Applies a method of comparative cultural hermeneutics to let the tradition speak on its own terms.
Roger T. Ames's A Sourcebook in Classical Confucian Philosophy is a companion volume to his Conceptual Lexicon for Classical Confucian Philosophy. It includes texts in the original classical Chinese along with their translations, allowing experts and novices alike to make whatever comparisons they choose. In applying a method of comparative cultural hermeneutics, Ames has tried to let the tradition speak on its own terms. The goal is to encourage readers to move between the translated text and commentary, the philosophical introduction that attempts to sensitize them to the interpretative context, and the companion Lexicon of key philosophical terms, with the expectation that in the fullness of time they will be able to appropriate the original Chinese terminologies themselves. Armed with their own increasingly robust insight into these philosophical terms, readers will be able to carry this nuanced understanding over into their critical reading of other available translations. Ultimately, for students who would understand Chinese philosophy, tian 天 must be understood as tian 天, and dao 道 must be dao 道.
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.