Heaven and Earth Are Not Humane

Heaven and Earth Are Not Humane

The Problem of Evil in Classical Chinese Philosophy
Franklin Perkins
Distribution: World
Publication date: 05/23/2014
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-01172-5
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That bad things happen to good people was as true in early China as it is today. Franklin Perkins uses this observation as the thread by which to trace the effort by Chinese thinkers of the Warring States Period (c.475-221 BCE), a time of great conflict and division, to seek reconciliation between humankind and the world. Perkins provides rich new readings of classical Chinese texts and reflects on their significance for Western philosophical discourse.

Author Bio

Franklin Perkins is Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University. He is author of Leibniz and China: A Commerce of Light and Leibniz: A Guide for the Perplexed.


“Perkins provides original, important, and fully convincing readings of the classical Chinese texts. Moreover, given the comparative focus, it is one of those rare works on classical materials that will excite significant interest among scholars of Western philosophy and intellectual history as well. . . . Beautifully written, highly engaging, and extremely well argued.”
 — Michael Puett, Harvard University

“Much of the richness of the book lies in its strikingly original readings of familiar texts, and the deeply attentive analysis of key problems in these texts that are illuminated by reading them in relation to Chinese 'problems of evil.”
 — Aaron D. Stalnaker, Indiana University Bloomington

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Table of Contents

Note on Abbreviated Citations
Introduction: Philosophy in a Cross-Cultural Context
1. Formations of the Problem of Evil
2. The Efficacy of Human Action and the Mohist Opposition to Fate
3. Efficacy and Following Nature in the Dàodéjng
4. Reproaching Heaven and Serving Heaven in the Mèngz
5. Beyond the Human in the Zhung
6. Xúnz and the Fragility of the Human

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