Rethinking Metaphysics: From the Perspective of Chinese Philosophy

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.11, 2015


Rethinking Metaphysics: From the Perspective of Chinese Philosophy



Peng Guoxiang


Comparing the Western philosophical tradition of “metaphysics,” represented by Platonism, with the Chinese philosophical tradition of the “study of what is above forms” (xing er shang xue 形而上学), represented by Confucianism, we find that they differ in that Western metaphysics includes a clear dividing line between the two elements of ontology and cosmology, whereas in Chinese philosophy, the two are interconnected. If some typical “xing er shang xue” constructions in modern Chinese philosophy are viewed as responses to Western “metaphysics,” then a further review of the theoretical effects that may be brought about by “introducing what is Chinese into what is Western” can show that the very premise of and prospects for the development of current Chinese and Western philosophy rest in the symbiosis and mutual consummation of world philosophy, as well as in the way each should conduct itself and develop in the current situation. Within the entire framework of the “interaction” and “symbiosis and mutual consummation” of world philosophy, the Chinese philosophical tradition can provide important intellectual resources for the development of contemporary Western philosophy, enabling us to go beyond the confines of traditional Chinese and Western philosophy to think about some fundamental philosophical issues that are universal to human experience.