Xu Fuguan’s Methodology for Interpreting Chinese Intellectual History

An Original Innovation or the Impact of Gadamerian Lines of Thought?

Authors

  • Téa SERNELJ University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Slovenia

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2023.11.1.335-351

Keywords:

Xu Fuguan, methodology, dynamic and structural holism, method of seeking embodied experience, contextualization, hermeneutic circle, fusion of horizons, Gadamer

Abstract

The article examines the research methodology of Chinese intellectual history developed by the Modern Confucian Xu Fuguan 徐復觀 (1904–1982). His novel methodological approach differed significantly from the methodology advocated by Fu Sinian 傅斯年 (1896–1950), the founder of the Institute of History and Philology of Academia Sinica in 1928, who advocated a rigorous adoption of Western scientific methodology in historical research, based exclusively on a philological perspective. Fu Sinian’s methodological approach, however, prevailed among Chinese historians in mainland China in the first half of the 20th century and in Taiwan after 1949. Xu Fuguan was highly critical of such an approach, considering it inadequate and inappropriate because it did not allow for conceptual interpretations on the one hand, and disregarded the contextualization and historical development of concepts and meanings on the other. Xu’s methodology is based on the application of the hermeneutic circle, which Xu calls dynamic and structural holism from a comparative perspective. In his methodology, a method of seeking embodied experience (zhui tiyan de fangfa 追體驗的方法) and intersubjectivenes (zhuti jianxing 主題間性) play a crucial role as they enable actualization of and communication with ancient thinkers in present times. However, Xu’s methodological approaches are also strikingly similar to Gadamer’s method of the fusion of horizons and Schleiermacher’s hermeneutic circle, which begs the question whether his critique of Fu’s adoption of Western methods was not based upon hypocritical grounds.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Chang, Carsun (Zhang Junmai) 張君劢, Tang Junyi 唐君毅, Mou Zongsan 牟宗三, and Xu Fuguan 徐復關. 2018 [1958]. Wei Zhongguo we-nhua jingao shijie renshi xuanyan 為中國文化敬告世界人士宣言 (Manifesto for Re-evaluation of Chinese Culture as a World Heritage). Accessed February 10, 2018. https://wenku.baidu.com/view/9e7744c14028915f804dc254.html.

Gadamer, Hans-Georg. 1975. Truth and Method. Translated by Joel Weinsheimer, and Donald G. Marsh. London, New York: Continuum.

Huang, Chun Chieh. 2018a. Dongya ruxue shiyu zhong de Xu Fuguan ji qi sixiang 東亞儒學視域中的徐復觀及其思想 (Xu Fuguan and His Thought in the Context of East Asian Confucianisms). Taipei: Guoli Taiwan daxue chuban zhongxin. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9780824880521

———. 2018b. Xu Fuguan and His Thought in the Context of East Asian Confucianisms. Translated from the Chinese by Diana Arghirescu. Draft version.

Lee, Su San. 1998. Xu Fuguan and New Confucianism in Taiwan (1949–1969): A Cultural History of the Exile Generation. Rhode Island: Brown University.

Ogrizek, Marko. 2020. “Huang Chun-Chieh and Comparative Philosophy: Multiple Ways of Studying Confucian Ideas and Notions across Texts and Contexts.” Asian Studies 8 (3): 91–110. https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2020.8.3.91-110. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2020.8.3.91-110

Rošker, Jana S. 2013. Subjektova nova oblačila – teorije modernizacije v delih druge generacije modernega konfucijanstva. Ljubljana: ZIFF.

———. 2014. “Philosophical Interactions between ‘East and West’: China, Korea, Europe and the Case of Dasan (Jeong Yak-Yong, 1762–1836).” Asian Studies 2 (2): 111–25. https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2014.2.2.111-125. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2014.2.2.111-125

———. 2019. “Philosophy in Taiwan: The Continuation of Tradition and the Creation of New Theoretical Paradigms.” Asian Studies 7 (2): 247–68. https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2019.7.2.247-268. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2019.7.2.247-268

Sernelj, Téa. 2019. “Modern Confucian Objection Against Communism in China: The Unique Case of Xu Fuguan.” Asian Studies 7 (1): 99–113. https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2019.7.1.99-113. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2019.7.1.99-113

———. 2020. The Confucian Revival in Taiwan: Xu Fuguan and his Theory of Chinese Aesthetics. London: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Theobald, Ulrich, ed. 2022. Chinaknowledge: An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art. Accessed July 1, 2022. http://www.chinaknowledge.de/Literature/Religion/philqianjiaxuepai.html.

Xu, Fuguan. 1969. Zhongguo renxinglun shi – xianqin pian 中國人性論史先秦篇 (The History of the Chinese Philosophy of Human Nature—The Pre-Qin Period). Taiwan: Shangwu yinshuguan.

Downloads

Published

10.01.2023

How to Cite

Sernelj, T. (2023). Xu Fuguan’s Methodology for Interpreting Chinese Intellectual History: An Original Innovation or the Impact of Gadamerian Lines of Thought?. Asian Studies, 11(1), 335–351. https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2023.11.1.335-351

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>