Unification Through Transformation and Differentiation Due to Speech: A Reflection on the Thinking Method of On the Equality of Things
Cheng Lesong;Department of Philosophy, Peking University;
Conceptional norms and logical reduction of propositions, as solid pre-assumptions, lay the foundation for philosophical arguments in modern philosophy, and the coherence of arguments leading to a conclusion is the basic requirement of philosophical expressions. Contemporary anti-metaphysical movement has attempted to break through the dualistic framework and rational conceptual limitation, included the immediate experiences and embodied itself into the discourse practice, which is intended to question the legitimacy of constructive characteristics of modern philosophy. In this very contrastive context, On the Equality of Things(《齐物论》) reveals abundant connotations of unique value for philosophical methodological reflection. Without any conceptual abstraction or obedience with logical norms of arguments, On the Equality of Things illuminates a vast reflective space through perspective shifting and vision expansion, which demonstrates the innate limitation of subjectivities. On the Equality of Things manages to maintain the reflective practice in a vivid way through its opening towards the complexity of immediate experience and diversity of subjectivities. In this way, On the Equality of Things could be an inspiring frame of reference for philosophical reflection, especially contemporary Western philosophy. It expounds that philosophy is, in the first place, a kind of reflective practice, which does not just limit itself by the constructive goal of world order and unique worldview. The openness and vitality of reflection could keep the constructive reasoning with a self-reflective attitude and self-consciousness of limited subjectivity.