"the Perspicuity of Ghosts and Spirits" and the Problem of Intellectual Affiliations in Early China (Critical Essay)
The Journal of the American Oriental Society 2009, April-June, 129, 2
The Journal of the American Oriental Society
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This paper examines the short, recently published text from the Shanghai Museum collection of excavated Chu manuscripts, "The Perspicuity of Ghosts and Spirits [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "Ghosts and Spirits" for short)," in light of what it can tell us about intellectual affiliations in early Chinese thought. (1) I will first provide a tentative translation of this brief text. Next, I will analyze the text, drawing out the author's main arguments and pointing out what might be considered "Mohist" about it. I compare the author's main claims concerning ghosts and spirits with a variety of passages from the Mohist corpus and other relevant texts. (2) Lastly, I comment on the construction of "Mohism" in a critical way, highlighting problems intrinsic to the study of intellectual affiliation in early China. This will reveal how even a brief manuscript such as "Ghosts and Spirits" might complicate our understandings of how knowledge was constructed, reformulated, and transmitted in early China. It will also highlight the difficulties associated with assigning any unknown text a set label such as "Mohist," "Ru," etc., and provide added fuel for recent skepticism regarding the "schools of thought" approach to intellectual history of the period. (3) TRANSLATION OF "THE PERSPICUITY OF GHOSTS AND SPIRITS"
- Category: Social Science
- Published: Apr 01, 2009
- Publisher: American Oriental Society
- Seller: The Gale Group, Inc.
- Print Length: 58 Pages
- Language: English