Ironies of Oneness and Difference: Coherence in Early by Brook Ziporyn

By Brook Ziporyn

Supplying a bracing growth of horizons, this booklet screens the unsuspected diversity of human considering at the most simple different types of expertise. the way early chinese language thinkers approached innovations equivalent to one and lots of, sameness and distinction, self and different, and inner and exterior stand in stark distinction to the way in which parallel options entrenched in a lot of contemporary pondering constructed in Greek and ecu idea. Brook Ziporyn lines the designated and fantastic philosophical trips present in the works of the formative Confucian and Daoist thinkers again to a winning set of assumptions that has a tendency to work out questions of id, price, and knowledge—the subject material of ontology, ethics, and epistemology in different traditions—as all finally with regards to questions on coherence in a single shape or one other. Mere expertise of the way many various methods humans can imagine and feature thought of those different types is itself a video game changer for our personal attitudes towards what's thinkable for us. the particular inhabitation and mastery of those substitute modes of considering is a good better experience in highbrow and experiential enlargement.

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Extra info for Ironies of Oneness and Difference: Coherence in Early Chinese Thought; Prolegomena to the Study of Li (SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture)

Sample text

In the present context, it is important to note that the distinction between “individual essences” and 24 IRONIES OF ONENESS AND DIFFERENCE “universal essences” is irrelevant. To the extent that an individual essence— for example, “what it is to be this cup,” as opposed to “what it is to be A CUP generally”—is assumed to persist through the many moments during which this particular cup may exist, and indeed through its various aspects as an unchanged “this‑cupness,” we have a “universal” with a certain range of application.

Li’s insight here is, in my view, closer to the real issue as I’d like to approach it in this work. What comes under scrutiny here is the assumption that there must be a single truth about what something ultimately is. From here it is a short step to asking whether existing means being ultimately and definitively the same as or different from something else. The question is the definitiveness of specifiable identity per se. But simply asserting and accepting these provisos are on my view too summary a way out of confronting what is most fascinating and worth our while in Chinese thought.

This similarity is not the criterion for membership, but rather an expression of a kind of relation‑ ship between these members. Much less is it the defining essence that is the same in all members, that makes them what they are, that constitutes their being and their participation in this universal. Lévi‑Bruhl seems to glimpse a tantalizing possibility here: a kind of grouping that is not entirely beholden to same‑different categories. But lacking any positive conception to put in their place, he finds no principle of organization here other than purely contingent ad hoc relations.

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