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2nd Unit : 1st Study Group Session

Special lectures by Wu Zheng-lan (Nanjing University)

go1   In June 2013, the 2nd Unit of the IRCP invited Prof. Wu Zheng-lan from the Center for Studies of Chinese Thinkers in Nanjing University to give three lectures. Wu Zheng-lan is an energetic researcher who specializes in literature and ideas of the Six Dynasties and Ming periods. While still in her forties, she has produced many works, including her main works “六朝江東士族的家學門風”Academic Styles of the Jiangdong Literati Clans during the Six Dynasties(Nanjing University Press, 2003) and “金聖嘆評傳”A Critical Biography of Jin Sheng Tan(Nanjing University Press, 2006), and she is leading research in this area. On this visit to Japan, Wu gave a special lecture to graduate students who major in Chinese philosophy within the framework of the Toyo University Graduate School Master’s program “Advanced Chinese Literature Course 2” (course director: Sakai Tahoko, IRCP researcher). The lecture took place on June 14, and was entitled “Development and changes of the Jiangdong Literati Clans literature during the Six Dynasties”; it offered the attendees great insight.

   Wu spoke again on the following day, June 15, in Room 305, Building 8, Waseda Campus, Waseda University, in an event jointly hosted by the International Research Center for Philosophy and the 17th Research Conference on Song Dynasty Literature.The title of this lecture was ‘“The six confucian books of ancient China’and ‘well-informed Buddhism:’Qian Qianyi’s treatise on ‘making sutras the warp and history the weft’ and the targets of imitation in Su Shi’s literature”(the lecture was given in Chinese). There was also a lively exchange of views between Wu and researchers based in Japan who specialize in Song Dynasty literature.

go2   The third of Wu’s lectures, which was hosted by the 2nd Unit, took place on June 19 at Hakusan Campus, Toyo University. The title of the lecture was “The relationship between the classical scholarship of the literati in the late Ming Period and literary thought” and this was delivered in Chinese.Sakai Tahoko performed the role of both master of ceremonies and interpreter, and part-time lecturer from Toyo University, Ma Xuefeng, carried out interpretation during the discussion.

   In order to demonstrate that the classical scholarship of the Ming Period literati inherited from and went on to develop the classical scholarship of Ouyang Xiu and Su Shi, Wu analyzed the connection between a reform of classical scholarship and a change in literary thought, particularly in relation to the following three aspects.

   The first aspect is the relationship between the idea in the classical scholarship of the literati “seek the mind of the holy man using your own ideas,” and the synthesis between the literary ideas that “literature declares the way” and “literature’s principal concern is innovation.”

   The second aspect is the relationship between classical scholarship’s respect for “natural humanity” as part of “parental affection,” and literature’s reverence for unbridled compassion and honestly describing the thoughts of one’s bosom.

   The third aspect is the relationship between the idea of “dao-qi unification” in classical scholarship (“dao” represents things that are without physical form and lie behind physical phenomena, such as dependence and law, and “qi” represents specific physical phenomena and things that have a concrete existence), and literature’s synthesis of “神明/ Shenming” (an immanent brilliance that transcends laws) and “法度/fadu”(rules such as rhythm and rhetoric).

   Concerning these aspects, Wu first ascertained the chronological flow of the history of ideas and then argued that the idea of natural human affection rose during the Ming Period from the way that “親子之情”(parental affection) that “文以載道”(literature works embody moral in words) and “文主於変相”(literature works has to be creative) appear to be synthesized in the “structure”of treatises.She also argued that there was a causal relationship between Tang Shunzhi’s theory of Ben Se Lun (writing for what it is) and Song Lian’s “生色之融液”(original opinion).Wu developed her discussion on these points in a detailed and persuasive way.

go3   The lecture was attended by many students from Toyo University’s Chinese philosophy graduate program in addition to researchers from the International Research Center for Philosophy. There were therefore many different questions. These included questions from those spe cializing in the history of Chinese thought, questions about the differences in philosophical methodology between Chinese and western philosophy, and also questions concerning discrepancies in the meaning of the term/concept “natural” between China, the West, and Japan.