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2. Ontological Optimism, Cosmological Confusion, and Unstable Evolution: Tan Sitong’s Renxue and Zhang Taiyan’s Response

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Chapter Summary

This new discursive framework entails dialectic between abstract time and evolutionary history, which operates in different degrees in Tan Sitong and Zhang Taiyan's respective writings. The fundamental goal of his philosophy is to let this energy or mental power flow unobstructed and thus negate the temporal self, which hinders this flow. The antinomy of freedom and necessity implies another contradiction in the world of things. Tan's interest in Western thought and culture naturally increased after China's defeat in the Sino-Japanese War. Tan's magnum opus A Study of Cosmic Love begins by establishing an ontological source that can be considered a substance. Tan draws on Buddhism to promote a philosophy of absolute equality, and posits a unity between a cosmic ontological source and individual subjectivity. Zhang, on the other hand, counters Tan's assumption about ontology by positing a type of self-concealment at the origin of being.

Keywords: cosmic ontological source; Tan Sitong; Zhang Taiyan



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