Thursday, January 04, 2007

Chapter I Point IV:
Ancient philosophical texts from both China and the west are often times fragmented. The development of Chinese philosophy has to pay special attention here to the tendency to cite ancient references in pre-Qin thought as well as the practice of interpolation during the Warring States period, Qin and Han dynasties. This has made it imperative for those studying Chinese philosophy to conduct stringent textual research and criticism. Modern thinkers have had to rely on the work of experts in other fields to get an understanding of the entire picture surrounding the emergence and development of thought in China.

While China has had its own set of questions to face throughout the years, it would be absurd now to insist that western philosophical disciplines such as logic and epistemology could not be used in understanding China’s past. Some may claim that it would be inappropriate to use these disciplines to describe Chinese thought, but it is the very universality of these methods that makes them pertinent even in China. The common ground that we seek can be attributed just as much to Chinese people as to western people; that is to say why is a Chinese individual any less so than a western one? In examining the ancient philosophical texts in China, we see an inherent openness and respect for individuality that almost flies in the face of political tendencies there throughout the ages. The theory of openness is a common theory that can be used to look at both western and Chinese philosophy; it’s a universal that can be applied both in China and the west to alleviate concrete problems such as poverty and discrimination, bringing about the best of our common humanity.

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