An Introduction to Zoeontology


  • Fei WU Peking University



zoeontology, living, time-space system, subjective philosophy, civilization


Zoeontology, or the study of living, is a philosophical system the author is constructing in the spirit of traditional Chinese philosophy. We see living as the central philosophical inquiry in the Chinese tradition, rather than being as in Western philosophy. Being is supposed to be eternal and death is a negation of being, but living consists of birth, growing, aging, and death. Hence in zoeontology, we see time as the rhythm of living, and space as the orientation in a living community. As a time-space system, a living subject interacts with the world from the perspective of the ego. Zoeontology is also a kind of subjective philosophy. Different living subjects interact with each other if their living rhythms parallel or overlap with each other. A child’s living process is internal to the parents’ living process, and hence there must be intimate and profound interactions between them. This is the beginning of a civil community. There is a dialectical relationship between civilization and nature. The purpose of human civilization is to civilize a natural living community, but it must obey the rules of nature. Human civilization is not meant to change nature, but to fulfil it.


Download data is not yet available.


Ames, Roger T. Forthcoming. Zoetology: A New Name for an Old Way of Thinking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Aristotle. 1979. Metaphysics. Translated with commentaries and glossary by Hippocrates G. Apostle. Grinnell, Iowa: The Peripatetic Press.

Descartes, René. 1998. Discourses on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy. Translated by Donald A. Cress. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.

Ding, Yun 丁耘. 2018. “Yizhuan yu sheng sheng:huiying Wu Fei xiansheng 易傳與生生:回應吳飛先生 (Yi Zhuan and Sheng Sheng: A Response to Prof. Wu Fei).” Zhexue yanjiu 哲學研究 Philosophical Research 1: 41‒49.

———. 2020. “Panshe yu shengsheng zhi ben: dui daotixue de yizhong chanshu 判攝與生生之本:對道體學的一種闡述 (On the Classification of Teachings and the Foundations of Continuous Life and Growth: An Exposition on Dao).” Zhexue dongtai 哲學動態 (Philosophical Trends) 11: 37‒50.

Fei, Xiaotong. 1992. From the Soil: The Foundations of Chinese Society. Translated by Gary Hamilton and Wang Zheng. Berkeley: The University of California Press.

Fei, Xiaotong 費孝通. 2009. “Wenhualun zhong ren yu ziran de guanxi zairenshi 文化論中人與自然關係的再認識 (Reconsideration of the Relationship between Human Beings and Nature from the Theory of Culture).” In Feixiaotong quanji 費孝通全集 (The Collected Works of Fei Xiaotong), vol. 17. Huhehaote: Inner Mongolia People’s Publishing House.

Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. 1991. Elements of the Philosophy of Right. Translated by H. B. Nisbet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

———. 2010. The Science of Logic. Translated by George Di Giovanni. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Heidegger, Martin. 1966. Being and Time. Translated by Joan Stambaugh. Albany: State University of New York.

Huang, Huaixin 黃懷信. 2014. Heguanzi jiaozhu 鹖冠子校註 (Annotations to He Guan Zi). Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company.

Kant, Immanuel. 1991. The Metaphysics of Morals. Translated by Mary Gregor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Leibniz, G. W. 1996. New Essays on Human Understanding. Translated by Peter Remnant and Jonathan Bennett. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Luo, Zhiye 羅志野, ed. and trans. 2017. Shangshu yingyi 尚書英譯 (Book of History or Fragments of Ancient Chinese History). Nanjing: Southeast University Press.

Lovejoy, Arthur. 1930. The Revolt Against Dualism: An Inquiry Concerning the Existence of Ideas. Chicago: Open Court Pub.

Oaklander, L. Nathan, ed. 2008. The Philosophy of Time: Critical Concepts in Philosophy, vols. 1‒4. London: Routledge.

Plato. 2016. The Republic. Translated by Allan Bloom. New York: Basic Books.

Ruan, Yuan 阮元, ed. 2021. Shisanjing zhushu 十三经注疏 (Annotations to the Thirteen Classics), 25 vols., punctuated by Fang Xiangtong. Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company.

Tabak, Mehmet. 2017. The Doctrine of Being in Hegel’s Science of Logic. Springer International Publishing.

Wang, Xianqian 王先謙. 2012. Zhuangzi jijie 莊子集解 (Annotations to Zhuang Zi). Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company.

Watson, Richard A. 1987. The Breakdown of Cartesian Metaphysics. Atlantic Highlands, NJ.: Humanities Press International, Inc.

Wu, Fei 吳飛. 2018. “Lun shengsheng: jianyu dingyun xiansheng shangque 論生生:兼與丁耘先生商榷 (On Sheng Sheng (Generating Life): A Discussion with Prof. Ding Yun).” Zhexue yanjiu 哲學研究 (Philosophical Research) 1: 32‒40.

———. 2020a. “Jingxue heyi ru zhexue: jian yu Zhao Tingyang xiansheng shangque 經學何以入哲學:兼與趙汀陽先生商榷 (How is Hermeneutics Philosophical: A Discussion with Prof. Zhao Tingyang).” Zhexue yanjiu 哲學研究 (Philosophical Research) 11: 36‒47.

———. 2020b. “Xingminglun chuyi 性命論芻議 (A Preliminary Exposition of the Theory of Life).” Zhexue dongtai 哲學動態 (Philosophical Trends) 12: 26‒36.

———. 2022. “Shenxin yiti yu xingminglun zhuti de queli 身心一體與性命論主體的確立 (Body/Soul Monism and the Establishment of the Life Subject).” Zhongguo shehui kexue 中國社會科學 (Social Sciences in China) 6: 71‒85.

Xie, Yan 謝琰. 2017. “Buxiu de jiaolu: cong sixiangshi jiaodu kan Ouyang Xiu de jinshi huodong 不朽的焦慮:從思想史角度看歐陽修的金石活動 (The Anxiety Concerning ‘Immortality’, on Ouyang Xiu’s Epigraphy Activities from the Perspective of Intellectual History).” Journal of East China Normal University (Humanities and Social Sciences) 49 (2): 99‒106.

Yang, Lihua 楊立華. 2020. “Daoti, xingming, duti: dangdai zhongguo sixiang zhankai zhongde xiangwei yu xiangyu 道體、性命、獨體:當代中國思想展開中的相為與相與 (Dao, Life, and Independent Entity: Association and Performance in the Development of Contemporary Chinese Thought).” Zhexue dongtai 哲學動態 (Philosophical Trends) 11: 20‒25.

Zhang, Zai 張載. 2012. Zhangzai ji 張載集 (The Works of Zhang Zai). Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company.




How to Cite

WU, F. (2024). An Introduction to Zoeontology. Asian Studies, 12(1), 259–284.