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The Debate on “Reverse Analogical Interpretation” and the Misunderstanding of Essentialism in the Comparison of Chinese and Western Philosophy

Social Sciences in China Review

No.1, 2019

 

The Debate on “Reverse Analogical Interpretation” and the Misunderstanding of Essentialism in the Comparison of Chinese and Western Philosophy (Abstract)

 

Song Kuanfeng

 

The discussion on the research method of the history of Chinese philosophy around “reverse analogical interpretation” has not led to substantial progress in thought. The root cause lies in the ambiguous and unclear statements of “reverse analogical interpretation,” “interpreting Chinese philosophy with Western philosophical concepts,” and “interpreting Chinese philosophy with Chinese philosophical concepts.” In the inevitable comparison between Chinese and Western philosophy in the research on the history of Chinese and Western philosophy, the most influential and misleading thought premise is essentialism. Once researchers really get rid of essentialism, they will realize that Chinese philosophy and Western philosophy, which are mutually referenced, never appear as holistic existences. It has always been a certain Chinese philosopher, a certain school of philosophy, a certain Western philosopher, or a certain form or type of philosophy that acts as the target of reference.