Appreciating the Chinese Difference

Engaging Roger T. Ames on Methods, Issues, and Roles

Edited by Jim Behuniak

Subjects: Comparative Philosophy, Philosophy, Chinese Religion And Philosophy, Chinese Studies
Series: SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture
Hardcover : 9781438470993, 310 pages, September 2018
Paperback : 9781438471006, 310 pages, July 2019

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Table of contents

Jim Behuniak
Part I. Methods

1. Roger T. Ames and the Meaning of Confucianism
Thomas P. Kasulis

2. On Comparative and Post-Comparative Philosophy
Hans-Georg Moeller

3. On the Importance of the Ames-Hall Collaboration
Robert Cummings Neville
Part II. Issues

4. The Art of Rulership in the Context of Heaven and Earth
Graham Parkes

5. Sex and Somaesthetics: Appreciating the Chinese Difference
Richard Shusterman

6. Vast Continuity versus the One: Thoughts on Daodejing 42, Taiyishengshui, and the Legacy of Roger T. Ames
Brook Ziporyn

7. Supplementing Ames on Creativity: A Heideggerian Interpretation of Cheng
Chenyang Li

Part III. Roles

8. Building Bridges to Distant Shores: Pragmatic Problems with Confucian Role Ethics
Stephen C. Angle

9. Does Confucianism Need a Metaphysical Theory of Human Nature? Reflections on Ames-Rosemont Role Ethics
Peimin Ni

10. Roles, Community, and Morality: Comment on Confucian Role Ethics
Daniel A. Bell

11. Performance in Confucian Role Ethics
Kathleen M. Higgins

12. Role Ethics: Problems and Promise
Henry Rosemont Jr.
Part IV. Replies

Roger T. Ames Responds
Roger T. Ames


A wide-ranging exploration and critical assessment of the work of a major figure in Chinese and comparative philosophy.


In this volume, prominent philosophers working in Chinese thought and related areas critically reflect upon the work of Roger T. Ames, one of the most significant contemporary figures working in the field of Chinese philosophy. Through his decades of collaborative work in comparative methodology and cross-cultural interpretation, along with a number of pathbreaking translations of Chinese philosophical texts, Ames has managed to challenge standing paradigms and open fresh avenues of research into the Chinese tradition. His work will be read and studied for years to come.

The original essays presented here, which are substantive philosophical contributions in their own right, cover the full range of Ames's scholarly output. They address methodological questions as well as specific issues in textual interpretation, including ample discussion of Ames's most recent and provocative contribution: Confucian "role ethics." In the final section of the book, Ames responds to each essay. The result is a conversation and engagement that both underscores the vitality of his thinking and indicates the directions it may take in the future. Altogether, this work provides a snapshot of a remarkable career—and an invitation to continue reflecting upon its meaning and importance.

Jim Behuniak is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Colby College and the author of Mencius on Becoming Human, also published by SUNY Press.


"…the anthology offers an excellent overview of Ames' oeuvre and his wide-reaching influence and, at times, the reader is treated to a close engagement with specific issues such as translation of key concepts, methodology, and how best to situate the ethical perspective of early Confucianism." — China Review International

"This is an outstanding collection, critically and constructively engaging a scholar whose work has shaped the entire field of Chinese philosophy." — Franklin Perkins, author of Heaven and Earth Are Not Humane: The Problem of Evil in Classical Chinese Philosophy