On Tu Weiming’s “Continuity of Being” and the Ch’i Theory in Chinese and Western Philosophy
Social Sciences in China Review
On Tu Weiming’s “Continuity of Being” and the Ch’i Theory in Chinese and Western Philosophy (Abstract)
Based on the ch’i theory in Chinese philosophy and “the continuity of being” as the feature of Chinese philosophy, Tu Weiming argues that ch’i is a “psychophysiological power” that is neither spiritual nor material. Therefore, there is no “Chinese materialist thinker’s pedigree.” This article attempts to prove the following: in Chinese philosophy, ch’i is a material concept; Western philosophy also has a long tradition of ch’i theory in the past two thousand years, and it proposes “the continuity of being” the same as China, so this cannot constitute a trait of Chinese philosophy that is different from that in Western philosophy; Philosophy carries the features of its time, and the Chinese and Western ch’i theories basically belong to the same organic integral natural cosmic view in simple materialistic form. Chinese philosophers had a self-wareness of distinguishing “materialism” and “idealism” earlier than Western philosophers. Regarding the relationship between thinking and being as “the major fundamental problem of all of philosophy” is a scientific summary of the universal character of philosophy as a worldview and methodology. It is an unavoidable basic method for the study of Chinese and Western history of philosophy.