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Globalization in Asia

Heidegger In China

While Gadamer's rhythmic style of thinking parallels Confucius in many ways, Heidegger's reclusive mountain life parallels the Daoist and Buddhist perspectives that he revered. In lectures at Beidaihe, Beijing, Shanghai, and Wuhu in Anhui Province in the summers of 2001 and 2002, Jay Goulding, accompanying Cheng Chung-Ying and Palmer, explained the interactions between Heidegger's hermeneutic phenomenology and ancient Chinese philosophy (see Goulding, forthcoming). Not only are the Chinese embracing a hermeneutics of disclosure but they are also concerned with the phenomenological shaping of appearances in a global lifeworld. The Chinese word for phenomenology is xianxiangxue. It means literally the study of the manifestation of appearance or that which shines forth through the present. Those appearances are philosophical, cultural, religious, economic, political, and psychological all wrapped together. As the number one Western philosopher in China in the early twenty-first century, Heidegger's shift from rational, logical prose styles of writing to poetry seems to follow the shift from Confucian logic to Daoist and Buddhist philosophy and meditation. An early translator of Daoist and Buddhist classics in North America, Chang Chung-yuan, writes, "It was after Heidegger's Being and Time, however, that he made a complete change from complexity to simplicity, from an analytical approach to a direct, intuitive one, from highly technical, philosophical expressions to common, simple language, from book-form presentation to plain, simple dialogue, such as in his 'Conversation of a Country Path'" (p. 246). This shift continues forward from Dichtung (poetry) to Lichtung (the clearing). The clearing is an imaginative opening for the simultaneous revelation and concealment of being. It is a place for the renewal of society and thought. For Heidegger, wood paths can lead either to a clearing or to a dead end. The Chinese word for Lichtung is chengming (the clearing); it captures both Heidegger's luminosity and the Daoist cultivation of clarity and stillness.

What China gains from the above thinkers, especially Gadamer and Heidegger, is the idea of an authentic person comporting himself or herself toward the truth. This form of authenticity is similar to the Confucian junzi (a gentle and upright scholar) and the Daoist zhenren (a true and sincere person). In all three, there is an ability to change with the times while retaining principles, a valuable talent in a global age.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Gastrula to Glow dischargeGlobalization in Asia - Asian Views Of Globalization, The Global Village, Definitions Of Globalization: West And East, Globalization In Classical China