A Treatise on Efficacy: Between Western and Chinese Thinking by François Jullien

By François Jullien

During this hugely insightful research of Western and chinese language strategies of efficacy, Francois Jullien subtly delves into the metaphysical preconceptions of the 2 civilizations to account for diverging styles of motion in conflict, politics, and international relations. even if the Western version of efficacy, inherited from the traditional Greeks' perception of motion, seeks to achieve at once a predetermined target via voluntary and assertive motion, the chinese language are likely to review the ability inherent in a state of affairs (shi) and remodel it via nonassertiveness, counting on the "propensity" of items in the sort of means that the outcome occurs of itself. Jullien indicates how those Western and chinese language thoughts paintings in numerous domain names (the battlefield, for instance) and analyzes ensuing acts of conflict. The chinese language strategist manipulates his personal troops and the enemy to win a conflict with no waging battle and to result in victory without problems. Efficacity in China is therefore conceived of when it comes to transformation (as against motion) and manipulation, making it toward what's understood as efficacy within the West.
Jullien's extraordinary interpretations of an array of recondite texts are key to knowing our personal conceptions of motion, time, and fact during this foray into the area of chinese language concept. In its transparent and penetrating characterization of 2 contrasting perspectives of fact from a heretofore unexplored standpoint, A Treatise on Efficacy may be of primary significance within the highbrow debate among East and West.

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Extra resources for A Treatise on Efficacy: Between Western and Chinese Thinking

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In short, the effect results from your position, not from yourself. The place par excellence from which authority spon­ taneously stems is the throne. That is why one major school of thought in late Chinese Antiquity focused on the notion of authority arid aimed to set up the. throne as the source of absolute power. It did not do this, as happened else­ where or was recommended by others in China (the Con­ fucians), by invoking any kind of transcendence, in the name of any divine power, or in the name of any political contract reached between individuals in order to provide a basis for civil order.

What­ ever he says, you underline as being the ess�ntial point. " And so on. Your partner in this way moves forward amid a continuous kind of acqui­ escence that progressively makes him weaker and gives you ascendancy over him. In this way, in relations with others (especially the ruler himself), you always act openly, with­ out risk, neither planning nor forcing anything in advance, but always adapting so closely to the circumstances that, on the contrary, it is they that at every turn offer you a measure of control from which you can profit.

The words of the ancient treatise deserve particularly close attention:' "Once the assessment of what is profitable [made on the basis of the above seven points] has been agreed upon, one can deduce the potential of the situation, which can be helpful outsided [�outside' meaning beyond the rules of evaluation, on the terrain where operations are to take place]. " Hence the definition that follows: that potential consists in "determining the circumstances with a view to profiting from them. " Understood in this fashion, cir­ cumstances are no longer something unpredictable that will turn out in a particular way, always threatening to ruin any plan imposed upon them.

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