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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)  

   This paradoxical problem of institutional design foretold the difficulty in world cooperation, challenging our minds to renew the concept of all-under-heaven for a better system of world in the future.

  

  4. A Philosophical Renewal of All-under-heaven

  

  The Chinese key word “all-under-heaven” is a thick concept of “world”. It has triple meanings as (1) the earth or all lands under the sky; and (2) the common choice by all peoples in the world or the universal agreement in the “hearts” of all peoples; and (3) a political system of world with a world institution to ensure the universal order of the world. This semantic trinity indicates that a physical world is far from a world of human. And a humanized world is unless it is defined to be a political world by a world institution reflecting the general heart of all peoples thus universally accepted[9]. In other words, the natural world will not be our world unless constituted to be the all-under-heaven with a world institution.

  

  The concept of all-under-heaven is thus a world-view in which the world is understood a unity of the physical world (land), the psychological world (the general heart of peoples) and the institutional world (a world institution). So it is a very thick concept of world, by which the metaphysics as political philosophy replaces the metaphysics as ontology to be the first philosophy. In this sense, the globe must be said still a non-world, for it has not yet enjoyed a world institution representing the general heart of all peoples to fully realize the eidos of world.

  

  The concept of all-under-heaven has established a world-view of world-size so as to see the problems of the world in a world perspective instead of a local or national perspective. To see the world from a view of world-size is an epistemological principle firstly given by Lao-tzu (580-500BC). It says “the best methodology to understand everything is to view a person from his view, to view a family from its view, a village from a village, a state from a state, and to view all-under-heaven from the view of all-under-heaven”[10]. It indicates a political epistemology more than a scientific epistemology.

  

  To follow the way of Chinese thinking, the world is always considered a political body more than a scientific object. As a matter of fact, the world as a scientific object was rarely discussed in Chinese traditional philosophy, for Chinese minds were inclined to investigate the society seriously while to imagine the nature in poetic way. The Chinese preference to political knowledge has been so dominating that Chinese minds took less interest in the truths of the nature. The politically oriented epistemology could be supported by an argument like this: the world is consisted of things and facts, but only facts, as what-have-been-done[11], decide our lives therefore the problems of facts are the most relevant, whereas things are merely what are as they are, being there beyond our choices, and thus making nothing problematical. Briefly, the nature is but the society is made to be, and only what could be made constitutes our problems. It is the world of facts that make the problems, and the world of facts is found essentially the political/ethical. Once a Duke asked Confucius (551-479BC) what was the most important in the human world, Confucius answered: “that is politics ”[12]. And the Confucian definition of politics comes as“the political is to justify what has been done”[13].

  

  Chinese has developed political philosophy, mixed with ethics, to be the first philosophy as an alternative metaphysics to change the orientation of the question of being in that, as I formulate it[14], to be is to do. The question of doing replaces being so much so that things only become meaningful when involved in facts. Chinese philosophies are engaged much more in the problems of relation and heart, whereas western philosophies the truth and mind. A truth, for instance, depends on certain “relations”, as to a typical Chinese philosophy. In fact, nothing could be said a thing so and so unless it is defined in terms of “relations”, say, we will find someone a friendly person when we treat him friendly, and in other cases we might have an opposite knowledge of him if we treat him wrongly. It is therefore the relations, instead of the essence, define and decide what is. The metaphysics of relations strongly encourages the imagination of a political system of the world in terms of all-under-heaven constituted of harmony relations of all peoples.

  

  5. Nothing and nobody excluded

  

  One of the most important principles of all-under-heaven must be the principle of “exclusion of nothing and nobody” or “inclusion of all peoples and all lands” [15]. It says that no other peoples could be excluded or pushed aside, for no one is an essentially incompatible other. It consists of two key points: the claim of no outsider and the claim of no pagan.

  

  As claimed in the theory of all-under-heaven, a country or a state has no chance to avoid disorder if the world is in a disorder of anarchy,(点击此处阅读下一页)


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