TitleChinese Processual Holism and Its Attitude Towards "Barbarians" and Non-Humans
AuthorsXiang, Shuchen
AffiliationPeking Univ, Inst Foreign Philosophy, Dept Philosophy & Religious Studies, 5 Yiheyuan Rd, Beijing 100871, Peoples R China
Issue DateOct-2020
PublisherSOPHIA
AbstractThis paper argues that the 'processual holism' of Chinese metaphysics explains its characteristic attitude towards non-humans such as animals and demons. As all things are constantly in process and form a continuum, it follows that ontological distinctions between 'species' become impossible to delimit. The distinctions one makes are instead understood as perspectival and provisional. These metaphysical assumptions explain the lack of interest in the Chinese tradition for classifying the distinctions between humans and non-human. We see many examples of the different schools of philosophy espousing the view that the distinction between humans and non-humans is tenuous, precarious and subject to change. A key implication that follows is that the Chinese worldview saw no ontological distinction between those considered as 'Chinese' and as 'non-Chinese.' The unavailability of ontological distinction (in the strong sense that ontological distinctions accurately represent the divisions of reality) as an explanation for the existence of difference means that phenomena that are perceived as anomalous, such as ghosts and spirits, are attributed to theperspectiveof the human agent; anomaly/difference isnotunderstood as ontological.
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11897/607777
ISSN0038-1527
DOI10.1007/s11841-020-00781-w
IndexedA&HCI
Appears in Collections:哲学系(宗教学系)

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