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赵汀阳:A Political Philosophy of World

——in terms of All-under-heaven(Tian-xia)[1]

更新时间:2008-12-16 11:12:56
作者: 赵汀阳 (进入专栏)  

  

  

  Globalization is leading to an unclear new age without well prepared new concepts, still in rather than out of the game of nation-states, and enhancing international conflicts much more than universal interests and benefits, so that globalization will not make the world, if continuously misled by American made illusions such as the “clash of civilizations”, the “rogue states” or “failed states”, which are illegally legitimating the American bad leadership in the world and making a failed world, much worse than failed states.

  

  History has often gone wrong, defeating our good will, but the failure of making a world must be fundamentally due to the political ignorance of the world qua a world, to the lack of a political philosophy from the view of world instead of a view of a state, or a world-view for the world rather than for a nation. Unfortunately, the popular ideologies today are either universalism, actually the aggressive imperialism as the dominant strategy for the national interests of the most developed countries, or the pluralism, essentially the resistive nationalism as the realistic strategy for the local interests of the less developed nations. And such a strategy profile of universalism versus pluralism leads to a disappointing Nash’s equilibrium preventing us from any improvement in world peace, common interests and reciprocal development. It indicates only the philosophies of the world for national interests rather than a philosophy for the world on behalf of the universal interests.

  

  The difference between a philosophy for the world and a philosophy of the world has the very relevance to the justification of a world-view. Everyone could have a philosophy of the world in his own horizon, and in the same way, a nation could have a philosophy of the world in the horizon of national interests. But we do need a philosophy for the world to speak for the world. The world is missing because of our refusal of a world-view representing the world its own. The failure of world politics is essentially the failure of philosophy. Now the question is, how to take care of the world for the world?

  

  It is here wherein good to enter a discussion about a Chinese philosophy for the world in terms of All-under-heaven (Tian-xia, 天下), which is very old (3,000 years old) but still rather new today and not well known to the western. The theory of all-under-heaven was not fully developed in the ancient China, but it is potential. I will argue that a renewed theory of all-under-heaven might be helpful in finding a solution to the chaotic world, further more, making a new framework of philosophical analysis of political problems.

  

  2. To Begin Politics with World Problem

  

  There is an old story of the invention of an all-under-heaven System. About 3,000 years ago, in a military adventure, Zhou tribe defeated Shang tribe, the chief of the political alliance of China, and started the 800 years Zhou Dynasty. It was a political revolution, much more than a usual significant event, for it started Chinese politics in a very different way other than the Greek polis. Before Zhou there was no politics (the Chinese word for politics means “justified order”), but only the rule by power in China, the same case as no politics before Greek polis in Europe. Thanks to Zhou’s invention of all-under-heaven, China began its politics with world problem, whereas Greek began its politics with the problem of polis. It seems quite unusual to have the political begun with world problem in the early days of civilization, for world politics must be too much avant-garde to come into the ancient minds, but it did happen.

  

  An unusual situation had made Zhou to begin politics with world politics. The story goes in this way: Shang had been the chief of the alliance of tribes for hundreds year. The last king of Shang was extremely strong but very crude, enjoyed nothing but wars and killing, a small tribe Zhou rebelled with great courage, supported by several other tribes, and finally destroyed the huge army of Shang with a great fortune. Becoming the new chief of all tribes, Zhou realized a never met problem of governance: how to lead all tribes and to enjoy their continuous support when some of them were much larger in population or potentially stronger than a supposed chief tribe. At that time, there were about 1,000 tribes different in cultures, nations and even in ethnics in China. The population of Zhou tribe was estimated less than 70,000 persons, so small in comparison to the tribes of larger population, especially to Shang tribe of a population of more than one million. Such a problem of how to control bigger powers by a smaller power had made the world politics as the primary problem of the political instead of domestic or local politics.

  

  The brilliant leaders of Zhou, especially the primer Zhou-Gong, had come to some important ideas of the political. Briefly, the key principles are (1) the successful solutions to the problems of world politics should resort to a universally accepted system of world instead of resorting to force; (2) a universal system of world is politically justified if it has a political institution to benefit all peoples of all nations,(点击此处阅读下一页)


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