Uses a comparative hermeneutical method to explain the most important terms in the classical Confucian philosophical texts, in an effort to allow the tradition to speak on its own terms.
Over the years, Roger T. Ames and his collaborators have consistently argued for a processual understanding of Chinese natural cosmology made explicit in the Book of Changes. It is this way of thinking, captured in its own interpretive context with the expression "continuities in change" (biantong) that has shaped the grammar of the Chinese language and informs the key philosophical vocabulary of Confucian philosophy. Over the past several centuries of cultural encounter, the formula established by the early missionaries for the translation of classical Chinese texts into Western languages has resulted in a Christian conversion of Confucian texts that is still very much with us today. And more recently, the invention of a new Chinese language to synchronize East Asian cultures with Western modernity has become another obstacle in our reading of the Confucian canons. This volume, a companion volume to A Sourcebook in Classical Confucian Philosophy, employs a comparative hermeneutical method in an attempt to explain the Confucian terms of art and to take the Confucian tradition on its own terms.
Roger T. Ames is Humanities Chair Professor in the Philosophy Department at Peking University in China and Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Hawaii. His published works include collaborations on translations of the Chinese philosophical canons and several interpretive studies.