan
Robert Sharf, 933
Some scholars of Chinese Chan Buddhism maintain that the innovations associated with early (eighth-century) Chan were largely in the area of doctrine and mythology. In other words, early Chan meditation and ritual practices would have been indistinguishable from non-Chan forms until the emergence, in the Song, of distinctive new methods such as kanhua meditation. This article argues that at least some of the early Chan patriarchs did indeed experiment with a new method (or methods), and that this method foreshadowed, at least superficially, techniques developed in twentieth-century Burmese Theravāda that we now associate with the satipaṭṭhāna movement (i.e., “mindfulness,” understood as “bare attention”); similar innovations, possibly influenced by early Chan, can be found in Tibetan Dzogchen. There is evidence that in eighth-century China, as in twentieth-century Burma, these new techniques emerged in order to make Buddhist practice more accessible to the laity, who were not in a position to engage in more traditional forms of meditation. And in China, as in Burma, the innovations sparked controversy: opponents held that the cultivation of a non-judgmental, non-discursive meditative state was ethically dubious and at odds with orthodox Buddhist teachings.
Karma and Rebirth in the Stream of Thought and Life
Mikel Burley, 968
This essay explores the concepts of karma and rebirth in the light of some key themes from the later work of Wittgenstein. After clarifying what it means to “bring words back from their metaphysical to their everyday use” it is considered how certain Wittgenstein-influenced philosophers, notably İlham Dilman and D. Z. Phillips, have sought to recover the meaning of “soul” from metaphysical misappropriations by invoking Wittgenstein’s notion of a “picture” The sort of conceptual recovery involved in this task resembles, in some respects, the “demythologizing” and “psychologizing” approaches of certain interpreters of the doctrine of karma and rebirth, especially within the context of Buddhist studies. Illustrative examples of these approaches are compared and contrasted and discussed in relation to instances of individuals articulating their belief in karma and rebirth. On the basis of this discussion, it is concluded that the interpretive approaches in question fail to account for the sense of individual responsibility for one’s own present circumstances that is central to how talk of karma and rebirth frequently operates “in the stream of thought and life.”
Leaving the Garden: Al-Rāzī and Nietzsche as Wayward Epicureans
Peter S. Groff, 983
A dialogue is initiated here between classical Islamic philosophy and late modern European thought, by focusing on two peripheral, “heretical” figures within these traditions: Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn Zakariyā’ al-Rāzī and Friedrich Nietzsche. What affiliates these thinkers across the cultural and historical chasm that separates them is their mutual fascination with, and profound indebtedness to, ancient Greek and Hellenistic philosophy. Given the specific themes, concerns, and doctrines that they appropriate from this common source, it is argued that al-Rāzī and Nietzsche should be read as Epicureans and seen in relation to their predecessor as part of the subterranean tradition of philosophical naturalism. However, while each figure appropriates the philosophy of Epicurus, they ultimately transform it in important ways: al-Rāzī offers us a qualified “Platonic” Epicureanism, while Nietzsche forges a radicalized “Dionysian” Epicureanism. The point of such a comparative examination is twofold. First, analyzing the divergent paths of these “wayward” Epicureans sheds new light on the historical trajectory of naturalism as a philosophical stance (as well as its current prospects and limitations). Second, by initiating a dialogue between the classical Islamic and modern European philosophical traditions, we can better understand the antagonisms and shared concerns between these two horizons, as well as the ambiguities and self-questioning that occur within them.
Rorty’s Thesis of the Cultural Specificity of Philosophy
James Tartaglia, 1018
In his brief consideration of non-Western philosophy between 1989 and 1991, Richard Rorty argued that dialogue between Western philosophy and non-Western traditions is not constructive since it almost inevitably involves fundamental misunderstanding, and he even expressed doubt about whether non-Western philosophy exists. This reaction seems out of character, given that Rorty specialized in forging unlikely alliances between philosophers from different Western traditions, and was an enthusiastic advocate of edification through hermeneutic engagement with unfamiliar vocabularies. It is argued here that given Rorty’s conception of philosophy as a literary tradition, he had no reason to exclude non-Western figures, and that his various arguments against the desirability of comparative philosophy–based on the different purposes of different traditions, their different conceptual schemes, and his notion of “transcultural character”–are all inconsistent with more characteristic elements of his thought, as well as independently unconvincing. The underlying reason Rorty adopted this combative stance toward comparative philosophy, it is argued, is that non-Western philosophy undermines his critique of Western philosophy, which depends on a cultural-specificity thesis according to which philosophical problems are rooted in obsolete European social needs. Against this thesis, this article concludes by arguing that philosophy has a natural subject matter.
The Quest for Wisdom as a Spiritual Exercise
Daniel De Smet, 1039
Forward to the Past
Dimitri Gutas, 1042
COMMENT AND DISCUSSION
Response to Jonathan Gold’s Review of Brains, Buddhas, and Believing
Dan Arnold, 1057
Reply to Dan Arnold
Jonathan C. Gold,1067
Valuing Diversity: Buddhist Reflection on Realizing a More Equitable Global Future by Peter D. Hershock
Laura Specker Sullivan, 1069
The Self: Naturalism, Consciousness, and the First-Person Stance by Jonardon Ganeri
Itsuki Hayashi, 1077
Embodied Moral Psychology and Confucian Philosophy by Bongrae Seok
Nicholas S. Brasovan, 1084
Mortality in Traditional Chinese Thought ed. by Amy Olberding, Philip J. Ivanhoe
Armin Selbitschka, 1088
Daoism and Anarchism: Critiques of State Autonomy in Ancient and Modern China by John Rapp
Thomas M. Hughes, 1106
Li Zhi, Confucianism and the Virtue of Desire by Pauline C. Lee
Hilde De Weerdt, 1108
Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy by Bryan W. Van Norden
Ian M. Sullivan, 1115
Index to Volume 64, 1119