Sunday, December 18, 2011

François Jullien, Zhong Yong, Imprimerie Nationale, 1993

French version

François Jullien gives, by publishing this translation, an important contribution to our understanding of Chinese philosophy and its relationship with our own philosophy.

The goal of Western philosophy is knowledge enriched after Kant by the critic of knowledge [1]. The goal of Chinese philosophy is wisdom, shēng. But the wisdom of the Chinese lies in an articulation of the personality that is strange for us - not because it would not exist by us, but because we do not give him any attention.

Our culture followed two paths to knowledge: at first the truth revealed by Scripture and dogma, and then from the Renaissance Science constructed by combining theory and experimentation. Our intellectual history is marked by the rivalry between these two approaches but the Chinese have followed neither one nor the other.

One of the presentations of their philosophy is the Zhong Yong (pronounce Djong Yong) which, with the Interviews of Confucius, the Mencius and the Great Learning, was used for a thousand years to train Chinese scholars. It is written in the indirect style favored by the Chinese: where we would use definitions and deductions they prefer hint and suggestion. One can hardly understand this text if one does not access to a comment.