This new English translation of François Jullien’s work is a compelling summation of his thinking on the comparison between Western and Chinese thought. The title, From Being to Living, summarises his essential point: that western thinking is obsessed by – and determined as well as limited by – the notion of Being, whereas traditional Chinese thought was always situated in Living. Organized as a lexicon around some 20 concepts that juxtapose Chinese and Western thought, Jullien explores the ways the two have historically evolved, and how many aspects of Chinese thought developed in complete isolation from the West, revealing a different way of relating to the world. Translated by Michael Richardson and Krzysztof Fijalkowski, this text explores Chinese thinking and language in order to excavate elements from them that reveal the fault lines of western thinking. This is an important book for students, scholars and practitioners alike across the Social Sciences.
Chapter II: Potential of Situation (vs Initiative of the Subject)
Potential of Situation (vs Initiative of the Subject)
1 What European philosophy has promoted, and that in the end has retrospectively constituted its fate, is what has come to fix its point of departure in a self-subject (an observation that unfortunately is too banal for us to be able to think about adequately). This means that, when I think, I start by thinking not from the world or from ‘things’, as the Greeks did, but from an ‘I’ which thinks: the subject passes itself off as the first object and as sufficient of itself. Any ‘world’ comes only later and as a consequence of it. The first features of this ‘I think’, an insular cogito, appear in ...