Frontiers of Philosophy in China

ISSN 1673-3436

ISSN 1673-355X(Online)

CN 11-5743/B

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Research articles
Mencius’ Refutation of Yang Zhu and Mozi and the Theoretical Implication of Confucian Benevolence and Love
LI Jinglin,
Front. Philos. China. 2010, 5 (2): 155-178.

Abstract   PDF (298KB)
Confucianism defined benevolence with “feelings” and “love.” “Feelings” in Confucianism can be mainly divided into three categories: feelings in general (seven kinds of feelings), love for one’s relatives, and compassion (Four Commencements). The seven kinds of feeling in which people respond to things can be summarized as “likes and dislikes.” The mind responds to things through feelings; based on the mind of benevolence and righteousness or feelings of compassion, the expression of feelings can conform to the principle of the mean and reach the integration of self and others, and of self and external things. The “relations between the seven kinds of feelings and the Four Commencements,” however, was not developed into a theoretical idea in Confucianism. After Confucius, the relationship between the universality of natural sympathies and the gradation of love for relatives gradually became an important subject in Confucian ideas of benevolence and love. By “refuting Yang Zhu and Mozi,” Mencius systematically expounded on this issue. Love had two ends: self-love and natural sympathies, between which existed the love for relatives. These two ends were not the two extremes of Yang’s self-interest and Mozi’s universal love. Love for relatives not only implied a gradation, but also contained universality and transcendence that came from self-love. Love for relatives, natural sympathies and self-love had a kind of tension and connectivity between two dynamic ends. The Confucian idea of benevolence and love hence demonstrated differences and interconnectivity. An accurate understanding of such “feelings” and “love” is important for us to grasp Confucian thoughts on benevolence and its realization.
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On Pleasure: A Reflection on Happiness from the Confucian and Daoist Perspectives
CHEN Shaoming,
Front. Philos. China. 2010, 5 (2): 179-195.

Abstract   PDF (236KB)
This paper discusses the structural relationship between ideals on pleasure and pleasure as a human psychological phenomenon in Chinese thought. It describes the psychological phenomenon of pleasure, and compares different approaches by pre-Qin Confucian and Daoist scholars. It also analyzes its development in Song and Ming Confucianism. Finally, in the conclusion, the issue is transferred to a general understanding of happiness, so as to demonstrate the modern value of the classical ideological experience.
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The Advantages, Shortcomings, and Existential Issues of Zhuangzi’s Use of Images
BAO Zhaohui,
Front. Philos. China. 2010, 5 (2): 196-211.

Abstract   PDF (261KB)
Zhuangzi is considered a creative poet-philosopher because of his use of imaginative images. He used the imaginative images of his system to construct the world of the Dao. He left the essence of material things as they are to speak for the mystery of existence itself, and let them express both the state of and the dream for human freedom. Zhuangzi’s way of using images shows his own lack of the understanding about images, and his lack of adequate assessments. He used images in accord with his own personal preferences and fixed characteristics. He also had a tendency to equate the Dao which he experienced in his mind with the Dao itself. These shortcomings limit his improving and understanding of the Dao, so that his Dao failed to become more open to a wider existence.
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Political Thought in Early Confucianism
Front. Philos. China. 2010, 5 (2): 212-236.

Abstract   PDF (294KB)
The political philosophy of early Confucianism mainly focuses on the “shi 士 (scholar).” It is built on ideas such as that of “establishing a ruler in consideration of the people,” “taking yi 义 (righteousness) as li 利 (benefit)” and “following the Dao but not the ruler,” which demonstrate the foundations of political legitimacy, justice as a political principle, and principles of a scholar to become an official. Although the political thought of early Confucianism has its historical limitations, such as the lack of both political equality and the universal recognition of rights, there is both a demand for and possibility of democratic politics in the philosophy. Thus, how to extend awareness of scholars to awareness of people and how to transform a focus on virtue into a focus on rights become the crucial theoretical questions that Confucianism faces in the contemporary world.
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The Renaissance of Traditional Chinese Learning
ZHANG Shuguang,
Front. Philos. China. 2010, 5 (2): 237-254.

Abstract   PDF (245KB)
Under the influence of Western learning, there was a revival in the study of “traditional Chinese learning.” It moved from the “center” to the “edge” after its ideological sanctity was eliminated in modern times. Traditional Chinese learning is still a vital force, however. Traditional Chinese culture emphasizes the productive and social “relationships” and the harmonious “whole,” as well as the Chinese efforts to control their own fate. Traditional Chinese learning revolves around the idea of “human beings,” a vivid manifestation of which is the idea of “benevolence” in Confucianism. If China’s modernization is no more than the transformation and transcendence of the nation under the influence of external forces, traditional Chinese learning would be able—through its inheritance and development of benevolence—to become an important philosophical source for Chinese people. But this can only occur through sufficient awareness of culture and learning.
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Virtue Ethics and Modern Society—A Response to the Thesis of the Modern Predicament of Virtue Ethics
Front. Philos. China. 2010, 5 (2): 255-265.

Abstract   PDF (172KB)
The revival of modern Western virtue ethics presents the question of whether or not virtue ethics is appropriate for modern society. Ethicists believe that virtue ethics came from traditional society, to which it conforms so well. The appearance of the market economy and a utilitarian spirit, together with society’s diversification, is a sign that modern society has arrived. This also indicates a transformation in the moral spirit. But modern society has not made virtues less important, and even as modern life has become more diversified, rule-following ethics have taken on even greater importance. Modern ethical life is still the ethical life of individuals whose self-identity contains the identity of moral spirit, and virtues have a very important influence on the self-identical moral characters. Furthermore, modern society, which is centered around utilitarianism, makes it apparent that rules themselves are far from being adequate and virtues are important. Virtues are a moral resource for modern people to resist modern evils.
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Kant’s Virtue Theory
GAO Guoxi,
Front. Philos. China. 2010, 5 (2): 266-279.

Abstract   PDF (221KB)
By focusing on human virtues rather than the general morality of rational beings, Kant’s virtue theory presents systematic arguments from the perspectives of reason and experiential emotion, norms and disposition, spirituality and humanity, etc., which is of great significance to an overall understanding of Kantian ethics, thus clarifying misunderstandings from the past decades.
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Laws, Causality and the Intentional Explanation of Action
XU Zhu,
Front. Philos. China. 2010, 5 (2): 280-293.

Abstract   PDF (218KB)
Whether or not an intentional explanation of action necessarily involves law-like statements is related to another question, namely, is it a causal explanation? The Popper–Hempel Thesis, which answers both questions affirmatively, inevitably faces a dilemma between realistic and universalistic requirements. However, in terms of W.C. Salmon’s concept of causal explanation, intentional explanation can be a causal one even if it does not rely on any laws. Based on this, we are able to refute three characteristic arguments for the claim “reason is not a cause of action,” namely, the “proper logical” argument, the “logical relation” argument, and the “rule-following” argument. This rebuttal suggests that the causal relationship between reason and action can provide a justification for intentional explanations.
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Toward Model-Theoretic Modal Logics
MA Minghui,
Front. Philos. China. 2010, 5 (2): 294-311.

Abstract   PDF (326KB)
Adding certain cardinality quantifiers into first-order language will give substantially more expressive languages. Thus, many mathematical concepts beyond first-order logic can be handled. Since basic modal logic can be seen as the bisimular invariant fragment of first-order logic on the level of models, it has no ability to handle modally these mathematical concepts beyond first-order logic. By adding modalities regarding the cardinalities of successor states, we can, in principle, investigate modal logics of all cardinalities. Thus ways of exploring model-theoretic logics can be transferred to modal logics.
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9 articles