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This study offers a critique of international relations from the perspective of a pre-modern Chinese thinker, Gongsun Long. It explores both the potential and the danger of the post-Western quest for geo-cultural distinction.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Introduction: A Pre-Modern Thinker on International Relations

Introduction: A Pre-Modern Thinker on International Relations

Abstract
A revisit to Gongsun’s debates could contribute to postmodernity because Gongsun adopted an ontology and epistemology that, in many ways, parallel postmodern thinking and allow the discovery of pre-modern parallels to postmodernity, thereby challenging postmodern thinkers to face in retrospect a political theory in which the “absence of modernity” (as a typical Western construct) leads to similar thinking. Second, Gongsun’s time was a period of transition from a hierarchical world order, dominated by a few major kings, to a warring period of many competing powers. This can be related analogously to the collapse of the so-called “European Concert” or the end of the Cold War. Finally, Gongsun dealt with the quest for order in a world that was losing normative consensus.
Chih-yu Shih, Po-tsan Yu

Teaching for the Time

Frontmatter

1. Engaging in Our Time

Abstract
Gongsun denounced artificial intervention based on ideas and reasons. He could debate the liberal global governance as he did Confucianism because his criticism of the Confucian ritual and would-be criticism of the liberal due process could rest upon the same sensibility toward individualized condition. Gongsun and post-Western quest are in line with each other in that they shared alert to any overarching claim of legitimacy for interventionary action. However, Gongsun was not interested in detecting the geo-cultural root as the “objective” foundation — and thus, legitimacy — of a declared distinctive hybridity. For him, a distinctive claim based on sited objectivity could be either redundant or dangerous because of various manipulative purposes that such a claim is meant to achieve. He was suspicious toward the naming of any claimed hybridity.
Chih-yu Shih, Po-tsan Yu

2. Engaging in His Time

Abstract
If rationalism reflects human confidence in relying on pure logic and the abstract value to design or improve human systems, Confucianism was no less enlightened during the early Zhou Dynasty than the Renaissance and modernity in Europe or early Republican China in the 1910s through the 1930s. Amidst the atmosphere of cultural reformation in modern and contemporary China, the argument that Confucianism could be a case of super-rationality is virtually unintelligent. Gongsun’s annoying skill of debating was aimed at trivializing all names, each after their proper and unrepeatable contextualization. Stability or equilibrium desired by Confucian rationalism, as well as mainstream International Relations (IR), could not be valued in Gongsun’s debate.
Chih-yu Shih, Po-tsan Yu

Reality Instead of Name

Frontmatter

3. Restoration on Demand

Abstract
Gongsun’s debating was aimed at trivializing all names each after their proper and unrepeatable contextualization. Echoed by the postmodern deconstructionists of two millennia later, Gongsun Long offered to his contemporary the less popular alternative that emphasized the use of language only for the reality of the occasion in his attempt to resist almost all values, be they restoration, universal love, or war. This is in sharp contrast with the Confucian use of kinship to breed moral consciousness in support of naming. For Confucians, the task of rational thinkers is to distinguish the right names from the wrong ones. From Gongsun’s perspective, naming sites would lead to constant battles between kingdoms and within them each and eventually invite conquest.
Chih-yu Shih, Po-tsan Yu

4. Deconstructive Responses

Abstract
Daoism and the School of Name were two schools of thought with major criticisms of naming. They shared the deconstructive method. Gongsun Long belonged to the School of Name, under which two sects existed. Gongsun belonged to the discriminative sect that emphasized separatism and tended to distinguish one thing from another. The indiscriminative sect resembled Daoism in that the emphasis was on the equality of things. Daoism reflected the ontological sensibilities to certain transcendental subjectivities beyond specific occasions. For the School of Name, the subjectivities arising out of the occasions were each in their vivid formation. The School of Name was opposed to any overarching principle or code that denied the person of his or her perceived reality.
Chih-yu Shih, Po-tsan Yu

5. Gongsun Long, the Debater

Abstract
If the sage had to know, the sage could acquire science and democracy and yet still declare that science and democracy exhibited no influence on the sage himself. His science and democracy would not be used to replace anything, for he knew it would be futile to do so. Gongsun’s debate that let the utterers determine their own realities amounted to a completely opposite claim that the sage did not know. Gongsun deprived a name of any universal implication beyond mere expression of a person who incurred the name for his or her own distinctive purpose. The simple quote “The white horse is no horse” contains all these rich meanings.
Chih-yu Shih, Po-tsan Yu

6. Rationality Trespassing Reality

Abstract
The School of Name left few records, primarily because they were not respected intellectuals in the ensuing generations. Even their contemporaries often found them annoying. Consistently, naming was considered essential to the restoration of a lost order although the purpose of naming had always been hotly disputed. Gongsun Long was beyond his time to the extent that the hegemonic discourse of value and certainty has multiplied the magnitude of rationality witnessed in pre-modern China in terms of installing as well as restoring the world order. The romantic reliance of rationality and the utopian tendency therein have been similar throughout human history.
Chih-yu Shih, Po-tsan Yu

Post-Western Issues

Frontmatter

7. The Color Revolution

Abstract
Gongsun could dispute the connection drawn between different color revolutions. First, each color would be an act of positioning which should have only reflect the formation of reality. Second, a color could not represent those who wear it. Third, a color was a trigger of emotion and the intellectual interpretation of rally was to spread a much broader implication to motivate further action. In short, the color revolution is not a revolution. The color signifies mutual estrangement as well as foregone civility. It does not designate liberalism incurred by the notion of revolution against the conservative authoritarian regime, nor sitedness in which hybridity is at best an embarrassing reality.
Chih-yu Shih, Po-tsan Yu

8. The China Model

Abstract
Contrary to the color revolution, which connotes civil disobedience to the interventionary force, a widely regarded anti-liberal reference to the notion of the China model is a case of comparison. Because one purpose of the post-Western quest is to enable the sited and hybrid population to look at, evaluate, and influence global order, it should approve the exploration of the China model, its potential to provincialize the Western historiography, and the associated reform strategy. Gongsun would only agree that the China model represents experience, but never a model. Once a model, it would violate realities elsewhere, as well as in China, to become support for authoritarianism.
Chih-yu Shih, Po-tsan Yu

9. Peace

Abstract
Gongsun’s approach to peace was to check on the peace rhetoric against the actual military preparation for conquest. He pointed out that universal love was not an abstract concept to be exemplified through periodical ritual. The way to bring the Kings to the consciousness is twofold. First, Gongsun deconstructed the false reality that covered by the Kings’ ritualized rhetoric of appeasement. Secondly, he could opt to show the Kings that there was a different reality in someone else’ perspective. He compelled the kings to face their own warring minds. Gongsun placed the pressure on the kings, rather than their military preparation.
Chih-yu Shih, Po-tsan Yu

Conclusion: Post-Post-Western International Relations

Abstract
Gongsun would not seek re-Worlding since any representation of a sited geo-cultural distinction could risk the over-extension of naming. For Gongsun, despite that individualized realities are corrupted by emotion and social control, only individualized realities could count however flawed they could appear to whichever philosophical perspective. The danger of re-Worlding lies in the proclivity of making the sited experience a non-reality. Gongsun Long’s insistence on an imagined individualized reality that is ready to check on the hegemonic naming, undergo instant amnesia, and renounce any higher-name opportunity in the world amounts to a political position that can be temporarily called post-post-Western IR.
Chih-yu Shih, Po-tsan Yu

Backmatter

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