Digital Issue of the College of Transcultural Studies

The Initial Issue:NO.1


Program:Key project of “ Research for Language,Character of Chinese and Folk Culture from the Perspective of Transcultural Studies”, hosted by the Center of Folklore, Ancient Writing and Chinese Characters, Key Social Science Research Base under the Ministry of Education of P.R.China
Complex Thinking and Mutually Subjective Cognition
Yue Daiyun

The noted French philosopher Edgar Morin points out that the blessings of Western civilization also conceal the roots of its destruction. Within its individualism lie self-centered detachment and solitude, and its blind economic development has made humanity ethically and psychologically sluggish. It has created isolation in every area and limited people’s intellectual powers, causing them to be overwhelmed by complicated problems and oblivious to fundamental and global issues. Science and technology have produced social advances but at the same time have brought harm to the culture and the environment, creating new inequalities and replacing old forms of slavery with new ones. Urban pollution and the blindness of science have been particular causes of anxiety and damage, and are leading people towards nuclear and environmental extinction.1 Morin believes these new complex situations must be addressed with a new system of complex thinking.

A group of French philosophers represented by Francois Jullien believe that at present, the priority should be to return to our own cultural resources, to make a fresh examination of history, and to find a new point of departure. This requires a new type of “Other” as a reference for renewed reflection on our own history and culture. In his noted article “Why Are We Westerners Unable to Bypass China in Studying Philosophy?,” Jullien particularly emphasizes that in order to know ourselves completely we must depart from the closed self to construct an “outward perspective,” and says China is the best reference point for building this kind of viewpoint.2 At an international academic conference focused on “the beauty of diversity” held at Peking University’s Center for Research in comparative literature and culture, Professor Daniel-Henri Pageaux, a great French scholar of comparative literature, argued especially that “Francois Jullien’s research into the cultures of Greece and China is a very good example that precisely confirms my point about the advantages of ‘detouring’ through the ‘Other.’”(Source: Yue Daiyun, Exploring the Methodology of Transcultural Studies, Encyclopaedia of China Publishing House,2016.)