Dissertation > Philosophy, religion > Chinese Philosophy > Modern Philosophy ( 1919 ~)

The Aesthetics of Zong Bai Hua and the Modern Neo-Confucian

Author JiangYong
Tutor ZhangXiKun
School Jilin University
Course Comparative Literature and World Literature
Keywords Zong Bai Hua aesthetics the modern Neo-Confucian Comparison Research
Type PhD thesis
Year 2008
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Since late 1990’s, the connections between the Aesthetics research of Zong Bai Hua and the Neo-Confucian attracted much attention and discuss by some researchers, but these still remain rough. Hence the author would propose the concept of“The Aesthetics of Zong Bai Hua and the Modern Neo-Confucian”to draw enough attention of researchers to focus on this topic. Thus I would make a brief study on this in five fields and finally give a conclusion. Firstly, the locating of Zong Bai Hua’s Aesthetics in the history of thoughts. The old way of assessing the location of Zong Bai Hua in ages of Philosophy according to the spirit of May 4 is not suitable because Zong’s Aesthetics was taking form during the 1930’s and 1940’s, when his Aesthetics had already turned from the rational anti-tradition during May 4 activitis to the scope towards the Splendid Idea of the traditional culture. At this period Zong not only kept close contact with the modern Neo-Confucians and was obviously affected by them. Secondly, how to understand the modernizing of the Aesthetics of Zong. The relationship between the tradition and modernization has already been introspected by the western scholars. On the one hand, the modernization surpassed the tradition and on the other hand, maintained and rebuilt the tradition, as Yu Ying Shi put it. We don’t need to tell the modernization of Zong with the help of the spirit of anti-tradition duringMay 4, but find it out in the thoughts of the Neo-Confucian. Thirdly, from accepting to criticizing: the western culture. Zong used to propagate the western culture before the 1930’s, however, he turned to criticize it in the following years. It happened to be the goal of the Neo-Confucian to tell the difference and advantage of the culture of the east and the west. So, the understanding of the basis of the criticizing to the western culture by Zong would be instructive in the comparison between him and the Neo-Confucian. Fourthly, related readings: the idea of comparison and hermeneutics. Afterall, with the illumination of the modern Neo-Confucian, we can fill in the blanks of the research into the Aesthetics of Zong. The so called blanks can make active effects in the layers of comparison and hermeneutics and become a key step towards going in and out of Zong Bai Hua and“keep it on”.Chapter One: From the West to Chinese Tradition: the Idea of Life of Zong Bai HuaThere is a dense flavor of life theory in the aesthetics of Zong, however, an important turn took place. He was affected by the“Creation”of the life philosophy of Bergson who is the typical life philosopher of the west during the May 4, and could not agree with the intuition which was activated by the early Neo-Confucian; but during the 1930’s, he turned to the theory of life of lively creation of the Confucian of China and merged with the modern Neo-Confucian. As to the gap of the theory of life between the east and the west, the modern Neo-Confucian explained clearly: the theory of life in the western philosophy tends more toward a biological and natural life, while the theory of life in Chinese philosophy tends to the ideal ethics value. The essence of life is not a passionate eagerness, but a healthy and pure kindness. So we can see that the early theory on life of Zong is a scientific one and, after influenced by the Neo-Confucians, his theories showed the acknowledgement to the life nurtured by ethics and hence turned the ethics life to aesthetics, which is the hermeneutics on the essence of Tao, Yue (music) and Wu (Dance) in the art of China.Chapter Two: The Scholarly Descend of Zong Bai Hua and the Argument of Science and MetaphysicsIt was obvious that Zong was one member of the school of science headed by Hu Shi during the May 4 activities. On the one hand, he stressed that the modern western philosophy was established on the basis of science and had an objective foundation of study and opposed the non-rational decipher of Bergson by the Neo-Confucian and on the other hand, propagated the scientific and positive idea and supported the scientific stand before the argument. In fact, Hu had already fallen into a crisis which could be seen from the criticizing by the Neo-Confucians. After his return from Germany, he came to teach in Central University in 1925, which was the turn from science to Neo-Confucian. The Central University hired and raised a number of scholars of Neo-Confucians including Fang Dong Mei and Tang Jun Yi, who worked with Zong and gave a deep impression to him. The intuitive experiencing and the hermeneutics on the traditional art of China and the acknowledgement of the essence and value of life and the unbounded practicing of the aesthetics of Yi Jing of Zong Bai Hua had all absorbed the spirit of the Neo-Confucian.Chapter Three: A Comparison on Philosophy Culrure of the Aesthetics Between Zong Bai Hua and Fang Dong MeiSince Zong and Fang were closely related in their lives, the comparison of them two proves to be very instructive. Fang Dong Mei was brought up from the Family of Fang of Gui Lin in Tong Cheng City while Zong’s Grandpa was from the Fang of Lu Gong in Tong Cheng. Though these were different, they both accepted a good education in Tong Cheng. The two joined the Institute of the Juveniles of China and were colleagues in the Central University for almost 20 years, during which time they worked side by side for the goal of founding the culture of China. Though there were contradictions, their cooperation was never impeded. Firstly, the trend of the metaphysics of Fang Dong Mei seemed to have a direct influence on Zong and was a cause of the birth of Zong’s script of the book of Metaphysics. Secondly, the two both approved the idea of value in culture and gave criticizing against the non-humanity and non-value of the scientific theory of the west and supported the spirit of life in the culture of China. Thirdly, if we agree that the aesthetics of Zong and the Neo-Confucian was interrelated, we should give enough attention to the influence as a link. Among all the Neo-Confucianists, Fang was the most weak in the restriction in ethics and proposed the concord of the the passion and reason and offer a possibility for the turn of ethics out of aesthetics. During this process, Zong was the one who finished it.Chapter Four: A Brief Introspect into the Relation Between Zong Bai Hua and Tang Jun Yi and Its InfluenceAccording to the existent documents, Zong and Tang worked side by side in the Central University for ten years and maintained a good relationship. They both affected each other a lot in research in the culture of China. It is the humanity and the experience of the mind of Confucian as well as the positivism of the philosophical categories, study of the history of thoughts that formed the basic course of Tang’s theory. Though Zong maintained a good distance with Tang in the amount, depth and the improvement of cultural studies, he also went through the three phases. As a modern Neo-Confucianist, Tang’s wish was to found the moral self on the basis of ethics. However, Tang’s scope in humanities was very inclusive, he stressed the integrity of the layers of culture and had a good hermeneutics on the spirit of the art of China; this founded a basis for his turn in aesthetics. Through a deep comparison, we can see that Zong and Tang had an outstanding similarity. This is not an occasional phenomenon, but the result of their common theories and conclusions about the spirit of culture of China and the West.Chapter Five: The Location of the Aesthetics in ConfucianIn this passage we would describe the gap between the Aesthetics and the Mind of Confucian Ethics through a vertically historical study, in case we can acknowledge how deep Zong probed into Confucian and manifest the positive effect in the break of the ethics-oriented stand of Confucian and suggested the modernization in the merge of muti-theories. The contradictions of the ethics and aesthetics in the Confucian in Song and Ming Dynasties is in fact the argument on process and ontology. With the development of the theory of mind, ontology and process was merged and the contradictions were appeased. The question was given by the Neo-Confucian, especially Tang’s philosophy of Nine Realms stressed that the limit of introspect of the aesthetics was the hindrance of the unite of the beauty and kindness. It seemed that only through the ho1istic multi-perspectives from Fu Wei Xun, can we go out of the mislead of the pan-ethics and reconsider the status of the aesthetics in the system of the cultural spirit. Though Zong didn’t put the realm of art in the utmost layer of the mind of humanity, he thought that the art is apparently metaphysical and surpassing, and he would not accept the ethical rules on the ontology. In conclusion, Zong’s aesthetics overruled the contradiction of the ethics and art caused by the ethicism of Confucian in the modern history of philosophy and had an inclusive modernization in his theory. Chapter Six: The Confucianal Hermeneutics About the Forms of the Aesthetics of Zong Bai HuaIt is recently criticized that Li Ze Hou defined the forms of the aesthetics of Zong Bai Hua as“Intuitive Comprehending”,“Direct Probe”and“Seeking Intuition”. As I see, Li’s definition should not be denied so easily, but illuminate a further hermeneutics, with the help form the files of Neo-Confucian. To make a detailed hermeneutics we must refer the following forms: Firstly, the poetic features can match the Vacancy of Chinese Cosmos and the Ontology of Mind of Fang and Tang; Secondly, the experiential features of the aesthetics of Zong with the ethical positing of Confucian; Thirdly, the Yi Jing of art with the metaphysics of Confucian; Fourthly, the essential intuition with the modernization of the aesthetics of Zong Bai Hua. Through the comparison, I would enhance the acknowledgement the aesthetics of Zong and inherit it critically.

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