ZHANG DONGSUN (張東蓀; also transliterated as CHANG TUNG-SUN) (1886–1973) was a Chinese philosopher, public intellectual and political figure.
* 1 Biography * 2 Work * 3 Philosophy * 4 References
A prominent exponent of
Chinese liberalism , he became a powerful
influence in the
In addition to the Second World War era, Zhang also taught the
students at National
Zhang veered towards acceptance of the inevitability of Communist
victory and took government positions after the establishment of the
People\'s Republic of
Although Zhang was intellectually silenced after the 1940s, he had been an extraordinarily active writer until that time. Many of his works from that period still survive, testifying to Zhang's importance as one of the most penetrating and innovative Chinese thinkers of the 20th Century. His most important philosophical works include Science and Philosophy (科學與哲學), ABC of Philosophy (哲學ABC), ABC of Psychoanalysis (精神分析學ABC), Moral Philosophy (道德哲學),On the Culture and Philosophy of East and West (讀東西文化及其哲學), Epistemology (認識論), A new Formulation of Pluralistic Epistemology (多元認識論重述), What is Philosophy (哲學究竟是什麼), Knowledge and Culture (知識與文化), Thought and Society (思想與社會) and Rationality and Democracy (理性與民主).
Pluralistic epistemology represents the core of Zhang's philosophical system. It is derived from a revised version of Kantian philosophy. To justify such an epistemology, he proposed a new cosmology: panstructuralism (fanjiagouzhuyi 泛架構主義) An important assumption of his theory of knowledge is the neo-realistic view that the external world exists independently of our consciousness, and that there is no exact correlation between external phenomena and our comprehension of them. However, the external cause for our sensation is not a substance, but the order or structure of the external world. What is transmitted to us through our sensory impressions is a modification of this external order. Similarly, the discovery of the Theory of Relativity was important only in terms of recognizing structural laws, and not in terms of recognising any new essences in nature or the cosmos.
Plural epistemology advocates the view that sense impressions are non-being. Therefore, they are without a position in the ontological sense; they do not possess any 'ontological status'. All beings exist in a process of constant change that manifests itself in a never-ending modification of structural connections, and the growth and decline of the qualities of the "essence" of particular entities. According to Zhang, our consciousness can only recognize certain aspects of these manifest changes. However, this refers not only to the level of our perception and comprehension; according to Zhang, the structured order of relations is all that really exists in the cosmos. The relation between the external world and our subjectivity is interactive and correlative.
Combining the Buddhist idea of non-substance with a theory of evolution, Zhang held that the structures of the universe, although empty, are in evolution, and new kinds of structure may emerge due to changes in the combination of various structures. His most valuable contributions are also to be found in his endeavours to elaborate the dialectical aspect of Aristotelian logic, to connect logic, language and methods of disputation, and to discover principles and formal elements of the logic of linguistic pragmatism. His investigations of the influence of Chinese language on the development of Chinese philosophy are a very influential and pioneering work. He was the first philosopher who exposed correlative thinking as a main characteristic of Chinese philosophy and analogical argument as a specific Chinese mode of inference.
* ^ Z. Zhu, The Case of Zhang Dongsun, first published in History of Beijing Police Force, 1992 * ^ 杨奎松 (2013). 忍不住的"关怀"：1949年前后的书生与政治（增订版）. Guilin: 广西师范大学出版社. pp. 1–9. ISBN 978-7-5495-3630-6 . * ^ 徐友春 (2007). 民国人物大辞典. Hebei: 河北人民出版社. ISBN 978-7-202-03014-1 .
* Xinyan Jiang, "Zhang Dongsun: Pluralist Epistemology and Chinese Philosophy" in Chung-Yin Cheng and Nicholas Bunnin, eds., Contemporary Chinese Philosophy, Oxford: Blackwell, 2002. * Key-chong Yap, "Zhang Dongsun" in Antonio S. Cua, ed., Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy, London: Routledge, 2001. * Rošker, Jana S., "The Abolishment of Substance and Ontology: a New Interpretation of Zhang Dongsun's Pluralistic Epistemology," in "Synthetis philosophica International Ed.", 2009, Vol. 24, No 1, p. 153-165. * Rošker, Jana S., "Zhang Dongsun’s 張東蓀 (1886 - 1973) plural epistemology (duoyuan renshi lun多元認識論)," in Rošker, Jana S., "Searching for the Way – Theory of Knowledge in pre-Modern and Modern China," Hong Kong: Chinese University