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 …


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 …

A scanned page of the Book of Rites

The Lofty Vision of Ritual Propriety in The Book of Rites (禮記 Liji), “Summary of the Rules of Propriety (曲禮 Qu Li), Part 1”

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[This is an exploratory post as part of my research] In this exploratory post, I will focus on the lofty ideals of rituals and its claims of bringing about a harmonious society as expounded in the first chapter of The Book of Rites (禮記 Liji). In approaching the ancient texts, it is important to bear in mind that many of …

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 …


Fountain Pen Nib Grinding

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Well, once again, I’ve ground another fountain pen nib. I was experimenting with it to see if I could get a thin nib, but that didn’t go well. So, to salvage the situation, I ground it further to get a calligraphy tip. As you can see, the tip is not round as a ball anymore. What can you do with …


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 …

Complexity Science and Chinese Philosophy

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I’m currently involved in a project that is attempting to bridge Complexity Science with Chinese Philosophy. I’m really excited about it! When I first heard about “Complexity Science”, I was quite puzzled. What on earth is that? Well, complexity science is a relatively new field in the sciences that attempts to study complex systems and phenomena from a non-reductionist manner. It …

My New Workspace Arrangement!

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For me, having a nicely set-up workspace is very important for productivity. It’s not just about having the right tools but it’s also about having the right aesthetic set-up for the most conducive yet enjoyable environment to work in. After all, if I’m going to spend several hours “photosynthesizing” in front of my monitor, I might as well plant myself …

Research Mania!

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Today I visited the Central Library to do some research! It’s been quite a while since I last sat down with a huge pile of books flipping through pages looking for relevant information. I’m pretty excited about the idea of writing a paper for an academic journal. Oh wow! I miss doing this. Reading pages and pages and getting all …

Name tag for the conference. It's such an honour and privilege for an undergraduate/fresh graduate like me to be present wearing this name tag amidst a crowd of about a hundred professors and PhD students all over the world, and to present a paper just like them!

The Consummation and End of My Undergraduate Life (and What is to Come)

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I’ve finally graduated! After four exhausting years of toil, of literally blood (having gone to the hospital thrice and getting needles injected all over my body), sweat, and coffee, I’ve survived university and graduated! Well, as some of you know, I’ve been pretty busy  finishing my Honours Thesis in my last and final semester. My thesis was entitled, “Notions of …

Harmony in the Zhongyong

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Here’s another part of my informal discussion on harmony. Harmony appears in the Zhongyong in 3 passages. What’s unique about the Zhongyong is the close relation between harmony (和 he) and zhong (中, some translate as equilibrium). I will attempt to study the concept of harmony and its relation with zhong. (A) 天命之謂性,率性之謂道,修道之謂教。道也者,不可須臾離也,可離非道也。是故君子戒慎乎其所不睹,恐懼乎其所不聞。莫見乎隱,莫顯乎微。故君子慎其獨 也。喜怒哀樂之未發,謂之中;發而皆中節,謂之和;中也者,天下之大本也;和也者,天下之達道也。致中和,天地位焉,萬物育焉。 What Heaven has conferred is called The …

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 …