Frontiers of Philosophy in China

ISSN 1673-3436

ISSN 1673-355X(Online)

CN 11-5743/B

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, Volume 11 Issue 4 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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Orginal Article
Rethinking Organizational Change: Implications from the Chinese Shi
Front. Philos. China. 2016, 11 (4): 540-555.

Abstract   PDF (345KB)

Much of conventional organizational thinking and practice has been dominated by a belief in stability, with change deemed a disruptive and temporary aberration in the larger scheme of things. This mindset ignores the dynamic, living complexity of organizational life and very likely leads to static management approaches which hinder and sometimes even destroy an organization’s effectiveness by restricting its ability to adapt to turbulent and chaotic events. The Chinese notion of shi is embedded in the ancient Chinese appreciation of reality, which saw change and transformation as an endless flow and an essential feature of the universe; shi is implied by the process of change and can be made to act in one’s favor. As a strategy, shi offers us salutary lessons in modern organizational research and practice: rather than merely trying to control every chain of management and avoid chaos and uncertainty by relying on planning and modeling, organizations should also maintain a tentative and alert sensibility concerning the inherent potential of the changing situation, and should be carried along by it as it evolves.

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Three Different Approaches to Virtue in Business- Aristotle, Confucius, and Lao Zi
Alicia Hennig
Front. Philos. China. 2016, 11 (4): 556-586.

Abstract   PDF (467KB)

The proposed paper presents an overview on the matter of virtue from different philosophical angles. It concentrates on three different schools of thought coming from the West and the East and their respective concepts of virtue. These schools of thought and the therewith-associated personalities and works discussed in this paper are Aristotelian virtue ethics, Confucianism and Daoism. The paper focuses specifically on the Nicomachean Ethics (NE) by Aristotle, the Analects belonging to Confucianism, and the Dao De Jing coming from Daoism. The paper is divided into three major parts. First, the concept of virtue of each school is outlined. In the second part, the concrete virtues as such according to each school are explained. In the third part, these virtues are then applied in specific business contexts like business practice, corporate culture and leadership, illuminating each school’s characteristic approach. The paper closes with a summary and conclusion. In the conclusion the paper outlines differences as well as similarities between Aristotelian and Confucian virtue ethics. Yet, the author generally takes a critical stance towards comparisons merely for the sake of finding similarities. Particularly between Aristotelian and Confucian virtue ethics there is a significant difference when it comes to the cultural and historical background of these schools, which should not be ignored. Besides, even within Chinese philosophy there are already significant differences when it comes to concepts and practice.

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The Development of Traditional Chinese View of Rule of Law and Its Modern Transformation
PENG Xinwu
Front. Philos. China. 2016, 11 (4): 587-607.

Abstract   PDF (345KB)

In the traditional order of the “rule of rites,” social status and relationships always held priority positions, which apparently went against the realization of social justice; Legalists thought highly of objectivity and avoided subjective randomness, and were more reasonable in this regard. However, following the integration of rites and law in the Han Dynasty, the technical aspect of Legalism emphasizing control of society and of the populace was strengthened, and in the meanwhile, their “true spirit” became concealed before long. The main signs of this are follows: (1) In the order of the “rule of rites,” the objectivity of law was gradually devoured by the subjectivity of human beings, thus the tradition where “human relationships replace law” came into being; (2) The law, which had shown the spirit of equality to a certain extent in the guise of Legalism, now degraded into a tool to maintain a hierarchy; (3) Rights were separated from duties, that is, some people enjoyed “rights without duties” as much as they wanted, while the rest were forced to carry out “duties without rights.” As history has warned us, in ruling a country, one cannot stake even the least bit of fortune upon human nature, and there can be only one bottom line and criterion, that is, common strict observance of and respect to “rules.” That should be the great value of the lesson that the pre-Qin Legalism has left for future generations.

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Whither “Confucian Management”?
Malcolm Warner
Front. Philos. China. 2016, 11 (4): 608-632.

Abstract   PDF (1275KB)

This article asks whether “Confucian Management” may be seen as the dominant influence in contemporary China. The philosophical legacy of Confucius on modern management theory and practice has received a good deal of attention in recent times, and here I attempt to assess its possible continuity. In order to carry out this task, I apply a bibliometric analysis called the “Culturomics” approach, looking at the literature on “Chinese Management” published in Mandarin in the last century, from 1900 onwards. After the presentation of the empirical data, the discussion section is set out, followed by the article’s conclusions.

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Narrating a Fantasmatic Unity: On the Contemporary Sinophone Discourse of China’s Civilizational Subjectivity
WU Guanjun
Front. Philos. China. 2016, 11 (4): 633-651.

Abstract   PDF (335KB)

A powerful discourse centered on China’s civilizational subjectivity has emerged in the Sinophone intellectual world since the early 2000s. Among many promoters of this intellectual trend, Gan Yang, together with his slogan of the “fusion of three traditions,” is indeed most influential. This study employs Lacanian psychoanalytic technics to tackle Gan Yang’s thesis, treating the latter not just an object for textual analysis, but more deeply (and fruitfully), that for psychoanalysis. The findings of the study reveal the presence of a fantasmatic structure framing and guaranteeing Gan’s (sharply inconsistent) vision of China’s civilizational subjectivity. Such fantasmatic formation can be referred to as the “Great Dragon fantasy”—a fantasy about China’s civilizational unity and glory.

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A Human Right to Internet Access: A Gewirthian Approach
WANG Xiaowei
Front. Philos. China. 2016, 11 (4): 652-670.

Abstract   PDF (278KB)

The paper aims at exploring if we have sound philosophical reason to embrace a human right to Internet access. While attempts to make Internet access a candidate for the standing of human right have become popular in both the political and legal arenas, we still lack serious philosophical reflection on this issue. The paper first evaluates the arguments made by various authors, and then moves to provide its own conclusions. Its logic is that if (i) Internet access is crucial for enabling democracy, and (ii) democracy is a basic human right, then we may have at least prima facie reason to see such a technology as a derived human right whose normativity supervenes on the right to democracy.

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On Toleration, Charity, and Epistemic Fallibilism
Mircea Dumitru
Front. Philos. China. 2016, 11 (4): 671-679.

Abstract   PDF (222KB)

In this paper I examine some presuppositions of toleration and pluralism and explore two models, viz., a deontological and a consequentialist model, respectively, which could support the view that rational agents should act in a tolerant way. Against the background which is offered by the first model, I give two arguments in favor of the view that people are better off and more rational if they act in a tolerant way. The first argument draws upon a principle of charity which is usually applied in philosophy of mind and philosophy of language, but which could, equally well, work with regard to foundational issues in ethics and philosophy of action. The second argument is built upon the epistemic principle of fallibilism and it is meant to show that acting in a tolerant way is the rational thing to do from this perspective.

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The Incomprehensible Art of Thomas Hobbes
Christopher C. Chrappa
Front. Philos. China. 2016, 11 (4): 680-697.

Abstract   PDF (262KB)

The political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes is one of the cornerstones of modern liberalism. Resting on controversial doctrines of freedom, perception, human nature, and history, the foundations of Hobbesianism presuppose an emergence of reason from matter-in-motion that Hobbes never adequately explains. In this paper I explore the motivations and consequences of his neglect of fundamental philosophical problems through a series of ambiguous uses of key terms manifested his work: nature, necessity, and God in metaphysics and theology; freedom in politics; intelligible unity in epistemology; and imagination in ethics. These show up, respectively, in his doctrines of naturalism, political science, phenomenalism, and the state of nature. While it may be that Hobbes’s metaphysical ideas are finally incoherent, this only raises a further question: Might Hobbes have recognized that the goal of a liberal state—a common human war against death—can only be grounded on sketchy and inadequate metaphysics, to be suppressed and avoided so far as possible? Primarily through a reading of the Leviathan, I explore this question and tentatively propose that an affirmative answer is warranted.

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11 articles