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 XIV: Evasive (vs Assignable)
Evasive (vs Assignable)
1 If there is a Greek choice, anchored in ontology, or what I’d call a ‘ground of understanding’, at whose heart the Greeks have thought, it is to consider that the more determined something is, the more it ‘exists’, that de-termination creates ‘being’. This ‘term’ forming a limit, peras πέρας, as it marks borders, saves us from the inconsistency of the unlimited, the apeiron ἄπειρον (in the Philebus). Hence the undefined is, at once and in the same sense, whatever has no limit or end and is vague, indecisive and uncertain and therefore constitutes a dilution of being. For it is between a marked beginning and end, arché–télos, separating itself out into singular being, that everything assumes consistency, which ...