East Asian Studies
The Idea of Cheng
The Idea of Cheng (Sincerity and Reality) in the History of Chinese Philosophy
by Yanming An, March 2006
Yanming An’s elegant study combines a mastery of detail with a complex and humane philosophical vision. He articulates the role of cheng as a central concept of Chinese thought, dis-cusses the extension of cheng from moral psychology to philosophy of nature, metaphysics and philosophy of language and examines its contrasting roles in explaining change and transformation. In doing so, he places and justifies the varying Western translations of cheng in terms of sincerity, integrity, reality and truth. He also assesses the importance of cheng in Chinese intellectual history and in current debates about using the resources of Chinese intellectual history in shaping modern Chinese society. His illuminating discussion is accomplished with great clarity and sophistication, and his method and conclusions will have impact as a paradigm of scholarly method and philosophical insight. – Nicholas Bunnin, Institute for Chi-nese Studies, University of Oxford.
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