Disputers of the Tao: philosophical argument in ancient China. Front Cover. Angus Charles Graham. Open Court, – Philosophy – pages. Buy Disputers of the Tao: Philosophical Argument in Ancient China Sixth Printing by A.C. Graham (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday. A Review of Disputers of the Tao: Philosophic Argument in Ancient. China. By A. C. Graham. La Salle, Illinois: Open Court Publishing. Co., Pp.

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Lightman’s work contains welcome insights into the controversy over scientific epistemology in the nineteenth century.

Disputers of the Tao: Philosophical Argument in Ancient China – A.C. Graham – Google Books

But it is also an aggravating work. This book is an important elaboration of the dispute over the context of scientific naturalism. But it is not enough to claim that England’s stability in a period of rapid social dislocation was partly the result of the evangelical delight in science, seriousness, and duty of the kind we might associate with Samuel Smiles.

The agnostic response to the lectures of Mansei, Huxley well understood, had far wider implications.

It is therefore very frustrating diwputers find Lightman concluding that the credibility and popularization of agnosticism did not survive the destruction of the Victorian age by the new physics and by the revolt against positivism. The success of agnosticism was evidently deeply rooted in Victorian society, but Lightman simply fails to show us how. To suggest that the cult of science was doomed to be overwhelmed by a world war is convenient, but hardly helpful.

While Lightman has produced a sophisticated view of the rise of agnosticism, it would have been much more to the point if he had been able to present a more thorough study of why agnosticism had any resonance at all in the Victorian world. Disputers of the Tao: PhilosophicalArgument in Ancient China. For those who will read only one book on Chinese philosophy, A.


Disputers of the Tao: Philosophical Argument in Ancient China

Graham’s Disputers tthe the Tao is it. By employing a conceptual framework that is located in, but not dependent on, chronological time, Graham offers an interpretation of classical Chinese thought that emphasizes the evolving nature of philosophical issues.

His use of recent studies along with a range of sources from the philosophical to the textual and grammatical raises the standard for the analysis of classical Chinese philosophy.

Graham divides his discussion into four major parts, dealing with the changing relationships between heaven a sky diety, sometimes the sky or nature itself and the world of human beings.

The first part, “The Breakdown of the World Order Decreed by Heaven,” examines the earliest Chinese thinkers as they rao to the social problems arising from the disintegration of the Chou dynasty’s politico-social order. Graham points out a critical distinction between the followers of Confucius oof the other philosophical schools. The Confucians were the professional teachers, the upholders of ancient tradition, whereas the others–Mohists, Yangists, Shen-nung utopiansand Sophists–were the ones who offered competing views.

The Confucians were thus not simply another school. In the next part, “From Social to Metaphysical Crisis: Heaven Parts from Man,” Graham looks at the varied responses to emerging philosophical problems.

Mencius’s theory of the goodness of human nature, the view important later in Neo-Confucianism, is treated here. Using selections from the technical Mohist texts, Graham analyzes the later Mohists’ utilitarian moral position and shows how it fit into their categorization of knowledge. Connecting the later Mohists and Chuang-tzu through their respective interests in language, Graham also characterizes Chuang-tzu retrospectively classified as a Taoist as the antirationalist who showed that knowledge of the world is not obtained simply by setting up alternatives.


Accepting that humans had become separated from the Way, these thinkers adopted a new kind of pragmatism and, in different ways, all addressed the problem of names and reality. In rhe to Western philosopherswhose aim has often been to distinguish between appearance and reality, these Chinese thinkers focused Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.

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