Following His Own Path

Li Zehou and Contemporary Chinese Philosophy

By Jana S. Rošker

Subjects: Philosophy, Chinese Religion And Philosophy, Comparative Philosophy, Chinese Studies
Series: SUNY series, Translating China, SUNY Press Open Access
Hardcover : 9781438472478, 376 pages, January 2019
Paperback : 9781438472461, 376 pages, January 2020

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Table of contents

Notes on References, Bibliography, and Translation

1. Li Zehou and His Time

2. Central Concepts

3. Upgrading and Modernizing Traditional Chinese Philosophy

4. Exploring the Beauty of Humanity

5. General Evaluation and Impact

Appendix: General Scheme of Ethics (Lunlixue zong lanbiao 倫理學總覽表)

Glossary of Specific Terms, Phrases, and Titles (Chinese-English)
Index of Proper Names

Critically introduces the philosophical system of Li Zehou, one of the most significant modern scholars of Chinese history and culture.


In this book, Jana S. Rošker offers the first comprehensive overview and exegesis of the work of Li Zehou, who is one of the most significant and influential Chinese philosophers of our time. Rošker shows us how Li's complex system of thought seeks to revive various Chinese traditions, and at the same time attempts to harmonize or reconcile this cultural heritage with the demands of the dominant economic, political, and axiological structures of our globalized world. Variously characterized as "neo-traditional," "neo-Kantian," "post-Marxist," "Marxist-Confucian," "pragmatist," "instrumentalist," "romantic," and more, Li's work was central to the period known as the Chinese Enlightenment in the 1980s and has helped modify and transform antiquated patterns of Chinese intellectual discourse. He is one of the rare Chinese thinkers whose work has not only had a deep and lasting impact on Chinese intellectuals, but has acquired a broad readership outside of China as well. Seen from a broader intercultural perspective, Li's unique and imaginative approach to a wide range of basic theoretical problems has created new styles of intellectual investigation, while reminding us of our belonging to a common humanity, regardless of differences in our individual cultures, languages, preferences, and traditions..

This book is freely available in an open access edition thanks to the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. View the book online at the SUNY Open Access Repository at

Jana S. Rošker is Professor of Sinology at the Department of Asian Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia and the author of The Rebirth of the Moral Self: The Second Generation of Modern Confucians and their Modernization Discourses.


"The author's discussions are sophisticated and insightful, and the book presents a significant contribution to the field of Chinese and world philosophy." — Jinhua Jia, author of Gender, Power, and Talent: The Journey of Daoist Priestesses in Tang China