Philosophical Systematicity and Its Implications for Confucian and Comparative Philosophy

Journal of Confucian Philosophy and Culture 37:5-14 (2022)
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Abstract

When studying historical thinkers, it helps enormously to know on which issues they had philosophically systematic views. For example, if attributing to Mencius the view that all existence is process-like rather than substance-like, it is very useful to know whether Mencius had philosophically systematic views about the (process-like or substance-like) nature of existence in the first place, or whether speculation about this particular issue is more constructive on the part of interpreters. In this paper, I offer a rough-and-ready account of philosophical systematicity, talk about what would count as evidence of this sort of systematicity, and what implications it should have for one's interpretation if one can or cannot provide such evidence. The historical tradition that I am most concerned with is the pre-modern Chinese one, but my conclusions should hold for philosophical interpretations of thinkers of most times and traditions.

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Justin Tiwald
University of Hong Kong

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