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Reconstructing Chinese metaphysics

This paper calls for a reconstruction of Chinese metaphysics that recognizes the distinct features of Chinese worldview, while at the same time explores the speculative thinking behind the dominant ethical concerns in Chinese philosophy. It suggests some research topics for constructing a Chinese moral metaphysics, without turning it into a metaphysical ethics – the difference between the two is that the former is fundamentally “truth-pursuing” while the latter is “good-pursuing.” This paper argues that even though Chinese metaphysics is deeply connected with concerns for human flourishing, it is not just a study of nature for the sake of practical living. Furthermore, although Chinese metaphysics is different from traditional Western metaphysics, it is not incommensurable with it. There are many interesting metaphysical topics that can be investigated within Chinese philosophical texts. This is a project that looks into the future of the development of Chinese metaphysics, not a backward-looking study into the history of Chinese cosmological thinking.

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