Vital Post-Secular Perspectives on Chinese Philosophical Issues presents a number of contemporary philosophical issues from a wide range of Chinese philosophical texts, figures, and sub-traditions that are usually not addressed in English studies of Chinese philosophical traditions. Lauren F. Pfister presents new perspectives in three parts: the first part offers critical perspectives on the life and works of one of the most significant 20th century Chinese philosophers and historian of Chinese philosophical traditions, Feng Youlan (1895-1990); the second part explores questions related to Ruist (“Confucian”) theism and the complicated textual developments within two canonical Ruist texts, ending with a critique of a 21st century translation and interpretation of one of those two classical texts; the third part presents philosophical assessments of 20th and 21st century cultural issues that have had immense social and interpretive impacts in contemporary Chinese contexts – Chinese utopian projects, Chinese netizens in “Human Flesh Searches,” and questions about the links between sageliness and saintliness in Ruist and Christian communities.
Lauren F. Pfister is professor emeritus of philosophy and religion at Hong Kong Baptist University.
Permissions and Acknowledgements
Part One: Post-Secular Reflections on Recharacterizing Chinese Philosophical Traditions
Part Two: Post-Secular Insights into Ruist Studies
Part Three: Aspects of Post-Traditional Chinese Society and their Philosophical Reconsideration
Conclusion: Unconcluding Post-Secular Reflections on Contemporary Studies of Chinese Philosophical Traditions
"This is a tremendous book based on a fruitful complexity that combines a wide range of figures, texts and issues. Pfister perceptively reveals some contemporary interpretive accounts of Chinese philosophical concerns related to a conceptual and hermeneutic framework of post-secularity. Covering texts and issues from pre-imperial, imperial, and post-traditional Confucian (“Ruist”) periods, it is a cornucopia of philosophical questions, religio-philosophical explorations, and historical insights. Undoubtedly, it also contributes to a modern transformative history of Chinese philosophical traditions in which numerous other topics and many other scholars could become involved."
"This book presents readers with revisionary and rich accounts of Chinese philosophy, focusing on Ruist (“Confucian”) traditions understood in their own historical and cultural contexts. Covering a wide range of philosophical texts and historical issues, the author’s analyses challenge contemporary secularist interpretations of classical texts as well as standard accounts of the history of Chinese philosophical traditions. Inspired by a dynamic conception of post-secularity as it is experienced in 21st century Chinese philosophical circles, this dazzling book is destined to become a classic for studies in Chinese philosophical studies, also provoking revisions within Chinese intellectual history."
"Lauren Pfister has many faces, something unusual in our contemporary academic world where everyone is more or less specialized. He is as much sinologist as historian, as much theologian as philosopher, perhaps one of the few universal scholars. Having stayed abroad many years and developing a polyglot scholarship, he is a comparativist able to see things not only from North American, but also from Chinese and European points of view. What makes his philosophical writings about “China-West” and “East-West” exchanges in the past five centuries so strong is his manifest belief in the possibility of successful, critical, and fruitful intercultural dialogues."
"This book is composed of brilliant post-secular reinterpretations and critical enquiries that Pfister has constructed during his nearly 30 years of full-time teaching as a professional philosopher at Hong Kong Baptist University. Innovative and inspiring, many of the reflections and arguments prove to be unique insights into Chinese philosophical terminology, controversial figures and complex texts. They will surely stimulate students and scholars in the study of Chinese philosophies, either ancient or contemporary, to engage in further discussions and reconsiderations of paradigmatic issues and themes that have been held unchallengeable in Sinology since the beginning of the twentieth century."