China Studies: Rediscovery of Sino-Hellenic Ideas

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According to the hypothesis proposed by Karl Jaspers, "the axial period" is supposed to range from the eighth century BC to the second century BC. This period of time witnessed the birth of out-standing thinkers in mainly three separated cradles of civilization, i.e., China, India and Greece. To my mind, these thinkers are spiritual geniuses preoccupied with the key issues and queries related to the entire cosmos in general and the conditions of human world in particular. They addressed such issues and queries from multiple horizons and thus offered varied insights. In a word, their pioneering thinking has opened up a rich spectrum of ideas radiating over myriad domains, and meanwhile laid down the primary foundation of human intelligence and spirituality as well. Most of the ideas remain either relevant or significant in different degrees to the status quo of the human race across the world, apart from all the other theoretical and practical arenas in question. They, therefore, compose the most important part of human legacy that appeared as milestones ever in history. Hence, we tend to rethink and reflect upon what they have thought and articulated at confrontation with diverse challenges and problems nowadays. This does not mean we are ready to step into their shoes or stroll along their beaten track. Rather, we attempt to rediscover the possible relevance and inherent limitations within their ideals, thought-ways, argumentations and the like. Naturally in so doing we are apt to find out something more than instructive, inspiring and thought-provoking above all. It is especially so when we are engaged in transcultural studies in the globalizational context par excellence.

About the author
WANG Keping is a fellow of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and a professor of Beijing Inrernational Studies University. 

★This book is outstandingly rich both in the breadth of its perspective and in its sensitivity to the spirit of Chinese and Greek ideas. It represents a true rediscovery of the ancient in the present. a distinctively useful accomplishment that reflects Professor Wang's scholarship and humanity.
  ——Eugenio Benitez (Universiry of Sydney)
★As a result oF his broad and deep knowledge of the Eastern and the Western way of thinking, Wang Keping writes lucidly to facilitate the understanding of some most important issues in human societies. All this leads one to reconsider the relevant impact that Plato, Confucius and other great philosophers may have on transforming our life for the better in the era of global1zation. This is a book that has to be read for today.
  ——Lilian Karali-Giannakopoulou (University of Athens)
★Wang Keping, one of the most prominent transcultural scholars, attempts to rediscover the Sino-Hellenic ldeas with reference to some of the most crucial contemporary issues such as war, governance, education, and creation. Combining the theoretical .speculation and sharp observation with a sense oF moral responsibility and deep humanity, he succeeds in giving us a great work, wholly original and mesmerizing.
  ——Elena Avramidou (Peking University)
Table of Contents
1.No More Hiroshimas and Sharp Weapons
2.The Anti-War Philosophy in Early Daoism
3.The Confucian Virtue of Ren in Social Relationships
4.A Harmonious Society in a Harmony-conscious Culture
5.Reconsidering Harmonism in China Today
6.Humane Governance and Pragmatic Reason
7.Efficient Governance via Synthetic Transformation

8.The Allegorical Exposition of the Psyche
9.Poetic Wisdomin the Myth of Er
10.The Psycho-paideia Mythos and the Platonic Philosopher
11.rlhe Theatrocracy and Corrupted Democracy
12.The Mixed Polity for the Second Best City-State
13.Plato's Lawgivers as Serious Poets

14.Art Education with Social Commitment
15.The Platonic Mimesis and the Chinese Moxie
16.Waterscape Aestheticin Chinese Vision

Sample Pages Preview
Naturally, the philosophical preoccupation with the two aforementioned issues of war and peace leads to an extensive re-consideration of different but relevant sources in either Eastern or Western cultural heritages. When this happens, I find it significant and necessary to revisit the anti-war philosophy in early Daoism for two very important reasons: first, the anti-war notion itself is two- dimensional, implying a stand against war in one sense, and a stance towards peace in the other sense. It is in practice a synthesis of both means and end, so to speak. Second, the anti-war ideas of the Daoist kind came into being over 2,500 years ago, but remain neglected ever since its advent. During this long span of time, war-prone politicians who are fanatic about power politics and military hegemony have continually misguided many peoples across the world by plunging them into war over and again, War by its destructive nature stays un-changed in the course of human history. However, from the past to the present, it has been of frequent recurrence with increasingly powerful and sophisticated weapons under such fine-sounding names as democratic liberation or value transformation, thus concealing the imperialist mentality and rendering innumerable victims, For instance, the Middle East and the Persian Gulf have witnessed brutal wars and human slaughters followed by terrorist attacks in the recent decade or so. There is even no sign to stop them so far. Just imagine. If we humans had treated the historical lessons more seriously by taking into account the Daoist wisdom, we would have committed fewer follies of waging war or any other forms of conflict than ever before. What follows is my expounding on the most basic elements of the anti-war philosophy in early Daoism, with reference to the status quo of the world today.
China Studies: Rediscovery of Sino-Hellenic Ideas