Beyond Dualism: A Review of Mind and Body in Early China [Book Review]

Journal of World Philosophies 4 (2):166-172 (2019)
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This book rightly argues for greater inclusion of the natural and social sciences in the humanities, especially philosophy. The author draws from psychology, especially folk psychology, to show that a basic trait of universal human cognition contains a form of weak dualism. It is a dualism based on the embodied awareness that one’s own thoughts are different from external objects, which generates the belief in a mind/body dualism. The book offers a great deal of evidence that the ancient Chinese embraced a weak mind/body dualism. The author criticizes most philosophers who have proposed a mind/body holism. Because the author admits that correlative thinking is also a function of universal human cognition, I propose that what he refers to as weak mind/body dualism is actually a form of mind/body nondualism. The book cites many examples of how cross-culturally people depict the disembodied spirit in a spiritual-bodily or ghostly-apparition form. The author of this review argues that dualism is another form of the Orientalism that the book wants to avoid, and one way to avoid Orientalism-dualism would be to embrace the correlative, nondual mind/body relationship.
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