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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Front. Philos. China    2008, Vol. 3 Issue (2) : 194-212
A differentiation of the meaning of “qi” on several levels
LI Cunshan
Institute of Philosophy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing 100732, China
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Abstract In Chinese philosophy, although the concept of “qi” has numerous meanings, it is not completely without order or chaotic. Generally speaking, “qi” has several different levels of meanings, such as in philosophy, physics, physiology, psychology, ethics, and so on. On the philosophical level, “qi” is similar to “air,” and it is essentially similar to the “matter-energy” or “field” in physics, which refers to the origin or an element of all things in the world. It is from this point that the meanings of “qi” in physiology, psychology, ethics as well as aesthetics are derived. This paper analyzes the meanings of “qi” on five levels and seeks to clarify misunderstandings about “qi,” such as its alleged pan-vitalistic, conscious and pan-ethical characters.
Issue Date: 05 June 2008
 Cite this article:   
LI Cunshan. A differentiation of the meaning of “qi” on several levels[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2008, 3(2): 194-212.
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