Ideals of Life And Patterns of Culture:

Prolegomena to A Comparative PhiLosophy of Life

—An Outline[*]

Thomé H. Fang


I.     The Philosophical Assemblage


1.     Wisdom lost and wisdom regained in potency

2.     Philosophical anthropology

3.     Types of man

4.     Intuition, explication, and the unity of knowledge

5.     Integral universe and differentiating worlds

6.         The choice ingression into the differentiating worlds

7.         Characteristics of the differentiating worlds

8.         Orientation, transport, and co-ordination of the differentiating worlds

9.     The interfusion of things and the confluence of life

10.   Extensive connection and the principle of comprehensive harmony


II.   The Discernment of Worlds and the Appropriation of Laguages


1.     The intelligible worlds and the eloquent languages

2.     Causes of misunderstandings and ill-usage

3.         Nine kinds of language pertaining respectively to the following world orders:

(1)   the upper world,

(2)   the lower world,

(3)   the outer world,

(4)   the inner world,

(5)   the common world,

(6)   the world of labour and technical manipulation

(7)   the moral world,

(8)   the historical world,

(9)   the “hinter-Welt”, behind the world,

4.    Languages re-classified

5.    Semiotics, semantics, & syntax

6.    Science, art, & religion

7.    Philosophy versus “meta-philosophy”

III.   Existence and Value


1.     The meaning of existence

2.     Three theories of existence

3.     The meaning of value

4.     Psycho-biological theories of value

5.     Logical consideration of value

6.     Idealistic and realistic conceptions of value

7.     The relation between existence and value considered in the light of the major traditions of philosophy

(a)   Greek thought

(b)   European science and philosophy

(c)   Hindu speculation

(d)   Chinese philosophy


IV.   Types of Wisdom and the Spirit of Culture


1.     Nature of wisdom

2.     The roots of wisdom

3.     Wisdom manifested in the articulate forms of Spirit: A fourfold tri-                                                                


        (a)   The Greek: (1) the Apollonian; (2) the Dionysian; (3) the                                                   Olympian.

        (b)   The European: (1) the Renassance; (2) the Baroque; (3) the  Rococco.

  (c)   The Indian:   (1) the Upanishadic; (2) the Buddhistic; (3) the


 (d)   The Chinese: (l) the Taoist; (2) the Confucian; (3) the Mohist

4.         The varieites of wisdom: A quartemary division re-considered:

         (a)    the Greek

 (b)    the European

 (c)    the Indian

 (d)    the Chinese

5.      The essences of wisdom as elucidated in section 4

6.      The modes of wisdom

(a)    the Greek pattern of culture

         (b)    the European pattern of culture

         (c)    the Indian pattern of culture

(d)    the Chinese pattern of culture


V.     The Varieties of Cosmology


1.      The sentiment of life and the conception of the universe

2.      Characteristics of Greek cosmology

3.      Characteristics of modem European cosmology

4.      Characteristics of Indian cosmology

5.      Characteristics of Chinese cosmology

6.      The open world versus the closed universe

7.      Life creative and Life petrified


VI.   Inquiries into the Constitution of Human Nature


1.     Religion and religiosity

2.     Integration vs. Bifurcation of human nature

3.     Unity of personality vs. “the schism of the soul”

4.     Contrast, contradiction, and harmony

5.     The principle of three-fold unities and the noetic order. . . .(the Greek concept of mind)

6.     The scientific claim of neutrality and the empiricist-rationalist controversy concerning the human mind. . . .(Modem European turns of thought)

7.     Brahma-}tman-Aikya vs. the diversified }laya. . . . (the Indian outlook)

8.     The thorough goodness of all the endowments of human mind. . .  . (The full-fledged Chinese conception)

9.         Metamorphosis of the human spirit

10.      The Divergence of East and West and a possible way of mutual   adaptation

11.      Trends of life and human destiny

12.   “Guilt-culture,” innocence-culture, and glory-culture

VII.           Glimpses of the Variegated Spirit of Life


1.     Exemplications of the cosmic principles in life

2.     The ultimate consequences of different estimates of human nature

3.     Levelling-up, levelling-down, and the ways of democracy

4.     Self-diversification and self-perfection

5 .    Brahma-}tman-Aikya, the perennial flux of the }laya-Vijñ~na,      

  and the ways of Yoga

5.         The Confucian ways of living characterized

6.         The Taoist ways of living characterized

7.         The Mohist ways of living characterized

8.         The dimensions of life: shrinking and expansion


VIII.  The Moral Endeavour and Ethical Culture


1.      Metaphysical foundations of moral life

2.      Causal monism vs. causal pluralism

3.      Power and the highest reach of life

4.      Moral plane and moral hierarchy

5.      Moral restraints and moral choice

6.      Moral determination and moral freedom

7.      Moral values

8.      Ideal personality and the measure of moral value

9.      Items of virtue

10.    The ethical reverence for life


IX.    The Sentiment of Art


1.      Actuality, ideality, and the magic touch of beauty

2.      Imitative art vs. creative art

3.      Essences of beauty

4.      Forms of beauty

5.      Tasks of art

6.      The transformed world of art

7.      The conquest of space and its wondrous transmutation

8.      The rhythm of life

9.      Style and the divine fervour

10.    Aesthetic education, morality, and religion


X.     The Organized Life of the State


1.      Reasons of existence for the State as an organized power

2.      Greek Political ideals: their virtues & limitations

3.      Theoretic foundations of Western democracy

4.      Laws of nature and human rights

5.      Freedom and equality: a philosophical critique

6.      Two misfortunes in History: lessons from Israel and India

7.      Chinese political ideals and their ways of realization

8.      The present crises and the prospect of world-order in the future


XI.    A Critique of Culture


1.              The Meaning of Culture

2.      Spirit and form of culture

3.      Value-directions in the realms of life

4.      Transcendence and immanence of the spirit

5.      The historical vista of humanity

6.      History at its cross-ways; the tragedy of life

7.      Historical wisdom and. historical folly

8.      The procreation of culture

9.      The rhythmic development of culture

10.    The achievements of culture

11.    The advancement of spirit

12.    Social enjoyment of culture

13.    Assimilation of culture

14.    Transformation of culture

15.    Interfusion of culture

16.    Vitality of culture

17.    Human immortality

18.    Spiritual exaltation and spiritual freedom






[*] Editor’s Note: From 1966 onwards, the author had conceived in his mind a twin-production: (1) Chinese Philosophy: Its Spirit and Its Development and (2) Ideals of Life and Patterns of Culture: Prolegomena to A Comparative Philosophy of Life, the latter being an outcome of a series of lectures he delivered at the National Taiwan University from the 50s to the 60s.  To our lasting regret, however, this project was permanently delayed due to the author’s premature death caused by cancer, thus leaving us with only a glimpse of this “Unfinished Symphony” as reflected in its splendor and magnitude through the “Analytic Table of Contents” herewith appended. (Courtesy of Mrs. Lillian K. Fang)