Having a Word with Angus Graham

At Twenty-Five Years into His Immortality

Edited by Carine Defoort & Roger T. Ames

Subjects: Chinese Studies, Chinese Religion And Philosophy, Asian Literature
Series: SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture
Hardcover : 9781438468556, 290 pages, March 2018
Paperback : 9781438468549, 290 pages, January 2019

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Table of contents

Introduction: Having a Word with Angus Graham: At the First Twenty-Five Years into His Immortality
Carine Defoort and Roger T. Ames
1. Reading the Zhuangzi Anthology
Esther S. Klein

2. Reflections on Textual Analysis in the Post-Graham Era
Liu Xiaogan
3. Cognitive Attunement in the Zhuangzi
Harold D. Roth
4. Vital Matters, A.C. Graham, and the Zhuangzi
Michael Nylan

5. Remarks on Intertranslatability and Relativism
Henry Rosemont, Jr.
6. Getting to the Bottom of "Things" ( 物): Expanding on A.C. Graham's Understanding
Robert H. Gassmann
7. Míng (名) as "Names" Rather than "Words:" Disabled Bodies Speaking without Acting in Early Chinese Texts
Jane Geaney
8. Unfounded and Unfollowed: Mencius' Portrayal of Yang Zhu and Mo Di
Carine Defoort
9. Reconstructing A.C. Graham's Reading of Mencius on xing 性: A Coda to "The Background of the Mencian Theory of Human Nature" (1967)
Roger T. Ames
10. Reason and Spontaneity Reconsidered
Lisa Raphals
11. Spontaneity and Marriage
Paul Kjellberg
12. Rationalism and Anti-Rationalism in Later Mohism and Zhuāngzǐ
Chris Fraser

About the Contributors

Critical reflections on the work of Angus Charles Graham, renowned Western scholar of Chinese philosophy and sinology.


This volume engages with the works and ideas of Angus Charles Graham (1919–1991), one of the most prominent Western scholars of Chinese philosophy, at the twenty-fifth anniversary of his passing. Over a professional career of more than thirty years, Angus Graham produced an impressive amount of scholarship on a wide array of topics, ranging from Chinese grammar and philology to poetry and philosophy. His combination of rigorous scholarship and philosophical originality has continued to inspire scholars to tackle related research topics, and in so doing, has required of them a response to his views. This book illustrates the range of scholarship still elaborating upon, disagreeing with, and reacting to Graham's work on Chinese thought, philosophy, philology, and translation.

Carine Defoort is Professor of Sinology at the University of Leuven in Belgium. She is the author of The Pheasant Cap Master (He guan zi): A Rhetorical Reading, also published by SUNY Press, and the coeditor (with Nicolas Standaert) of The Mozi as an Evolving Text: Different Voices in Early Chinese Thought. Roger T. Ames is Humanities Chair Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Peking University and Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Hawai'i. His many books include Confucian Cultures of Authority (coedited with Peter D. Hershock) and Xu Bing and Contemporary Chinese Art: Cultural and Philosophical Reflections (coedited with Hsingyuan Tsao), both also published by SUNY Press.


"Graham's prolific writings have shaped the field of Chinese philosophy for the last four decades. Taking stock of how much contemporary discourse on Chinese philosophy has been influenced by Graham's works and how far it has come from Graham's days, while suggesting possible future trajectories, is timely. In addition, some of the contributors' accounts of their personal encounters with Graham give readers a rather intimate and fascinating portrayal of the man behind the ideas." — Tao Jiang, coeditor of The Reception and Rendition of Freud in China: China's Freudian Slip