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One Divides into Two: Philosophical Archeology of Modern Chinese Political Thought

Publication Date|2020-03-01

Authors|Joyce C.H. Liu

Press|UNITAS Publishing



One Divides into Two: Philosophical Archaeology of Modern Chinese Political Thoughts is composed of 12 chapters. This book presents an archaeological and topological study of modern Chinese political thoughts. The author analyzes its recurrent paradigms of the normative governmentality in the discursive syncretism of Confucianism and Legalism.

Part I traces the transformation of the concept of materialist dialectics through the term "One-Divides-into-Two" from Hegel, Marx, Lenin, and Mao Zedong. The discussion of this part focus on how the dialectic movement implied in this concept is fixated on the rigid dichotomization of enemy-friend opposition during the Cold War period. The case of Yang Xianzhen is exemplary in the paradoxical turn of the transformation that demonstrates the Sinification of Marxism in its worst form.

Part II focuses on the philosophical debates on the incident of the "Struggle between Confucianism and Legalism." The author takes the discussions as markers and indexes that point to the different paradigms of emancipation in the history of Chinese political philosophy. The paradoxical turn of the path is implicated both by the local and the global political conditions in the Cold War period. 

Part III takes a detour and moves on to contemporary European thinkers on the concept of the void, nothingness, and one-divides-into- two. The author points out that sinologist such François Jullien and Jean François Billeter, though familiar with the Daoist philosophy, missed the radical and critical forces in Zhuangzi's thought. European thinkers influenced by Mao Zedong during the 1960s, including Louis Althusser, Jacques Rancière, Étienne Balibar, and Alain Badiou, inspired by Mao's one-divides-into-two, persist in their path of materialist dialectic and critically address contemporary aporia of local and global societies. 

Part IV concentrates on the political thoughts of Zhang Taiyan and discusses the critical tradition in Chinese political ideas as exemplified by him. The author points out that the emancipatory politics of critical thinking, demonstrated by Zhang Taiyan, presents significant implications for contemporary societies.

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