Please wait a minute...

Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Front. Philos. China    2017, Vol. 12 Issue (3) : 408-428     DOI: 10.3868/s030-006-017-0030-2
Orginal Article |
Ontology and Metaphysics in Chinese Philosophy
ZHENG Kai()
Department of Philosophy, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
Download: PDF(492 KB)  
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks
Abstract

This paper begins with a critique of the uses of the term “bentilun 本 體論 (ontology)” in modern Chinese scholarship by tracing their claim to being theoretical paradigms for understanding Chinese philosophy as a philosophical tradition. It is supplemented by a contrastive discussion of bentilun and its original ancient Greek counterpart, i.e. ontology, to show that the object of discourse in bentilun does not match up with that of ontology, namely “being qua being.” This comparative study also demonstrates that bentilun finds its philosophical significance in connection with the theory of xinxing 心性 (heart-mind). In the second section of this paper, a comparative study of “xingershangxue 形而上學 (metaphysics)” and “metaphysics” highlights the central tenet that the dao essentially transcends language. Daoist philosophy is used as an example that identifies a unique predilection toward philosophical concepts that transcend the realm of nameable thoughts and objects in Chinese philosophy. Textual evidence is provided to show that the conceptual possibility of xingershangxue is based upon a fundamental difference between you 有 (being) and wu 無 (not-being), in a way that is similar to philosophical developments in other early civilizations. Nonetheless, in addition to a philosophical interest in principles and values that transcend the material world, Daoist xingershangxue exhibits an idiosyncratic attention to notions and theories whose object of discourse is essentially unnameable. This characteristic philosophical interest is identified with the aim of locating essential disciplines within Chinese philosophy, including the theory of xinxing, practical wisdom, and the theory of jingjie 境界 (state-of-attainment) in a wider framework of east and west philosophical traditions.

Keywords bentilun      ontology      xingershangxue      metaphysics      wu      logos      being      Daoism     
Issue Date: 06 November 2017
 Cite this article:   
ZHENG Kai. Ontology and Metaphysics in Chinese Philosophy[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2017, 12(3): 408-428.
 URL:  
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fpc/EN/10.3868/s030-006-017-0030-2
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fpc/EN/Y2017/V12/I3/408
Service
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
RSS
Articles by authors
ZHENG Kai
Related articles from Frontiers Journals
[1] LIN Guanghua. Exploring the Non-objectified Character of Dao in the Laozi : A Modern Articulation1[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2017, 12(3): 358-376.
[2] DONG Xinchun. Western Marxism’s Misreading of Marx’s Critique of Capitalism[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2017, 12(3): 466-482.
[3] HE Jing, Ejgil Jespersen. Habitual Learning as Being-in-the-World: On Merleau-Ponty and the Experience of Learning[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2017, 12(2): 306-321.
[4] Bo R. Meinertsen. Towards Gratitude to Nature: Global Environmental Ethics for China and the World[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2017, 12(2): 207-223.
[5] CHENG Lesong. The Symbolism of the Body in Daoism[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2017, 12(1): 54-71.
[6] David Chai. Ji Kang on Nourishing Life[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2017, 12(1): 38-53.
[7] Thomas Michael, CHEN Yazhou. Approaching Laozi : Comparing a Syncretic Reading to a Synthetic One[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2017, 12(1): 10-25.
[8] Alicia Hennig. Three Different Approaches to Virtue in Business- Aristotle, Confucius, and Lao Zi[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2016, 11(4): 556-586.
[9] David Chai. On Pillowing One’s Skull: Zhuangzi and Heidegger on Death[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2016, 11(3): 483-500.
[10] JIN Xiping. Heidegger’s Conception of Being-with (Mitsein ) and His Simple Designation of Social and Political Reality in the Black Notebooks[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2016, 11(3): 415-429.
[11] Jeevan F. D’Souza,C. Kelly Adams. On Measuring the Moral Value of Action[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2016, 11(1): 122-136.
[12] Tom Stoneham. Quine on Quantification and Existence[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2016, 11(1): 54-72.
[13] Paul J. D’Ambrosio. Authenticity in the Zhuangzi ? Contemporary Misreadings of Zhen 真and an Alternative to Existentialism[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2015, 10(3): 353-379.
[14] GE Tianqin. Can Physical Parts of Substances Be Substances? The Dual Models of Analysis in Aristotle’s Notion of Substance[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2015, 10(3): 474-491.
[15] Richard Shusterman. Somaesthetics and Chinese Philosophy: Between Unity and Pragmatist Pluralism[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2015, 10(2): 201-211.
Viewed
Full text


Abstract

Cited

  Shared   
  Discussed