Thomé H. Fang as Comparative Philosopher

Sandra A. Wawrytko

[Editor’s Note:] Professor Sandra A. Wawrytko is concurrently teaching  in the Departments of Philosophy,  Religous Studies, and Asian Pacific Studies at  the San Diego State University, San Diego, California.  She graduated with Ph.D. from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, where, at the age of 24, she served as Visiting Professor of History of Philosophy,  replacing  Professor Albert William Levy during the latter's sabetical leave.  Also she taught as Visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute for Philosophy, Chinese Culture University, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.  In addition to numerous articles and essays in professional journals, her works include The Undercurrent of Feminine Philosophy in Eastern and Western Thought: A Comparative Study of Spinoza and Laotzu. She was awarded "Outstanding Young Women of America" (1982); "Second Prize for Poetical Contest," National Endowment for the Humanities (1983). She has served as Editor for The Analectica Franklian and Director for The World Congress of Logotherapy (1990, 1982, 1984); Founder and Executive Director of the International Society for Philosophy and Psychotherapy; Editor for International Journal of Hsin (Hearat-Mind); Editor for the series of studies on Asian thought, Peter Lang Publication, Inc.; Founder and President for the Charles Wei-hsun Fu Foundation, San Diego, CA., since 1998. She is recently selected in Who Is Who in US 2004.[ for details, see]


The task of the comparative philosopher is indeed a precarious one. Caught between cultures, world views, and values, one must boldly bridge the conceptual gaps which divide philosophies. In so doing, one is required to be solidly grounded in both sides simultaneously, while performing an intricate intellectual balancing act that should remain imperceptible to the reader. Furthermore, one must not succumb to the seductions of synthetic thinking, but must avoid the lure of superficial similarities while remaining sensitive to genuine parallels. In spite of all the effort expended and care taken, one is quite likely to be criticized by colleagues from the cultures being compared, who remain unliberated from the blinders of their own specialization.

Few and far between are those who not only accept the challenge of the comparative task, but in addition distinguish themselves by the richness of their insights. Thomé H. Fang indisputably deserves to be numbered among this rare company. Of the many facets of Professor Fang’s philosophic genius, his work as a comparative philosopher is of particular significance in augmenting his role as an interpreter of Chinese thought for the West. In Professor Fang’s works the reader is swept along by the natural flow of discourse as be moves from the Chinese to the western tradition, revealing their complex intertwinings. The richest resources (available in English) in this regard are The Chinese View of Life, Creativity in Man and Nature, and Chinese Philosophy: Its Spirit and Its Development.

The most complete explication of Professor Fang’s comparative proclivities was to have been set forth in his projected companion volume to the Chinese Philosophy text, Ideals of Life and Patterns of Culture. It stands as one of the resounding loses of modern philosophy that we must content ourselves with a mere outline.[1] Yet even in this skeletal from the bold, sweeping vision of Professor Fang is clear. The volume was to have encompassed the usual topics of western philosophy—value, cosmology, morality, aesthetics, and political theory—while transcending beyond into such areas as philosophical anthropology and the evolution of language.

This dimension will attempt to offer a sampling of the insights Professor Fang has made available to us in his works, insofar as they illuminate a comparison of Chinese and western concepts.[2] First (1) we shall consider the intentions and principles underlying Professor Fang’s comparative forays. Next (II) will follow an examination of some of the key comparative components included in Professor Fang’s discussions. We will conclude (111) with a few observations on the collective debt owed to Professor Fang for his contributions in clarifying culture in general and its philosophic dimensions in particular.

1. A Comparative Philosophy of Life

In his Foreword to an early article Professor Fang reveals a rounding principle for his work

Meditating in moments of solitude, I have come to realize that the lofty world achieved in our philosophical vision should have as its main concern a Critique of the Morphology of Culture in order for us to immerse in the depth of the mind and soul (Geist) of a given people to gain thereby an insight into its mode of feeling and reason [pathos and Logos] before we can come up with something of importance to say.[3]

And undertake it he does. The article begins with a methodical "Explication of Terminology," intended to establish the ground of philosophy common to all traditions—namely Feeling and Reason as expressed through varying degrees of learning, thinking, and practice (2.1). It then outlines what are referred to as the various means to wisdom and "wisdom-seeds" of the Chinese, Greek, and European cultures.

What is remarkable about Professor Fang’s analysis is not only its insightfulness, but also the sage differentiation between Greek and later European trends in what is otherwise compounded indiscriminately into the western consciousness. Greek wisdom is evaluated as Apollonian righteous Reason (Dike)," Dionysian Feeling, and Olympian decay of Reason and Feeling (5.1). In contrast, the European currents are the Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo spirits, representing respectively "artistic passion," "scientific intellect," and self-delusive escapism (5.2). In terms of the central figures embodying the multi-facets of each trend, Greece’s Apollo stands against Europe’s Faust. Similarly, three components are enumerated in the Chinese spirit. Significantly, each of the three is represented by an historical figure—Laotzu, K’ungtzu, and Motzu (5.3) (whereas the Greeks are typified by mythical figures and the Europeans by historical/artistic periods). Their respective contributions are the Mean, Creativity in Tao, and Moist love.

In a later work, Professor Fang elaborates "three ways of philosophizing"—(I) religious, through the aspiration for faith"; (2) scientific, "through the possibility of knowledge"; and (3) humanistic, "Through the adventure of living."[4] Roughly put, the religious trend is enunciated by the Greeks, the scientific by modern Europe, and the humanistic by the Chinese. And it is the latter that Professor Fang views as , the only sound mode of philosophizing," inasmuch as the religious aspiration ends in life-denying idealism which eventuates in nihilism (Socrates) and the scientific in the practical impotence of logic (Bertrand Russell).[5]

II. Comparative Components

Among the concepts deemed worth of a comparative analysis by Professor Fang we find the following: Nature and Cosmology (inclusive of Science), Human Nature, Moral Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Political Theory. A brief survey of each of these will serve to illustrate the wealth of though contained in Professor Fang’s works, and hopefully stimulate the reader to further excavation.

Nature and Cosmology

The Chinese . . . always tend to strive to the utmost for the attainment of the supreme good in imitation of the cosmic spiendour (sic) and beauty."[6]

The co-creativity of humanity within the context of nature as "two in one" and "ingrowing parts" characterizes Chinese thought.[7] Physical and spiritual dimensions interpenetrate,[8] in "a kind of well-balanced and harmonious system which is materially vacuous but spiritually opulent and unobstructed."[9] The western mind, however, thinks in terms of separation rather than interpenetration. The western philosopher typically reduces the universe to "a system of inert matter", simultaneously imposing a value judgement against matter."[10]

As for cosmology, Professor Fang introduces a threefold scheme encompassing the Greek, European, and Chinese views. To the Greeks he assigns a ‘finitude’ theory, to the Europeans an ‘infinitude’ theory, and to the Chinese "a position in between the two" (the Mean). The later universe is "finite in one way, but infinite in another."[11] In contrast to the quantitative, mechanistic approach to nature inherited from the Greeks, nature is for the Chinese within the axiological realm and not distanced from human beings. For the Chinese, our relationship with the universe is one of "sympathetic harmony based upon essential relativity." For the ancient Greeks the relationship was "a harmony between the whole and its parts, a major harmony commingled with the minor harmonies", while for the modern western mind it is "an antipathetic system of dualities (sometimes ‘multi-dualities’) based upon bifurcation."[12]

Nowhere are the different views of nature more painfully evident than in Chinese and western attitudes towards science. The lesser role delegated to science (as Professor Fang puts it, as neither "a glittery pearl or as an adored deity")[13] in Chinese culture has been a matter of some concern for commentators. Early on the cause for this "deficiency" was deemed to be a corresponding deficiency in the culture—a lack of maturity.[14] More recently Joseph Needham and others have sought to correct this injustice."[15]

In any case, what ought to concern us here, for purposes of philosophical discussion, is not the degree to which scientific "progress" was or was not apparent or pursued in Chinese culture through the centuries, but rather the cultural principles and assumptions which prevented the scientific worldview from securing a dominant (even tyrannical) position within the Chinese worldview.

Human Nature

"The Chinese way of being men is not to become mere men—the featherless bipeds."[16] The non-religious background of the Chinese view of human nature is for Professor Fang responsible for its uniqueness, as well as for its lack of concept of sin, inherent evil, or other—worldly escapism.[17] Another view prevails in the Greek (Orphic), Jewish, and Christian traditions. The common assumptions are (1) the inherent sinfulness of human nature, fated to die insofar as it is associated with the body, leading to a condemnation of the material world at large; (2) glorification of the supposed independent life of the Spirit, requiring an escape from the body and the material world.

Such views, notes Professor Fang, have infected even those writing outside of a religious context, as reflected in the denigration of sensory sources among the rationalists.[18] Borrowing Nietzsche’s images of metamorphosis in Also Sprach Zarathustra, Professor Fang compares the life-denying, religious "medieval spirit" to the camel, the other-denying "European Buddhism" to the lion, and the Chinese outlook to the innocent child.[19]

The explanation for these differences falls in large part to the immensely rich Chinese concept of the beart/mind (hsin)--encompassing spirit, rationality, good conscious, emotions, and physical circulation—which "so understood is entirely good."[20] Hence, despite disagreements among the various schools of Chinese philosophy, Professor Fang extracts two underlying principles of commonality-- (1) the possibility of developing rational existence through "good intention" and "true knowledge", and (2) the usefulness of the emotions by means of appropriate emotional expressions and desires.[21] In this way the innocence of the child opens to us a fuller expression of human nature and human life. [22]

Moral Philosophy

"Morality is the essence of life inasmuch as it is the concrete embodiment of the values of life."[23]

Professor Fang observes that "the great strength of Chinese virtue" is the sympathy embodied in a Chinese moral personality (which) is so great and extensive that, if the nature of anything or the life of anyone in the sphere of his influence should be hurt in any way, it would indicate a blemish in his manner of behaviour (sic)."[24] This sympathy "consists in the concordance of concentric mind with reality which is imbued with the creative spirit…a penetration, on the part of the individual mind, into the creative spirit in the universe, establishing thereby a perfect state of unity."[25]

In sharp contrast "Western morality is distinctively a subjective achievement of individual men without an objective foundation deeply rooted in Nature." Thus it is that Professor Fang is much in sympathy with the assessments of Friedrich Nietzsche linking (western) morality and decadence.[26] Moreover, western morality has in it what Russell has denounced as "the element of the busybody: unless a man makes himself a nuisance to a great many people, we do not think he can be an exceptionally good man."[27] This, says Professor Fang, stems from a neglect of "the principle of the fair measure of moral conduct" whereby we avoid in our conduct what we dislike in the conduct of others.[28]


"To play the sport of bliss in lyrical enchantment, to enter into a sympathetic unity with the soul of men and things, to set forth rhythmic vitality in unison with creative Nature, to make men great in the achievement of beauty and the sublime: these are the perennial efforts of Chinese art."

For the Chinese mind, Professor Fang reminds us, there is no firm division between a discussion of nature and that of values. Unlike the Europeans who "If they ever come to think of value . . . must first be quit, intellectually at least, of the physical world", the Chinese perceive a coalescing of the material and spiritual, "both an active field of moral good and an ideal realm of precious beauty."[29] The priority given to aesthetics is made clear by the fact that the "Chinese are artists before they become thinkers."[30]

This finely-tuned aesthetic sense also is mentioned as the occasion for the Chinese deficiency in science."[31] Indeed, the world is not encountered as a thing to be manipulated, controlled, and exploited, but is aesthetically conceived as valuable in and of itself: "the real Chinese are the kind of people for how the beauty of life is to bud forth in this world and wherein the varieties of form, color (sic), perfume, and light quiver in the cheerful spring like a consorted kiss."[32]

Professor Fang outlines three artistic ideals of the Chinese, which invite instructive comparisons with western ideals. The first of these is "silent beauty"[33] Professor Fang readily admits the lack of aesthetic theory in Chinese philosophy, yet perceives this as an advantage rather than a deficiency: "The Chinese philosophers do not frequently discourse on beauty for the reason that they have understood its nature most clearly."[34] Compare this state of affairs to the tomes upon tomes (futilely) devoted to the philosophy of beauty in the East. One Chinese painting speaks louder and more clearly in its silence than all these volumes, if only we "enter into the very depth of the spiritual context of experience."[35]

The second artistic ideal is "great beauty," or "the confluence of universal life in its continuous process of creation."[36] Professor Fang identifies this beauty with the universe, life, and creation."[37] Embodying this truth, the fusion of "philosophical reason and artistic impulse" occurs foremost in Laotzu, with his "principle of perpetual creativity".[38] The prerequisite of "an ardent love for the wondrous beauty of the fine arts" in order to become a perfect human being"[39] is quite alien to the western sense, even taken to be contradictory."[40]

The Chinese philosopher is attracted by beauty as a means to the overarching end of harmonizing with the universe."[41] It is for this same reason that the western philosopher is suspicious of the seductions of the beautiful. These suspicions are motivated by the fear that beauty ties us to the "inferior" world of the senses, and that these ties threaten to become the bonds of hedonistic enslavement. Furthermore, beauty distracts us from the "higher" truths of the ‘real world’ of the abstract idea."[42]

The distinctive characteristics of Chinese art make up the third of the artistic ideals. These characters are listed as an orientation that is (1) metaphysical and (2) symbolic, while suffused with (3) "genuine expression" along with (4) "the spirit of humanism."[43] The metaphysical basis of Chinese art distinguishes it from a scientific orientation, or the obsession with technique.[44] Co-creativity with nature is the goal for the Chinese artist, not a "realistic" depiction/dissection of nature.[45]

Similarly, the symbolic nature of Chinese art stands in contrast to the descriptive mode, just as the Chinese artist evokes human life for us while the Greek delineates it in sculpting the human form. The emphasis is "not merely isolated and individual life in its stated repose as is expressed in Greek statues, but the wandering loveliness and fluent grace dancing with gladness in the ever-changing stream of universal life." [46]

In terms of "genuine expression" art must be ever faithful to life’s flow: "What the Chinese artist ventures to do is, first of all, to make things lively for the spirit."[47] Freed from the West’s bifurcation of mind and body, artistic object and seeing subject, no barriers exists to the flow from nature to artist.[48] Further, although Robert Browning senses in nature "something there man-like that somehow meets the man in me," Professor Fang bids us to transcend our humanity, to liberate ourselves "from the narrow human prejudices."[49]

Finally, Chinese art "is beautifully tinged with the spirit of humanism", but not in the sense of a Protagorean subjectivism nor descriptive skepticism."[50] Rather, this humanism is "genuine naturalism coupled within spring idealism, revelling in the marvels of creative life."[51] In other words, "Nature is Man writ immortal; Man is Nature writ sublime." [52]

Poetical Theory

"The Chinese philosophers, as a rule, have regarded the government by virtue as the most perfect. The next best is the government by cultural refinement. Apart from these, the government by law is the only good choice left."[53]

Underlying Chinese political philosophy Professor Fang identifies five general assumptions about life: (1) investment in "this world of actuality", (2) "universal sympathy", (3) "the cultivation of universal benevolence through partaking (in) the cosmic spirit of perpetual creativity", (4) devotion "to the general good of the world" in imitation of Tao, and (5) "identification with the will of Heaven" in universal love and lack of injury.[54] The result is ideal politics, standing starkly against the background of ‘Real PoIitik’ ("the skill of handling the great mass of people for the sake of private gains")[55] which has typified so much of modern history.

The self-absorption of totalitarian rulers needs no elaboration here, for unfortunately we are surrounded by myriad examples. What Professor Fang contributes to the discussion is an examination of the underlying conflict concerning the perceived reason for the State’s existence. From the Chinese/ideal perspective, the State exists as a means for the perfection of humanity, a field for the realization of "moral ideals" by way of "organized activities", a school for cultivation, and "a realm of cultural values."[56] Those of the ‘Real Politik’ frame of mind reverse this relationship, casting the citizens as the mere means to the end of the greater glory of the State.

In this sense, Professor Fang recognizes a greater kinship between the Chinese and Greek thought, exemplified in Plato, than between the Greeks and the modern West, especially as concerns the pressing need for an infusion of philosophy into the realm of politics.[57] The State exists to further cultural and moral ends as Well as Survival ends—politics in the original Chinese sense of "the correction of what is wrong, the straightening-up of what is crooked through the moral rectification, the cultural edification, and the conformity to law."[58]

III. Our Collective Debt to Professor Fang

"Man and the Universe in their common drift of life are so harmoniously interrelated that they take similar creative steps of advance, leading to the Great Beyond and arriving at the same destination of the Supreme Good."[59]

Professor Fang’s is a voice speaking soberly and emphatically against the currents of cultural imperialism. Western scholars have long exhibited an audacity to pontificate on other cultures and traditions. Non-western philosophers, who offer an indispensable, balancing perspective from the other side of the comparative bridge, have been much less honored and recognized (especially when they seem to challenge western Currents and preconceptions). We all suffer from the resulting impoverishment of thought, or, as Professor Fang has himself so succinctly put it, "the Kingdom of the Chinese Mind is closed to whomsoever explores it without Chinese mentality."[60]

Professor Fang’s recognition of a Greek/European distinction should be especially noted by western historians of philosophy, who tend to see themselves as direct heirs of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Among these misguided enthusiasts Georg Wilhelm Freidrich Hegel figures prominently. Following a necessary but obviously distasteful excursion to the "oriental" world of China and India, Hegel exclaims—"Among the Greeks we feel ourselves immediately at home."[61] Frederick Copleston both quotes and echoes Hegel’s sentiment stating "Greek philosophy remains one of the glories of European achievement."[62] For her part, Edith Hamilton credits the Greeks with being "the first Westerners; the spirit of the West, the modern spirit, is a Greek discovery and the place of the Greeks is in the modern world. [63] Even more brazenly, Sir Richard Livingstone has declared that the Greeks "are the epitome of human nature. Quemvis hominem secum attulit ad nos: The Greek has brought us all humanity wrapped up in himself."[64]

The notion of a direct line of descent from the Greeks for western thought is problematic vis-á-vis the Judeo-Christian currents in western culture. The choice is to either discount these currents (which seems patently ridicules) or to classify them under the broader Greek heading (a delicate, and ultimately futile, endeavor). Perhaps the desire to keep the West pure, and deny oriental" incursions accounts for this questionable stance.[65] Lacking the burden of maintaining the "purity" of the western intellectual tradition, Professor Fang is able to be much more objective in his assessment.

Professor Fang’s store of objectivity allows him to expose many of the fatal flaws of western philosophy—a sounding out of idols paralleling Nietzsche’s but without the rabid anger to be expected from a disillusioned disciple. Having never been enthralled, Professor Fang does not run the risk of "protesting too much" to prove his liberation from the criticized concept.

Foremost among these flaws is dualism, as expressed in the "natural disposition to hold man in esteem and in disdain at the same time"-resulting in "a vicious bifurcation of the integral human nature"—which permeates Orphism, Pythagoras, Judaism, Buddhism, and even Alice in Wonderland"[66] Science suffers from (or perhaps has been born of) the same malady of dualism. Professor Fang notes three basic weaknesses in the scientific approach: (1) the delusion of objectivity; (2) the exclusion of human beings from nature ("man and Nature play a sort of bide and seek in Western thought"); and (3) confusion concerning symbolic systems of science, alternately glorified as a true reflection of the eternal and utter subjectivity.[67]

The past years have made it increasingly clear that the depreciation of the material world, including nature, is not only regrettable, but hazardous to our individual and collective health. Technological progress won at the cost of ecological integrity is fueled by the life-denying dualism rooted in Socrates, Descartes, et al.[68] Professor Fang preconsciously grasped a truth (of Spaceship Earth, the delicate ecosystem of our extended environment) which many even today try in vain to deny: "without a proper understanding of the world we live in, we must perish, and that quickly."[69]

The alternatives offered by Professor Fang though Chinese philosophy merit even greater attention. Rather than the "implacable hostility" engendered by the West’s "vicious bifurcation", a veritable "instinct for bifurcation."[70] the Chinese view offers "a comprehensive harmony which permeates anything and everything."[71] The West has perpetuated the sources of its own estrangement from nature, by "failing to recognize the truth of the interpenetration of human life with the great life of the world."[72] Fortunately this truth remains intact within Chinese philosophy, and is offered to us anew by Professor Fang.

Equally at fault here is the "medieval" mindset which enslaves us to a degraded and degrading view of human nature as steeped in sin, condemning the material world along with the body. Instead, Professor Fang calls us to follow the path of modern humanity in throwing off this morbid asceticism.[73] A similar problem besets the world of art. Those who perceive of "art’s business to set forth life at a dead halt’ in fact make it "fossilized," depriving life of the beauty of its creative rhythms. Once more the Chinese viewpoint offers a remedy here.[74]

The simple truth is that "Anyone who is at war with himself cannot be expected to be at peace with others."[75] This antipathy makes modern life "interesting, but overstrained and unhappy."[76] The doctrine can be judged by the fruit of its deeds. "good Europeans…not infrequently mistake the practice of assertiveness for justice and the imposition of power for beneficence."[77]

Graciously Professor Fang acknowledges his debt to even these effors: "I am under obligations to the Western philosophers, past and present, whose various influences have helped me to appreciate the importance of Chinese wisdom all the more."[78] When Professor Fang’s work has been duly recognized for its originality and scope, we too must acknowledge a similar debt to him in coming to appreciate Chinese wisdom all the more through his comparative insights, (while understanding non-Chinese thought every more clearly).



[1] An "Analytic Table of Contents" of the work is fortunately available, and included as an appendix to Chinese Philosophy: Its Spirit and Its Development (Taipei: Linking Publishing Co., Ltd., 1981), pp. 535-38. The text itself was based on a lecture series given at National Taiwan University in the 50s to 60s.

[2] Professor Fang also addresses comparative themes with regard to Indian Philosophy, and quite successfully. However, restrictions of time, and my own lack of expertise, militate against an elaboration of these themes. It is hoped that another scholar, mom competent in the Indian tradition, will be able to fill this lack in the future.

[3] "Three Types of Philosophical Wisdom: the Greek, European, and Chinese," presented as a paper to the Third Annual Meeting of the Chinese Philosophical Association in Nanking, 1937. Recently it has been translated into English by George C. H. Sun, for publication by the Thomé H. Fang Institute (included in this journal, Vol. I, no. 1). References to this text are made in terms of the Leibnizean or Wittgensteinian-like series of propositions and sub-propositions.

[4] The Chinese View of Life: The Philosophy of Comprehensive Harmony (Hong Kong: The Union Press, 1957), p. 1.

[5] Ibid., pp. 3-8.

[6] Ibid., p. 149.

[7] Ibid., p. 23.

[8] Ibid., p. 48.

[9] Ibid., p. 57.

[10] Ibid., pp. 51-52. It is investing to note that Professor Fang perceives a similarity betweenmailto:be@n

the Chinese and Greek views in their common assumption of "organicism" on the universe. In this sense, then, the West is less the heir to the Greeks than it may imagine. See notes 61 through 64 below.

[11] Ibid., p. 59. Should this flexibility of perspective strike one as contradictory one need only recall that we have learned to cope with just such complexity in modern physics. Take the cue of light, for example, which alternately exhibits itself as waves and as particles. The "general features of Chinese cosmology" are set forth as: "The confluence of universal life in the mode of perpetual creativity": "a system of finite substantial forms magically transmuted into ideally infinite spiritual functions"; "a realm of precious values permeating all forms of existence and waiting to be enhanced through the creative efforts of men in various walks of life." Ibid., pp. 71-72.

[12] Ibid., pp. 117-18. See also pp. 146-47.

[13] Ibid., p. 34.

[14] See, for example, Hegel, The Philosophy of History, trans. J. Sibree (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1956). Hegel does not credit the Chinese with possessing science in any higher form, despite undisputed accomplishment in mathematics and astronomy: p. 137

[15] See Needham’s monumental series, Science and Civilization in China. Following from that fund of scholarship, Robert Temple has produced The Genius of China: 3,000 Years Of Science, Discovery, and Invention (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986), which ranges from agriculture and astronomy to transportation and warfare. See also Ho Peng Yoke (an early collaborator of Needham, Li, Qi, and Shu: An Introduction to Science and Civilization in China (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1985). All that has prevented these obvious scientific advancements from being duly recognized in the West has been the jaundiced eyes of the observers.

[16] The Chinese View of Life, p. 150.

[17] Ibid., p. 88. A comparison between Chinese and ancient Hebrew views is given in Chinese Philosophy, pp. 64-69, 76.

[18] Ibid., pp. 88-93. Professor Fang goes on to describe the same tendency in Indian philosophy, pp. 93-95.

[19] "Human nature, as it is, is pure, innocent, and competent. But through a false philosophical imagination or a morbid religious belief it can arbitrarily made into a debased, sickly disposition, heavily laden with imaginary superstitious sins." Ibid.. P. 98. See also 97-99.

[20] Ibid., P. 107. the sseeming exception of Hsüntzu isaccounted for as "a fallacy of logical types" which mistakes the lower order, "evilness", of emotions for human nature itself, P. 109.

[21] Ibid. p. 114.

[22] "’Me Chinese way of being a man—his manner of behaviour (sic) in the full capacity of an integral personality—is not merely to embrace within himself this or that side of an individual, but also to bring all phases of human perfection into an energetic unity which is the whole man, the completed and complete character of infinite worth." Ibid, p. 151.

[23] Ibid., p. 166.

[24] Ibid, p. 151. Later, Professor Fang argues for the commonality of "the metaphysical foundation of morality" as shared by Taoism, Confucianism, and Moism; pp. 156-65.

[25] Ibid., pp. 169-70.

[26] Ibid. p. 147.

[27] Bertrand Russell, Sceptical Essays, as quoted in The Chinese View of Life, p. p. 189.

[28] Ibid., p. 187. Professor Fang cites in this context The Great Learning, X,2.

[29] Ibid., pp. 66-67.

[30] Ibid., p. 68.

[31] Ibid., p. 69.

[32] Ibid., p. 101.

[33] Ibid., p. 200.

[34] Ibid., p. 198.

[35] Ibid., p. 197.

[36] Ibid., pp. 201-02.

[37] Ibid., p. 202.

[38] Ibid., p. 203.

[39] Ibid., p. 208.

[40] Exemplary in this regard are Soren, Kierkegaard’s mutually exclusive categories of the aesthetic, moral, and religious lives in Either/0r: A Fragment ofLife and Concluding Scientific Postscript.

[41] "To feel deeply into the creative life of the universe, becoming inseparably one with by way of sympathy, in order to take sips of the Great Harmony." Ibid., p.212.

[42] While Professor Fang does not explicitly present these observations on the differences between Chinese and Eastern artistic ideals, they do seem to follow logically from his other comparative discussions. Of special note is the Western dualism he describes, so readily translated into the realm of art by making it the source of potential corrptim rather than pure enjoyment and even transfomatim.

[43] Ibid., p. 213-34.

[44] Delineating "the detailed structure of segregation of phenomena in accordance with analytic principles", Ibid., p. 213.

[45] Compare, for example, the fluid interpretations of a Mi Fei with the technical precision of a Dürer. Professor Fang says of the Chinese artist "the accurate details of the merely physical configurations of these objects (of nature) are of no especial interest to him. What is the vital importance in genuine works of art is the intense emotion aroused by the perceived objects." Ibid., p. 224.

[46] Ibid., p. 216-17.

[47] Ibid., p. 223.

[48] Ibid., p. 225-26.

[49] Ibid., p. 230.

[50] Ibid., p. 230.

[51] Ibid., p. 233.

[52] Ibid., p. 263.

[53] Ibid., p. 263.

[54] Ibid., p. 236-37.

[55] Ibid., 238.

[56] Ibid., p. 242.

[57] Ibid., pp. 239, 250-51, 262.

[58] Ibid., pp. 242, 244. Professor Fang’s explication of Taoism, as something much more than mere mechanism, is especially deserving of consideration. See pp. 245-48.

[59] Ibid., 152.

[60] Ibid., p. i. In a subsequent passage Professor Fang prophetically notes that the world will suffer from "the loss of Chinese mentality" with its "cultivated way of comprehensive harmony, in unison with which man and life in the world can enter into a fellowship in sympathetic unity so that a bliss of peace and well-being may be enjoyed by all:, p, ii.

[61] Hegel, The Philosophy of History, p. 223.

[62] Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy, Volume I, Part I, Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., P. 25.

[63] Edith Hamilton, The Greek Way (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1964), p. 15. Hamilton reinforces this notion in her book The Echo of Greece. W. K C. Guthrie stands out amongst this company for his recognition that "for all the immense debt which Europe, and with Europe England, owe to Greek culture, the Greeks remain in many aspects a remarkable le foreign people", The Greek Philosophers From Plato to Aristotle (New York: Harper & Row, 1960), p. 3.

[64] Richard Livingstone, Greek Genius and Its Meaning to Us (Oxford University Press, 1912), p. 12. How unfortunate it would be for all humankind (and women in particular) if Livingstone were correct in his hyperbolical praise, in view of some of the dark aspects of ancient Greek culture. See, for example, Eva C. Keuls, The Reign of the Phallus: Sexual Politics in Ancient Athens (New York: Harper & Row, 1985), who describes classical Athens as "a society dominated by men who sequester their wives and daughters, denigrate the female role in reproduction, erect monuments to the male genitalia, have sex with sons of their peers, sponsor public whorehouses, create a mythology of rape, and engage in rampant saber-rattling", p. 1.

[65] For many, the myth must be maintained, even at the cost of scholarly truth and accuracy. It is certainly no accident that the history of the Greekd so often focuses on an East-West stand-off (the East represented by the "decadence" of the Persian Empire) in which the West won a resounding victory for "civilization". Racist motives, and anti-Semitim in particular, cannot be discounted here.

The same hubris is evident in Hegel’s assumption, making of ethnocentricism, that "the History of the World is nothing but the development of the Idea of Freedom." The Philosophy of History, p.456. Has there ever been such a blatant misuse of the fallacy of Expecial Pleading?

[66] The Chinese View of Life, pp. 10-13. See also pp. 14ff.

[67] Ibid., pp. 32-34. 67. Professor Fang seems to have anticipated modem critiques which have originated from within the scientific community itself, critiques which rather consistently have suggested Chinese philosophy as a source for alternative worldviews. See for example Frittj of Capra—The Too of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism Society, and the Rising Culture (New York: Bentam Books, 1982); Bruce Holbrook, The Stone Monkey: An Alternative Chinese-Scientific Reality (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1981): and Gary Zukav, The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics (New York: Bantam Books, 1979). Noteworthy as a precursor to these discussions is Professor Fang’s discussion in op. cit., comparing mailto:comp@g

the concept of Yü-chou to Einstein’s concept of ‘Unified Field’, pp. 47ff.

[68] See, for example, Dorothy Dinnerstein’s account in The Mermaid and the Minotaur: Sexua Arrangement and Human Malaise (New York: Harper & Row, 1976). While Dinnerstein focuses on the role in gender roles in this counterproductive sttittude, one can readily move from gender to philosophical assumption, as in my work The Undercurrent of "Feminine" Philosophy in Eastern and Western Thought (Washington D. C.: University Press of America, 1981). Here the ‘feminine’ persepctive is identified with Chinese thought, and Taoism in particular, while the West serves as archtypal of ‘masculine’ mode of thought.

[69] The Chinese View of Life, p. 45. In writing these words more than thirty years ago Professor Fang rightly anticipated "a mirthful smile" as response to the reader. Under present world conditions we can afford to smile only at our peril, for it is now a smile born of suicidal naivete.

[70] Ibid., p. 122.

[71] Ibid., p. 17-18.

[72] Ibid., p. 119.

[73] Ibid., p. 96.

[74] Ibid., p. 217. 74. In Chinese Philosophy Professor Fang credits the Chinese with a unique outlook among ancient peoples: "for their affirmation of eternity adumbrates into a dynamical order of historical phenomena exhibited in the continuous creativity of ever new varieties of life, cosmic as well as human.", p. 75.

[75] Ibid., p. 35.

[76] Ibid., p. 121.

[77] Ibid., pp. 147-48. As evidence for these statements, Professor cites Tagore (Creative Unity), Russell (Sceptical Essays), and Tillich (Interpretation of History), note 38.

[78] Ibid., p. v.