Xunzi, or Master Xun (荀子), is a continuation of many of the ideas within Confucian thought. His philosophical and moral teachings, like Confucius, addXunzi, or Master Xun (荀子), is a continuation of many of the ideas within Confucian thought. His philosophical and moral teachings, like Confucius, address the importance of ritualized behavior (禮) and the importance of education to practice human empathy (仁) and virtue (義).
But Xunzi differs from Confucius in multiple regards. Xunzi lived during the Warring States Period in Chinese history, and his observation of this political turmoil led him to describe a less optimistic view of human nature than his intellectual predecessors. He views human nature as inherently bad, trending towards vanity, greed, and superficiality, and that a proper education and nurturing environment are necessary to curb these evils.
Aside from his moral teachings, he discusses a wide range of practical matters, such as agriculture, management of natural resources, taxation, standardization of laws, and the use of proper language. Knobblock, in his introductory remarks, compares Xunzi to Aristotle in the depth of his teachings. But this isn't exactly the best comparison. For one, Xunzi was marginalized by the Tang Dynasty, and Aristotle was held up all the way through St. Thomas Aquinas. This is because of Xunzi's influence on even more pessimistic thinkers such as Han Feizi and Shang Wang who tended towards political authoritarianism and anti-Confucianism.
This is an excellent and well-made edition, with many useful footnotes on obscurer passages and the technical details of the translation. Hutton even translates the rhyme scheme for the poetry, showing the book's lyrical origins. It occupies a useful position between Burton Watson's abridged translation and Knobblock's 6-volume effort which delves into classical Chinese. An excellent bool and will likely become the standard reference for it. ...more
We all know neoliberalism is the boogeyman of modern academia and policy analysis, but what is an 'exception' here? Ong somehow derives the idea of thWe all know neoliberalism is the boogeyman of modern academia and policy analysis, but what is an 'exception' here? Ong somehow derives the idea of the 'exception' from Carl Schmitt on the radical right and Giorgio Agamben on the radical left. As such, Ong recognizes that citizenship and other legal rights are not given by default to those within a certain territory, but instead divided unequally and given more to a wealthy social elite.
But in describing exception like this and describing the tendency of markets to create social inequality, Ong mirrors Karl Polanyi's old arguments about how a 'free market' does not exist without legal intervention by states. So what's neoliberalism got to do with the exception? There's the story of corporations gaining political power and usurping governance functions from the state, but this is not a new analysis.
Ong doesn't do much theoretical anslysis here, but the meat of the book is the series of excellent essays and investigative journalism on social issues and personal injustice that 'neoliberalism' causes. Institutional racism, the extremely poor status of women in ethnic minorities, the homogenizing force of 'global learning', and so on. All of this is strung together by a limited justification of theory. ...more
This volume on Tang Dynasty China is in two parts. The first is an extended critique (the author's word is 'polemic') against the extremes of Anders GThis volume on Tang Dynasty China is in two parts. The first is an extended critique (the author's word is 'polemic') against the extremes of Anders Gunder Frank's views on the Chinese economy being the hegemonic center of a world system for most of world history.
He does, however, assert the sole primacy of China from the period c.500-1000, starting with the decline of the Roman Empire and ending not long after the end of the Tang Dynasty. He attribuutes this to the unique political strengths of the Tang system, including the bureaucracy, indirect taxation, and the development of new social technologies which improved navigation, block printing, and ceramics. He also pays special attention to the Tang Dynasty's cosmopolitanism and political pluralism, and that the Song Dynasty reforms were a 'counter-revolution' against this era of supposed personal liberty. But even so, I'm concerned that he's just imposing his own 'presentist' version of modern cosmopolitan values on the Tang Dynasty. It's one thing to describe the multiplicity of marriage systems then. It's another to ignore the fact that many of them were sex-slavery.
The book is also filled out with broad comparisons to the 'Arabic', 'Indian', 'Western' civilizations. This section seems unusually light on detail and heavy on sweeping pronouncements. There are some occasional insights, but these are mired in a sea of unverifiable platitudes. ...more
Estonia was a country invaded three times in 4 years. First in 1940 by the Soviets, then in 1941 by the Nazis, and again in 1944 by the Soviets, who wEstonia was a country invaded three times in 4 years. First in 1940 by the Soviets, then in 1941 by the Nazis, and again in 1944 by the Soviets, who would sink their teeth in it until 1991.
This novel is a look of three people caught in this whirlwind. Roland, the partisan, Edgar, the collaborator, and Juudit, caught in a relationship with a German officer. All three are caught on the desperate edge of survival. They have to survive each invasion, each occupying force. They change their names, their personalities, their roles.
Oksanen has a musical but subtle prose style. Her portrayal of the fogginess of human behavior reminds me of Graham Greene.
To be frank, I immediately guessed who would betray who. But Oksanen does a marvelous job at how and why this was done. She has a marvelous grasp of the fine details of human psychology.
The publication of this book has some uncanny timing - now that Estonia and many other countries in Europe wonder at Russia's trembling once again. Everybody imagines themselves the hero when the tyrant comes, but how many people would do otherwise just to survive? ...more
This book accomplishes the difficult task of summarizing a thousand years of history of a place into 300 pages. It is an easy and entertaining read, aThis book accomplishes the difficult task of summarizing a thousand years of history of a place into 300 pages. It is an easy and entertaining read, and covers unknown topics with depth.
I enjoyed the chapters on the earliest history of Tibet, including the Tibetan seizure of Chang'an in 763, their relations with the Song court, and the introduction of Buddhism. In these earliest chapters, Van Schaik manages to find the history within the legends, and his use of early Tibetan and Chinese sources is excellent.
Though some of his stories tend to lean to the more extreme and are not always cited as well as I'd like, this is still an accessible history. Though I'd still prefer more detail on Tibet's role in the Great Game and the 13th Dalai Lama, and more information on the current crises.
Some minor errors too - e.g. 王(wang2) is translated as prince instead of king and 'tendings' is used incorrectly on page 55. But if it's only things like that I can find, then what's left is still a fine book. ...more