Sep 2009, Volume 4 Issue 3

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  • Research articles
    CUI Dahua ,
    The Confucian idea of “ming 命 (destiny)” holds that in the course and culmination of human life, there exists some objective certainty that is both transcendent and beyond human control. This is a concept of ultimate concern at the transcendental theoretical level in Confucianism. During its historical development, Confucianism has constantly offered humanist interpretations of the idea of “destiny”, thinking that the transcendence of “destiny” lies inherently within the qi endowment and virtues of human beings, that the certainty of “destiny” is in essence contingency at the beginning of life and linear irreversibility towards its end, and that to live in light of ethics and physical rules — having a “commitment to human affairs” — means putting “destiny” into practice. As all these facts show, the Confucian ultimate concern regarding human life is full of rational awareness.
  • Research articles
    ZHU Renqiu ,
    The formation of the discourse of Neo-Confucianism1 in the Song period was a result of the interactions between many social and cultural trends. In the development of the Neo-Confucian discourse, the Cheng brothers (Cheng Hao and Cheng Yi) played key roles with their charismatic thoughts and impelling personalities, while Zhu Xi pushed Neo-Confucian thought and discourse to a pinnacle with his broad knowledge and precise reasoning. In the warm discussions and debates between different schools and thoughts, the Neo-Confucian discourse proceeded towards completion and perfection, and evolved as contemporary topics and thinking modes changed. The essay argues that “ding xing 定性 (stilling the nature)” was an important Neo-Confucian topic during the Song period. The doctrine of “stilling the nature” involves much central Neo-Confucian discourse such as the definition of xing 性 (human nature), the interior and exterior aspects of human nature, nature and qing 情 (feelings, sentiments), nature and xin 心 (mind, heart), nature and ren 仁 (benevolence, humanity, humaneness) and yi 义 (righteousness), nature and shi 事 (affair) or wu 物 (thing, object), the practice of preservation and cultivation, etc. Therefore, an examination of the formation, development and evolution of Neo-Confucianism is of great importance to the study of its early history.
  • Research articles
    ZHANG Zailin ,
    Unlike traditional Western philosophy, which places no special emphasis on the importance of family structure, traditional Chinese philosophy represented by Confucianism is a set of theories that give family a primary position. With family as the foundation, a complete framework of “human body → two genders → family and clan” is formed. Therefore, family in Chinese philosophy is existent, gender-interactive and diachronic. It should also be noted that family also plays a fundamental role in Chinese theories on cosmology, religion, and many other subjects. In other words, Chinese culture as a whole is imprinted with reflections on family. Nowadays, as the value of family becomes less prominent, re-examining ancient Chinese philosophy will undoubtedly bear theoretical significance. Meanwhile, traditional Chinese philosophy can also offer an ideological framework for the re-construction of family values in the contemporary world.
  • Research articles
    YU Weidong , XU Jin ,
    Both thinkings on Dao in Chinese philosophy and metaphysics in Western philosophy investigate things on a spiritual level that transcends experience, but there are incommensurable differences between them. The objective of “metaphysics” is ontological knowledge about nature from the perspective of epistemological “truth-pursuing”. Western metaphysics is thus a “metaphysics of nature”. Dao in Chinese philosophy, on the other hand, more often manifests itself in “good-pursuing” by means of the internal, experiential pursuit of moral stature and spiritual security. Philosophy of Dao is thus a “metaphysics of ethics”. The cause of this difference can be traced back to the differences between the rational tradition of the West, characterized by the dualism of the subject and the object, and the moral tradition of China, characterized by the integration of man and nature.
  • Research articles
    GAN Shaoping ,
    The concept of human dignity and the relationship between dignity and human rights have been important subjects in contemporary international academia. This article first analyzes the different understandings of the concept of dignity, which has left great influences in history (including the “theory of attribution-dignity”, the “theory of autonomy-dignity” or the “theory of moral completeness/achievement-dignity”, and the “theory of end-in-itself-dignity”); it then exposes the obvious defects of these modes of understanding; finally, it tries to define dignity as a moral right to be free from insult. Meanwhile, the relationship between human dignity and human rights is clarified as a result of this research: Rather than being the foundation of human rights, human dignity is one of human rights. The idea of dignity nevertheless has a particular status in ethics in that it embodies a kind of core moral concern, representing a basic demand rooted in the human self or individuality, and hence representing an important aspect of human rights. We may anticipate that sooner or later, the idea of human dignity will become, together with other human rights, the only intangible cultural heritage of human society.
  • Research articles
    YAN Hui ,
    In terms of life space, individuals are usually settled in different spaces according to relationships of blood, geography, and profession. In pre-modern societies, ethics were realized through customs, conventions, taboos, magical practices, and politics. Because this was not an open process in which rationality was sufficiently employed, non-reflectiveness and non-criticality were its essence, and intuitions and feelings were its basic modes of existence. In modern societies, the logic of capital movement settles groups of people according to their economic dependence, and interactions based on individuals’ desires and self-serving calculations have become widespread and frequent. A space for public interaction and life in which rationality is sufficiently employed and rational bases of the rules are constantly questioned thus finally came into being. Families and villages lost their centrality, resulting in a crisis of private interactions and life, and of its system of norms.
  • Research articles
    YU Wujin ,
    For a long time, under the influence of traditional Western philosophy, Orthodox interpreters have distorted Marx’s philosophy as the ontology of matter, thereby concealing the essence of Marx’s philosophy, and eliminating the fundamental difference between Marx’s philosophy and traditional philosophy. This paper proposes that Marx’s philosophy is not the ontology of matter, but on the contrary, by examining the ontology of matter, Marx put forward his own ontological theory, i.e., the ontology of the praxis-relations of social production, by which Marx linked the realms of phenomenon and essence, revealing the content and essence of his philosophy.
  • Research articles
    PAN Derong ,
    Judging Gadamer’s theoretical stance is a complicated matter, and his ontological hermeneutics is usually regarded as a text-centered theory of understanding. Through an analysis of the phenomenological premises from which his theories take off, however, we can clearly see his reader-centric stance. On the basis of this stance some cease to seek for the original intention of the author or the original meaning of the text, which ineluctably leads to the ignorance of an understanding methodology. As far as people’s intentional understanding is concerned, however, the important as well as essential task is still that of striving for a certain kind of understanding that is relatively correct, with universally effective methodology as its necessary prerequisite. What is more, herein lies the significance of the epistemology of hermeneutics. This article aims to re-insert a sense of methodology after hermeneutics went through a period of ontological reflection, and hence clarify that it is of necessity that hermeneutics resumes its text-centric methodological stance.
  • Research articles
    CHEN Gang ,
    Scientific progress in the 20th century has shown that the structure of the world is hierarchical. A philosophical analysis of the hierarchy will bear obvious significance for metaphysics and philosophy in general. Jonathan Schaffer’s paper, “Is There a Fundamental Level?”, provides a systematic review of the works in the field, the difficulties for various versions of fundamentalism, and the prospect for the third option, i.e., to treat each level as ontologically equal. The purpose of this paper is to provide an argument for the third option. The author will apply Aristotle’s theory of matter and form to the discussion of the hierarchy and develop a theory of form realism, which will grant every level with “full citizenship in the republic of being.” It constitutes an argument against ontological and epistemological reductionism. A non-reductive theory of causation is also developed against the fundamental theory of causation.
  • Research articles
    YE Feng ,
    The Kripkean metaphysical modality (i.e. possibility and necessity) is one of the most important concepts in contemporary analytic philosophy and is the basis of many metaphysical speculations. These metaphysical speculations frequently commit to entities that do not belong to this physical universe, such as merely possible entities, abstract entities, mental entities or qualities not realizable by the physical, which seems to contradict naturalism or physicalism. This paper proposes a naturalistic interpretation of the Kripkean modality, as a naturalist’s response to these metaphysical speculations. It will show that naturalism can accommodate the Kripkean metaphysical modality. In particular, it will show that naturalism can help to resolve the puzzles surrounding Kripke’s a posteriori necessary propositions and a priori contingent propositions.
  • research-article
    GUO Jiahong

    The main task is to discuss the issue in belief dynamics in which philosophical beliefs and rational introspective agents incorporate Moorean type new information. First, a brief survey is conducted on Moore’s Paradox, and one of its solutions is introduced with the help of Update Semantics. Then, we present a Dynamic Doxastic Logic (DDL) which revises the belief of introspective agents put forward by Lindstr?m & Rabinowicz. Next, we attempt to incorporate Moorean type new information within the DEL (DDL) framework, as advised by van Benthem, Segerberg et al. Though we maintain the principle of “the primacy of new information” from the literature on traditional belief revision theory, several unsuccessful ways are also presented. We then conclude that some special kind of success (weak success) can still be found in those revision processes although absolute success does not hold. At last, the relevant problem of “learnability” is re-considered through weak success.