Philosophy and Argumentation in Third-Century China

Philosophy and Argumentation in Third-Century China: The Essays of Hsi K'ang

Translated, with Introduction and Annotation, by ROBERT G. HENRICKS
Copyright Date: 1983
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Philosophy and Argumentation in Third-Century China
    Book Description:

    A valuable source of information on third-century Chinese argumentation and thought, the essays are eloquent, clear, and to the point; humorous at times; philosophically subtle; and psychologically perceptive. They treat matters of perennial concern--immortality, the nature of morality, the relation of music to emotion--and should be of interest to specialist and nonspecialist alike.

    Originally published in 1983.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6321-1
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-16)

    The Setting. Hsi K’ang 淅康 (style, Shu-yeh 淑葉 lived at a very difficult time in Chinese history. China was divided into the Three Kingdoms, with the Wei (220–265) ruling most of the north, the Wu (222–280) in the southeast, and the Shu (221–264) in the southwest. And China was to remain divided in one way or another for another three hundred years, until the Sui reunification in 589. These were years of nearly constant warfare without and factionalism and intrigue within. It mattered very much who one’s friends were and what were one's family ties. Whether to...

  5. Translator’s Note
    (pp. 17-20)
  6. An Essay on Nourishing Life
    (pp. 21-30)

    In this world¹ there are those who say that immortality can be attained by study and “no-death”² brought about by effort. Others say that the extreme of old age is one hundred and twenty, and that in this past and present are the same—[claims] of going beyond this are all wild and absurd.

    Both of these miss the mark. Let me attempt to discuss it roughly. Although immortals are not seen with the eyes, nonetheless they are cited in books and records and [their lives] are narrated in the former histories. When we compare these and discuss it, their...

  7. A Refutation of Hsi K’ang’s Essay on Nourishing Life
    (pp. 31-37)

    The Imperial Attendant Hsiang Tzu-ch’i¹ refutes this as follows:

    Such things as restraining grief and joy, calming delight and anger, moderating food and drink, and tempering hot and cold—these were also practiced by the ancients.² But to turn to elimination of the five grains, rejection of rich flavors, lessening of emotions and desires, and repression of wealth and rank—these they never presumed to allow.

    How can I explain it? Man receives form from the Creator and exists together with the ten thousand things. [But] he is the most intelligent of things that have life.³ He is different from...

  8. An Answer to Hsiang Hsiu’s Refutation of My Essay on Nourishing Life
    (pp. 38-70)

    I respond as follows:

    The reason why we value intelligence and esteem activity is that they can benefit life and enrich our persons. But when desires are active, regret and remorse arise, and when intelligence operates, foreknowledge is established. When foreknowledge is established, the mind¹ is opened and things are pursued. When regret and remorse arise, anxieties build up and the body is in danger. With these two [foreknowledge and regret] if you are not hiding something on the inside, you are tied up with something on the out. All these can do is harm your health; they are not...

  9. Music Has in It Neither Grief nor Joy
    (pp. 71-106)

    There was a guest from Ch’in who asked the host of Tungyeh: “I have heard that a previous discussion says that ‘the songs of a well ordered age are peaceful and happy, but the songs of a doomed state are sad and melancholy.’¹ Whether there is order or chaos in the state depends on the government, but the music corresponds to it. Therefore, feelings of grief and melancholy are expressed in metal and stone;² signs of peace and happiness take form in pipes and strings.³ Also, when Confucius heard the Shao , he understood the virtue of Shun,⁴ and when...

  10. Dispelling Self-interest
    (pp. 107-119)

    When we speak of the “Gentleman” we mean someone whose mind is unconcerned with right and wrong, whose actions are not opposed to the Way. How can I explain this? One whose breath is tranquil and spirit empty has a mind which does not 1 See Holzman, La Vie et la Pensee de Hi K’ang, p. 122, note 2. dwell on arrogance and self-praise; one whose substance is pure and mind penetrating has feelings which are not attached to that which he desires. Since arrogance and self-praise do not exist in his mind, he can transcend the moral teachings¹ and...

  11. An Essay on Kuan and Ts’ai
    (pp. 120-125)

    Someone asked: “According to the records, Kuan and Ts’ai spread baseless rumors and revolted in the Eastern Capital.¹ The Duke of Chou marched against them and quelled the uprising, punishing them severely for being wicked and perverse. Their recalcitrance and evil is well known and established; for this they have been famous for a thousand years.²

    “But they had a wise father and a sagacious older brother, and even³ they were unable⁴ to perceive this wickedness and evil⁵ in the young and immature, or sense this lack of good in their sons [in the one case], and their brothers [in...

  12. An Essay on Wisdom and Courage
    (pp. 126-134)

    There was a certain Master Lü, a man of refined intelligence who delighted in pondering the Way, a man who examined with great care issues of right and wrong. He felt that if a man has courage he may perhaps lack¹ wisdom, but if he has wisdom then he will [also] have courage. Mr. Hsi felt that wisdom and courage are different functions, they cannot produce one another. He presented his thesis as follows:

    “The Primal Vapors [of creation] were molded and mixed, and the many forms of life received their allotments from them. In the giving and receiving, some...

  13. People Naturally Delight in Learning
    (pp. 135-138)

    Delight and anger, grief and joy, love and hate, desire and fear—this is the lot of man’s emotions.¹ When we get what we want we are delighted; when we meet opposition we are angered. Rebellion and separation make us sad; compliance and harmony cause joy. Birth and nurture we love; opposition to what we like we hate. When we are hungry we want to eat; when oppressed, we are frightened² and afraid. All eight of these are “things we can do without being taught” as [Mencius] says in his discussion.³ They are natural.

    Before people knew how to keep...

  14. A Refutation of Chang Miao’s Essay—People Naturally Delight in Learning
    (pp. 139-143)

    Human nature is such that people love security and hate danger, love leisure and hate hard work. Therefore, if they are not disturbed their wishes are attained; if they are not oppressed they can follow their wills.

    Formerly,¹ in remote antiquity, when the Great Simplicity had not yet gone into decline, rulers were uncultured above and the people uncontentious below. Things were complete and reason was followed; there were none that were not self-attained. When they had eaten their fill, they rested and slept; when they were hungry, they looked for food. Contented, they drummed on their bellies,² unaware this...

  15. Residence is Devoid of Good and Bad Fortune: You Must Rather Preserve Your Life
    (pp. 144-154)

    One who is proficient at seeking long life and vigor must first know from whence come early death¹ and disease; only then can their arrival be prevented. If the calamity originates in one thing and the prevention is applied to another, the calamity will have no natural cure.

    In this world there are the superstitions [associated with] placement of one’s residence, [with] burial, [with] Yin and Yang, [with] measurements and numbers, and [with] punishments and rewards.² From what do these arise? From not understanding human nature and fate, and not knowing about calamity and blessing. Since people do not understand...

  16. A Refutation of Juan K’an’s Essay—Residence is Devoid of Good and Bad Fortune: You Must Rather Preserve Your Life
    (pp. 155-168)

    The spirits of Heaven and Earth are far away and distant, and good and bad fortune are difficult to understand. Even though men of mediocre abilities might exhaust their resources, none would understand the principles involved, and it is easy by this to become confused about the Way. Therefore the Master [Confucius] stopped answering when questioned about the end; he was cautious about spirits and prodigies and about them did not speak.¹ And this is why the ancients displayed their benevolence to others but kept how it works to themselves.² They knew these things could not be shared with the...

  17. An Explanation to Hsi K’ang’s Refutation of My Essay—Residence is Devoid of Good and Bad Fortune: You Must Rather Preserve Your Life
    (pp. 169-179)

    TheBook of Changes says: “The Yellow River brought forth the chart and the Lo brought forth the writing, and the sages took these as their model.”¹ TheClassic of Filial Pietysays: “We build for them [one’s ancestors] the ancestral temple so we may sacrifice to their spirits.”² For establishing them [spiritual matters] as fundamental, there are [passages] such as these. Tzukung reported that “[Confucius’ views] on human nature and the Way of Heaven, these we were unable to hear.”³ And when Chung-yu [Tzu-lu] asked about spirits, the Master did not answer.⁴ For restricting them as less important, there...

  18. An Answer to Juan K’an’s Explanation to My Refutation of His Essay—Residence is Devoid of Good and Bad Fortune: You Must Rather Preserve Your Life
    (pp. 180-200)

    The former kings handed down their instructions to initiate the regulation¹ of mediocre men. What they established with their words, neither virtuous nor stupid has opposed; and what they followed in their affairs, neither past nor present has changed. This is the reason we have transmitted their teachings. But if it is the profound and mysterious, the spiritual and sublime, or the unspeakable transformation, if you are not the most excellent [kind of being], who is able to share in it?² Therefore, one who is skilled at seeking, sees things when they are small and develops them by inference from...

  19. A Selected Bibliography of Studies of Hsi K’ang and the Thought of the Times
    (pp. 201-202)
  20. Index–Glossary
    (pp. 203-214)