A Song Dynasty (medieval) clock that made use of water/mercury and wheels to track the time. More information about this clock can be found here: http://www.messagetoeagle.com/mechanicclock.php (image above taken from this website too)

Classical Chinese Conceptions of Time

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Time is a fundamental aspect of human life. The experience of time itself influences the way cultures understand time. This understanding of time, in turn, influences the way people distinguish and relate past, present, and future. (Yes that’s right, there are people of different cultures and societies that perceive the relationship of past, present and future differently from the understanding …

WWXD: What would Xunzi do?

What does Xunzi have to say about rituals and social justice?

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This post will be a follow up to my previous post (see Investigating the Relationship between Ritual Propriety and Social Justice in the Early Confucian Tradition), where I will explore the relationship between li (ritual/ritual propriety) and social justice as found in the works of Xunzi, another pre-Qin Confucian philosopher. WWXD: What would Xunzi do? Or rather, WWXS: What would …

Liji_image

Investigating the Relationship between Ritual Propriety and Social Justice in the Early Confucian Tradition

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Here is a draft proposal for a paper I wish to write. In the book, Confucian Perfectionism: A Political Philosophy for Modern Times, Joseph Chan argues that there are three principles of a Confucian perspective on social justice. The three principles are: (1) sufficiency for all, where “each household should have an amount of resources sufficient to live a materially …

Chinese Emperor

A Proposal on the Study of Ancient Chinese Rituals and its Relationship with Management

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This is a draft proposal for a paper I wish to write. It’s still very raw, but I like how this project will allow me to engage in the study of Chinese philosophy, Chinese history (and maybe even archaeology), and learn to apply philosophy to some practical area, like resource and operational management. Image Source: http://alphahistory.com/chineserevolution/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/emperor.jpg In the Analects, li …

In the Forbidden City in China, there are two words written on top of the Qing Emperor's royal seat: wuwei.

(Original image taken from: https://strikethroughblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/dont-do-itjust-do-it/ )

Comparing the Bureaucratic Art of Non-Action and the Classical Chinese Concept of Wuwei (無為)

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In this post, I would like to explore the bureaucratic art of non-action with the classical Chinese concept of 無為 wuwei (often translated as non-action). As this is an informal, yet exploratory post, I will write this in a light-hearted and enjoyable manner. The Art of Bureaucratic Non-Action Not too long ago, I had a conversation with a leading neuro-scientist from …

Rethinking the Application of Complexity Theory on Education Management and Leadership – A Proposal

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This is a dissertation proposal that I submitted recently for my application to do a masters. It is an attempt at branching out beyond philosophy into the area of policy and leadership/management theory, as well as complexity science. An ambitious attempt at doing a multidisciplinary topic while still revolving around philosophy. I personally am quite excited about it.   Dissertation …

wu-wei

Some Thoughts on the Classical Chinese Concept of “Wuwei” (Non-Action) and the Concept of Emergent Self-Order in Complexity Science

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The other day, I had a conversation with Andrew Sheng, a Distinguished Fellow of the Fung Global Institute, and Chief Adviser of the China Banking Regulatory Commission. Though he’s trained primarily as an economist, he is well-versed in Chinese philosophy and has a profound understanding and insight of it, complemented also with his knowledge of complexity science. During our conversation, …

Illustration of the relation between the Five Phases. (Image source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:FiveElementsCycleBalanceImbalance.jpg )

Using Classical Chinese Concepts of Pattern Identification and Action to Study and Manage Complex Adaptive Systems?

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In this post, I’d like to explore the Chinese concepts of Yin-Yang and correlative cosmology, and attempt to apply it to the context of the study of complex adaptive systems. [Here’s some background for those who aren’t familiar with complex adaptive systems: Complex adaptive systems are one of two broad categories of complex systems, where the constituents (commonly referred to …

The Concept of Harmony in the Medical Context of the Zhou Dynasty

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[This is a draft section of a paper that I am in the midst of writing] Medicine in the Zhou Dynasty is particularly interesting in the history of Chinese medicine as it was the period where the first attempts were made to describe the phenomena of illness and disease in naturalistic terms, primarily, in terms of the flow of qi (氣 vapour). At …

Harmony in the Mencius (孟子)

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As a continuation of my informal discussion on harmony in the various pre-Qin thinkers, I will touch on the Mencius today. The Mencius stands out as an anomaly amongst all the other pre-Qin texts because harmony, 和 he, appears only twice! Unfortunately, the first passage (Mencius 2B1) doesn’t tell us very much. So we’re only left with one passage that’s useful: 孟子曰:「伯夷,目不視惡色,耳不聽惡聲。非其君不事,非其民不使。治則進,亂則退。橫政之所出,橫民之所止,不忍居也。思與鄉人處,如以朝衣朝冠坐於塗炭也。當紂之時,居北海之濱,以待天下之清也。故聞伯夷之風者,頑夫廉,懦夫有立志。 …

Harmony in the Early Mohist Chapters of the Mozi (墨子)

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Mozi is a rather unknown Chinese philosopher in the ancient Zhou dynasty period. But he was considered one of the first philosophers who challenged Confucius. The Early Mohist Chapters of the Mozi were probably written by him or by his disciples. The primary word for articulating harmony, 和 he, appears in 18 passages within the Early Mohist Chapters. As there …

Harmony in the Inner Chapters of the Zhuangzi (莊子)

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The Zhuangzi is divided into 3 sections – the Inner Chapters, the Outer Chapters, and the Miscellaneous Chapters. Scholars say that the Inner Chapter was written either by the original author – Zhuangzi aka Zhuang Zhou – or by his textual community (his original group of disciples who wrote out his words). The Outer and Miscellaneous Chapters were written much …

Harmony in the Analects

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The word, 和 he, which is the primary word used to articulate harmony appears in the Analects five times. No other similar word for harmony is used in the text. The five passages are: (A) 有子曰:「禮之用,和為貴。先王之道斯為美,小大由之。有所不行,知和而和,不以禮節 之,亦不可行也。」 Yu Tzu said, “Of the things brought about by the rites, harmony is the most valuable. Of the ways of the Former Kings, …

Culinary Harmony and Musical Harmony – Two Different Models of Harmony?

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In my earlier posts (See Culinary Harmony and its Historical Context in Ancient China and Musical Harmony and its Historical Context in Ancient China), I discussed what constitutes harmony in the context of culinary and in the context of music. However, there is disagreement among scholars as to whether or not these two models of harmony have evolved into a single unified …

Musical Harmony and its Historical Context in Ancient China

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Music in ancient pre-Qin China is radically different from the music that we are familiar with today. Music, in ancient China, held both a moral and political dimension. The ancient Chinese believed that the type of music a person produces is a reflection of his own morality (and psychology). A chaotic person produces chaotic music, while a person of order …

The Pre-Beginnings of the Philosophical Concept of Harmony (和 he)

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The concept of harmony is primarily articulated through the Chinese word, 和 he. (Other words for harmony include mu 睦, xie 協, and xie 諧.) According to scholars, the word he is derived from two different sources: culinary and music. In the culinary context, 和 he was derived from the word, 盉 he, that referred to a wine mixing utensil used to adjust the thickness/concentration of wine by mixing it with water, whereas in a …