Traditional Chinese philosophy sprouted from the religious thought of the Yin or Zhou Dynasty, and reached its first peak in the Warring States (Zhan Guo) period of ancient China. It is considered to be the contentious period of a hundred schools of thought. Daoism and Confucianism developed during this time of intense warfare. We could say that scholarship was developing from a state of chaos to refinement. Since then, Chinese philosophy has undergone several major changes in the Wei, Jin, Tang, Song, Ming and Qing Dynasties, blending Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism, evolving into many diverse schools of thought such as Song and Ming Neo-Confucianism, especially Zhu Xi’s and Wang Yangming’s interpretations. Their influence has radiated throughout East Asia and the world.
Western philosophy has always attached importance of looking at humans and nature as two segments, focusing on speculation, analysis, logical deduction, and exploring the objective world. In contrast, Chinese philosophy pays more attention to the harmony of nature and man, learning that is both sound in theory and practice, ecological protection, and ethical practices. Chinese philosophy seeks spiritual development or transcendence in worldly life, associated with social reality and the practice of interpersonal ethics. As Xun Qing (荀卿) said, the ancients who are good talkers must be conservative in the present, and the good talkers must be conscientious (善言古者必有節於今，善言天者必有征於人). To learn from the past is to guide today’s behavior and to show concern for the present. To follow the course of nature in some sense is the best thing humans can do. At this level, Chinese philosophy shows a strong realistic concern.
This special issue focuses on how contemporary philosophical researchers apply traditional Chinese philosophical wisdom, and how they contribute their views in the realms of morality and ethics, social order, political practice, natural harmony, cognitive technology, environmental ecology, and artistic creation. All the articles use an historical approach to distil a way of life and morality.
Let’s lift the curtain on the special issue with a paper by Dong Xu et al. entitled “The Confucian Concept of “Governance” and Its Contemporary Value”. In China, Confucianism for more than two thousand years has been the cultural core and political foundation of imperial autocracy. The author expounds the origin, connotation, and contemporary value of Confucianism in terms of nature, people-orientation, sovereign-orientation. The interpretation of Confucianism provides important theoretical guidance for current political practice.
“Harmony” is a key concept in Chinese philosophy, which is the theme of the second article by Fuxing Ren, entitled “Confucian Harmony and The Idea of Sustainable Development in Modern Society”. The author elaborates the theoretical connotation of Confucian idea that “Harmony is valued”. He points out that this idea has experienced the evolution of social practice from “harmony among human beings” to “harmony in political order”. It has also undergone the transformation of ecological order from “man is an integral part of nature” to “harmony between man and nature” and the expansion of economic purpose from “continuous reproduction” to “sustainable development”. Finally, he proposes that the Confucian idea that “Harmony is valued” has value for the sustainable development of modern society.
The third article is entitled “Insights from Zhuxi’s Philosophy of Education for Modern Education”, co-authored by Hanqiao Tang and Lei Shen. This article starts with the philosophical thinking of “the nature of destiny” (天命之性) and “the nature of temperament” (氣質之性). It analyses the educational philosophy of Zhu Xi, a master of Neo-Confucianism, and makes in-depth discussion of Zhu Xi’s “step-by-step progress, familiarity and contemplation”, “self-observation, focusing on the student’s strength” and a method of reading to build a bridge to improve modern education, and provide innovative ideas for the development of contemporary educational theory and the improvement of instruction and student learning.
The fourth article in this special issue focuses on the culture of filial piety, which is one of the core values of Chinese culture. The article is co-authored by Hua Li and Gengxuan Wu and is entitled “Implications of China’s Filial Piety Culture for Its Contemporary Elderly Care”. At present, China is facing an increasingly ageing population and the concerns associated with how to properly care for the nation’s elderly. The author has made an overall review to the history of filial piety and summarized filial culture in two important manifestations, one is support and the other respect. To solve the elderly and aging problems in the contemporary society, the key is not only providing material support for the aged within families and in society, but also caring for their spiritual needs and mental health.
The fifth article by Jirong Yang and Hal Swindall entitled “Study on The Influence of The Thought of Jixia Academy on The Construction of Pre-Qin Social Order” explicates the general situation of the Jixia Academy, the ideological connotation of the Jixia School, the characteristics of the social order in the pre-Qin period, and its construction are discussed in multiple dimensions. It provides an important reference to the deep excavation and widespread dissemination of its cultural connotation.
The sixth paper is written by Joaquín López-Múgica in Spanish entitled “La Contemporaneidad Transcultural De La Pintura De Juan Baños En China”. The purpose of this article is to explore in the context of Shanghai the way in which the differences and similarities between Chinese and Spanish cultures are revealed, defined, and questioned through the pictorial canvases of Juan Antonio Baños. The mere gesture of Baños´ artwork in attempting to translate the traces of Shanghai by means of a world of dislocations and citations incites a heterogeneous symphony of varied spaces and times that amplify the possibilities of artistic knowledge between East and West. Drawing from the analysis of a postcolonial framework that stretches from baroque hyperrealism to retro-futurist epistemologies of the city, right up to a kitsch pop art, the article claims that this translatable cultural itinerary displaces the ways of understanding contemporary art in China towards a post-paradigmatic period.
The seventh paper comes from Kien Thi Pham and Xuan Dung Bui entitled “ Nguyen Trai of benevolence and righteousness are necessary for Vietnamese today”. Nguyen Trai lived in the 15th century, whose ideas have become an important example of Vietnamese ethics, culture, soul, and wisdom. The paper studies Nguyen Trai’s philosophy to help develop a prosperous and happy country using the nation’s traditional cultural values. The article uses the methodology of dialectical materialism as a general principle and a specific historical principle to evaluate Nguyen Trai’s theory of benevolence and righteousness in terms of compassion, justice, and management, associated with the interests of the people, the community, and society. The article also uses analytical and synthesis methods to highlight the content of benevolence and righteousness in the cultural tradition of the Vietnamese nation today.
Lizhi Xing’s article “Achieving Perfection with The Buddhist Faith: A Probe into The Matter-of-Fact Attitude in Research on Religious Funerary Documents in China”, in the form of a book review, analyses the research methodology in the book “Research on Religious Funerary Documents in China”. The first point to mention is that the author seeks truth by criticizing and challenging the views of some distinguished scholars. Further, we can see that the author argues rigorously to screen out and distinguish misinformation in archaeology. Most importantly, the paper offers a thorough analysis of the historical materials from an objective point of view standing on the background of the current times.
The last paper contributed by Zhaoli Shi and Tao Kang is entitled “The Educational Philosophy of ‘Learning-Oriented Teaching’ in the Analects and its insights for contemporary times.” This paper focuses on “learning-oriented teaching” in the Analects of Confucius, contrary to the present trend that focuses on a “teaching-oriented” pedagogue, offering enlightening methodology for contemporary education. On the basis of introduction to the prominence of “learning-oriented teaching” in the Analects, the author deeply analyses the notion in Confucius’ educational system and the reason for its formation. Finally, the author proposes that modern educational pedagogue should pay close attention to a learning-oriented approach instead of the teaching-oriented approach as Confucius did to promote educational reform.
Through the abovementioned nine articles, we have explored the application of Chinese philosophy in modern times to a certain extent. However, this academic project only touches the tip of the iceberg of Chinese philosophy, for Chinese philosophy is extensive and profound with rich content. These articles show the state of the art of funded research in China today. In this special issue, the authors express their arguments modestly and cautiously, opening an occasion for continued debate from various perspectives, whilst contributing to the academy and the world.
This is how it is constituted, which is one of the Dossiers published by Trans/Form/Ação. In recent years, we have been celebrating a series of partnerships for the publication of thematic issues like the one we present here. As an example, in agreement with the Center for Philosophy, Politics and Culture, based at the University of Évora, Portugal, we published the “Dossier Philosophy of Technique and Technology”. In partnership with the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), we published the “Dossier Ernest Sosa”, with an article by the honoree himself. Most of the articles in these dossiers were published by foreign researchers, without disregarding the participation of Brazilians in the issues. In 2021, a series of books by graduates and members of the PPGFil were also published in partnership with the Graduate Program in Philosophy at UNESP, evaluated through an Internal Public Notice.
We are also organizing, in partnership with the Graduate Program in Philosophy at the University of São João Del-Rey, a Dossier on Brazilian authorial philosophy. Around twenty recognized national researchers were invited to write in the first person on topics of their research. We seek, with such an activity, to contribute to the construction and strengthening of a national philosophy, trying to include the meaning of this term or practice. The Dossier in question contains, in its schedule, the publication of pre-prints, an innovative experience in the journal and in the humanities area with the objective of considering the good practices established by the Open Science program.
In all partnerships, we explicitly commit to the quality of the texts, respecting the journal’s evaluation criteria, in a double-blind peer review character, even for invited authors.
As Alves (2021ALVES, M. A. Apresentação. Trans/Form/Ação: revista de Filosofia da UNESP, v. 44, n. 4, p. 09-20, 2021., p. 12) recalls: “Following the journal’s custom, we seek to consider all methodologies, as well as the different areas of research in philosophy and also areas of philosophical interest.” In 2019, to illustrate this point, we had already published a special edition of the magazine exclusively on the thinking of authors from the Northern Hemisphere. It should be noted, however, that works from this hemisphere are common and predominant in philosophy, especially in Western philosophy of Greek origin. We are trying to turn our gaze and also offer opportunity to specialized research that does not have so much exposure and publication facility, democratizing access, production and the socialization of knowledge. This issue and the one on authorial philosophy are proof of that.
In addition to the geographic distribution of publications, the magazine has also been promoting other actions, with to the objective of reducing inequalities and offering opportunities to all. We reconfigured, for example, the Executive Committee, whose representation is now divided equally between the research areas of the Department of Philosophy and the Graduate Program in Philosophy at UNESP, to which the journal is linked, as well as seeking a more equitable gender division and external representation. The committee is mainly responsible for administrative and policy issues for the journal.
We also reconfigured the Editorial Board, seeking a more equal distribution of gender along, geographic, and thematic lines. Currently, female representation is equal to male representation. We intensified the participation of directors established in the Southern Hemisphere, as well as members from all regions of Brazil. The criterion adopted for the selection of national members is the proven activity in their Lattes curriculum, especially considering researchers with a CNPq/Category PQ-1 research productivity grant as a requirement. For foreign members, the choice is made based on their curriculum, in view of their production, impact factor and international reference.
The Editorial Board has an advisory role and can be called upon to suggest decisions on submitted material, in specific situations, to make suggestions on the journal’s editorial line, as well as to suggest or organize thematic issues. We also greatly increased the number of reviewers. Currently, we have almost three thousand researchers in our database.
We hope, with these practices, to continue guaranteeing the quality of our publications, promoting the socialization of knowledge in all areas and in all regions of Brazil and the world. We wish you good reading of this issue!!!
- ALVES, M. A. Apresentação. Trans/Form/Ação: revista de Filosofia da UNESP, v. 44, n. 4, p. 09-20, 2021.
Publication in this collection
25 May 2022
Date of issue
21 Dec 2021
15 Jan 2022