The Laws of Change: I ching and the Philosophy of Life

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History of Chinese Thought

A bibliography

Diana Lin

Most of the books listed here should be available through general interlibrary loan. More titles should be added as time goes on. Please also check the IUCAT, where there is a large collection of works on Chinese intellectual thought before 1600, and most of the titles there are not listed here. If you file for a book through interlibrary loan via the IUN library, you should get it within a week. After the list of books, there is an annotated list of articles from Philosophy East and West, downloadable from any school computer. If you want to search the journal directly, go to Project Muse, under Electronic Resources on the library’s web page. I have also included some book reviews from Philosophy East and West. You may browse through the reviews and go to the books reviewed if you find them relevant to your topic.

Besides Philosophy East and West, two other journals may also be relevant for your paper: Journal of Chinese Religions (Index page), and Journal of Chinese Philosophy (List of Issues). If you want an article from these journals, you can file for it through interlibrary loan and get it in one week. Again, the articles in Philosophy East and West below are directly downloadable from school computers.

Balkin, Jack. The Laws of Change: I Ching and the Philosophy of Life. Random House (Schocken), 2002

An in-depth, comprehensive introduction to the I Ching; the first book to consider all aspects—history, philosophy, interpretation, and practical application—of this classic, ancient text.

Campany, Robert Ford. To Live as Long as Heaven and Earth: A Translation and Study of Ge Hong’s Traditions of Divine Transcendents. University of California Press, 2002.

In late classical and early medieval China, ascetics strove to become transcendents—deathless beings with supernormal powers. Practitioners developed dietetic, alchemical, meditative, gymnstic, sexual, and medicinal disciplines (some of which are still practiced today) to perfect themselves and thus transcend death. Ge Hong (283-343 A.D.) collected and preserved many of their stories in his Tradition of Divine Transcendents. Robert Ford Campany’s path-breaking and carefully researched text offers the first complete, critical translation and commentary for this important Chinese religious work.

De Bary, W Theodore. The Trouble with Confucianism. Harvard University Press, 1996.

De Bary, W Theodore. Self and Society in Ming Thought. New York: Columbia University Press, 1970.

De Bary, W Theodore. The Unfolding of Neo-Confucianism. Columbia University Press, 1975.

Fingarette, Herbert. Confuciusthe Secular as Sacred. Harper Torchbooks, 1972.

Hymes, Robert. Way and Byway: Taoism, Local Religion, and Models of Divinity in Sung and Modern China. University of California Press, 2002.

Extensive translations of poetry, ghost stories, and canonical sources make it possible for the first time to glimpse the richness of life in a Taoist community in the distant past.

Little, Stephen. Taoism and the Arts of China. University of California Press, 2000.

A visually stunning and textually informative introduction to Chinese Taoism.

Munro, Donald J. The Concept of Man in Early China. Stanford University Press, 1969.

Munro, Donald J.  Individualism and holism : studies in Confucian and Taoist values.  Ann Arbor : Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan, 1985.

Nylan, Michael. The five "Confucian" classics. New Haven : Yale University Press, c2001.

Reid, T.R. Confucius Lives Next Door: What Living in the East Teaches Us About Living in the West. Random House, 1999.

Roberts, Moss. Dao De Jing: The Book of the Way (Lao Zi). University of California Press, 2001.

Roberts has achieved a translation that replicates, as closely as possible, the literary merit of the original.

The following articles are from the journal Philosophy East and West. The links are accessible from a campus computer.

Philosophy East and West: Volume 56, Number 1, January 2006

Lai, Karyn, Li in the Analects: Training in Moral Competence and the Question of Flexibility. [Access article in PDF]

  • Abstract:

It is proposed here that the Confucian li, norms of appropriate behavior, be understood as part of the dynamic process of moral self-cultivation. Within this framework li are multidimensional, as they have different functions at different stages in the cultivation process. This novel interpretation refocuses the issue regarding the flexibility of li, a topic that is still being debated by scholars. The significance of this proposal is not restricted to a new understanding of li. Key features of the various stages of moral development in Confucian thought are also articulated. This account presents the picture of a Confucian paradigmatic person as critically self-aware and ethically sensitive.

Yuan, Jinmei. The Role of Time in the Structure of Chinese Logic
[Access article in PDF]

  • Abstract:

Ancient Chinese logicians presupposed no fixed order in the world. Things are changing all the time. Time, then, plays a crucial role in the structure of Chinese logic. This article uses the concept of "subjective time" and the Leibnizian concept of "possible worlds" to analyze the structure of logic in the Later Mohist Canon and in the logical reasoning of other early Chinese philosophers. The author argues that Chinese logic is structured in the time of the now. This time is subjective and "spreads out" to more than one possible world. Chinese logicians had to deal with relationships in not only a single world but also more than one "possible world." The aim of Chinese logical reasoning is not to represent any universal truth but to point out (zhi ) a particular-world-related truth, or, in other words, the harmony of relations among particulars in a particular field at a single moment. Therefore, a valid Chinese logical argument represents only the beauty of harmony among possible worlds at a given moment. The harmony represented by Chinese logic brings to light a high level of aesthetic order in a world that is always changing.
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