Dimension and Characteristic of Pragmatic Contextualism In Chinese Philosophy From Perspective of Confucianist and Daoist


Ayu Larasati(1*)

(1) Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
(*) Corresponding Author


 “Science denialism”, which counters “science” with “science” to direct a “selected knowledge” has caused a “gap of truth” as in hoax that led to doubts of knowledge, which is a phenomenon of skepticism in the digital era. “Cartesian” verification of knowledge is limited because an algorithm-psychological-based “tool” can direct and utilize scientific data/values to support/negate knowledge for particular purpose regardless of objective truth. Thus, differentiation between truth and false needs to acknowledge the “qualitative reasoning”, as in pragmatic contextualism: a context-sensitive approach, exercised on local values-based actions as communication acts of “truth” and “false”. Pragmatic contextualism is practiced in Chinese philosophy, composed by “yin” and “yang” duality characteristics based on Confucius and Dao philosophy, which permeates into varied dimensions. Therefore, the paper aims to identify the characteristic and dimensions of pragmatic contextualism in Chinese philosophy from Confucianist and Daoist as an attempt to discover an alternative “verification” of “truth” on local values-based acts. The literature study from lectures, books, and articles (journals, news) is conducted to identify the characteristics and dimensions of pragmatic contextualism. The study founds the characteristics of pragmatic contextualism are personalization, relativity, holistic, multiscale, relationality, inter-spatiality, adaptivity, and plurality. Further, these characteristics are expressed in social, education, politic, spiritual, environment, aesthetics, and temporal dimension.


Chinese Philosophy, Pragmatic, Contextualism, Confucius, Dao

Full Text:



Behuniak, J. J. (2010). Wen, Haiming, Confucian pragmatism as the art of contextualizing personal experience and world. New York: Lexington Books, 2009, 347 pages. Dao, 9(2010): 249-52. DOI: 10.1007/s11712-010-9168-z

Benetatou, M. (2009). Confucian Pragmatism as the Art of Contextualizing Personal Experience and World (review). China Review International, 16(4), 572–575. https://doi.org/10.1353/cri.2009.0088

Bloom, I. (1997). Human Nature and Biological Nature in Mencius. Philosophy East and West, 47(1), 21-32. http://doi.org/10.2307/1400248

Carlson, M. (2021). Skepticism and the Digital Information Environment. SATS, 22(2), 149–167. https://doi.org/10.1515/sats-2021-0008

Chan, W. T. (trans.). (1963 [1969]). Source Book in Chinese Philosophy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Chang, W. & Kalmanson, L. (2010). Confucianism in Context: Classic Philosophy and Contemporary Issues, East Asia and Beyond. New York: State University of New York Press.

Chung, J. (2017). Taking Skepticism Seriously: How the Zhuang Zi can Inform Contemporary Epistemology. Comparative Philosophy, 8(2), 3-29

Cohen, S. (1999). Contextualism, Skepticism, and The Structure of Reasons. Philosophical Perspectives 13, ed. by J. Tomberlin, 57–89.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2020). Confucius (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Retrieved September 19, 2022, from Stanford.edu website: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/confucius/

DeRose, K. (1995). Solving the skeptical problem. The Philosophical Review, 104(1): 1-52. https://doi.org/10.2307/2186011

Feldman, R. (2001). Skeptical problems, contextualist solutions. Philosophical Studies, 103(2001): 61-85

Foster, C. L. E. (2022). Truth as social practice in a digital era: iteration as persuasion. AI & SOCIETY. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00146-021-01306-w

Fung Y. L. (1952). A History of Chinese Philosophy Vol I The Period of the Philosophers (From Beginnings to Circa 100 B.C.). London: George Allen and Unwin LTD

Gao, H. B. (2021). Lecture 10: Zhuang Zi [Power Point Slides]. Tsinghua University Web Learning, http://learn.tsinghua.edu.cn

______(2021). Lecture 2: Confucius [Power Point Slides]. Tsinghua University Web Learning, http://learn.tsinghua.edu.cn

______ (2021). Lecture 3: Mencius [Power Point Slides]. Tsinghua University Web Learning, http://learn.tsinghua.edu.cn

______ (2021). Lecture 8: Lao Zi [Power Point Slides]. Tsinghua University Web Learning, http://learn.tsinghua.edu.cn

Hon, T. (2019). Chinese Philosophy of Change (Yijing). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2019/entries/chinese-change/

Hoff, B. (1983). The Tao of Pooh. New York: Penguin Books

Hughes, J. (1989). Mencius' Prescriptions for Ancient Chinese Environmental Problems. Environmental Review: ER, 13(3/4), 15-27. http://doi.org/10.2307/3984388

Ivanhoe, P. J. & Van Hoerden. B. W. (2001). Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy. New York: Seven Bridges Press

Jiang, L.-M. (2019). The Big and the Great: A Reconstruction of Zhuangzi’s Philosophy on Transcendence. Religions 10(1), 30. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010030

Kenny, A. (2006). An Illustrated Brief History of Western Philosophy. London: Blackwell Publishing

Li, Y. (1997). The Illustrated Book of Changes. Beijing: Foreign Language Press

Lin, Q. L. (2012). Epistemic Contextualism and Its Problems: A Philosophical Critique [Doctoral Dissertation, McMaster University]. Macsphere Open Access Dissertations and Theses. https://macsphere.mcmaster.ca/

Liu, T. & Wang, C.-Y. (2016). Analysis of Differences between Chinese and Western Sport Philosophy. Philosophy Study, 6(3), 149-154. http://doi.org/10.17265/2159-5313/2016.03.004

McRae, E. (2011). The Cultivation of Moral Feelings and Mengzi’s Method of Extension. Philosophy East and West, 61(4), 587-608

Merton, T. (1965). The Way of Chuang Tzu. New York: New Directions

Michaels, D., & Monforton, C. (2005). Manufacturing uncertainty: contested science and the protection of the public's health and environment. American journal of public health, 95 (Suppl 1): S39–S48. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2004.043059

Mullis, E. C. (2005). Carrying the Jade Tablet: A consideration of Confucian Artistry. The Journal of Contemporary Aesthetics, 3(2005): 1-15.

O’Connor, C., & Weatherall, J. (2019). The misinformation age: how false beliefs spread. New Haven: Yale University Press

Popkin, R. H. (2020, November 18). skepticism. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/skepticism

Shusterman, R. (2004). Special issue: pragmatism and east-asian thought. Metaphilosophy, 35(1/2): 13-43

__________(2009). Pragmatic Aesthetics and Confucianism. The Journal of Aesthetics Education, 43(1), 18-29.

Singh, V. (2013). Confucianism: Ecological Cognizance. International Research Journal of Management Science and Technology, 4(3), 630-635. https://doi.org/10.32804/IRJMST

Tu, W. M. (1985). Confucian Thought: Selfhood as Creative Transformation. NY: State University of New York Press.

Weissman, S. (2011, October 24). The Age of Digital Skepticism. Digiday website: https://digiday.com/media/the-age-of-digital-skepticism/

Wen, H. M. (2009). Confucian pragmatism as the art of contextualizing personal experience and world. Lanham: Lexington.

Wijanarko, R., & Saeng, V. (2022). Human beings and social structure in Frantz Fanon’s philosophical thought. Jurnal Filsafat, 32(1): 89-107. DOI:10.22146/jf.66631

Yang, Y. Z. (2016). Practical Contextualism in Chinese Philosophy [Doctoral dissertation, University of New South Wales]. UNSW Open Access Repository. http://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/

Yin, Z. H. (2012). Taoist Philosophy in Environmental Protection. Religious Studies in Contemporary China Collection, Vol. 2, 279-282. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789047427995_016

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22146/jf.69223

Article Metrics

Abstract views : 604 | views : 616


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Jurnal Filsafat

Jurnal Filsafat Indexed by:

Google ScholarSinta (Science and Technology Index)

Jurnal Filsafat ISSN 0853-1870 (print), ISSN 2528-6811 (online)