A Daoist Theory of Chinese Thought: A Philosophical Interpretation / Edition 1

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Presenting a refreshingly clear look at classical Chinese philosophy from a Daoist point of view, Hansen uses recently deciphered Chinese theories of language to shed light on Chinese ethical and political theories. A novel and acute picture of Chinese philosophical thought emerges when he draws these two strands together to give a unified picture of the rich Classical period of Chinese thought. Hansen draws on modern theories of meaning to guide this original interpretive theory. The rigorous methodology reveals a philosophically lucid Daoism grounded in distinctively Chinese theories of language and psychology. The philosophy of language perspective illuminates the Daoist love of paradox and conceptual play as it unmasks a philosophical artistry that orthodox accounts have obscured. This book reveals that the intuitionism responsible for the murky image of Chinese thought among reflective thinkers is a feature only of Confucianism. This methodically exacting revision of our view of all of ancient Chinese thought elevates Daoism above Confucianism in a demonstrably philosophical age. Offering an imaginative and precise interpretive theory of Daoism and of its philosophical concepts, this book will interest philosophers, anthropologists, linguists, cognitive scientists, ethicists, and political theorists as well as those interested in comparative literature, religion, and intellectual history.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Hansen contributes a much-needed re-assessment of Chinese philosophy....Hansen is refreshingly revisionist as his hermeneutic lays waste to such misconceptions as "THE Tao," transcendence, and unsayableness associated with dao-ism, as well as fundamental misconceptions about Chinese language and thought....His twin fortes are an almost surgical, positivist linguistic precision, cutting away at fat and exposing the bare bones, plus a holistic approach....Overall, the author's polysemous grasp of Chinese history makes his magnum opus an interdisciplinary resource, sure to be of interest to all students and scholars of comparative literature, philosophy/religion, and intellectual history."--China News Digest

"The time is ripe for this sort of wide-ranging reappraisal. I believe the book will be a major factor in setting the tone and parameters of the debate for the next decade."--Victor Mair, University of Pennsylvania

"Hansen's book is challenging and engages the reader in a direct and personal way. In addition to language and skepticism there are many topics woven into the fabric of the book which will also engage the reader."--Canadian Philosophical Reviews

"A Daoist Theory of Chinese Thought is a bold book by an intellectually ambitious and always original author."--Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195134193
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/28/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

1. An Introduction with Work to Do
2. The Context of Chinese Philosophy: Language and Theory of Language
Part I The Positive Dao Period
3. Confucius: The Baseline
4. Mozi: Setting the Philosophical Agenda
Part II The Antilanguage Period
5. Mencius: The Establishment Strikes Back
6. Laozi: Language and Society
Part III The Analytic Period
7. The School of Names: Linguistic Analysis in China
8. Zhuangzi: Discriminating about Discriminating
Part IV The Authoritarian Response
9. Xunzi: Pragmatic Confucianism
10. Han Feizi: The Ruler's Interpretation
Glossary of Chinese Characters

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