The Propensity of Things
In this book, his first to appear in English, French sinologist François Jullien uses the Chinese concept of shi--meaning disposition or circumstance, power or potential--as a touchstone to explore Chinese culture and to uncover the intricate structure underlying Chinese modes of thinking. He follows the concept from one field to another--including military strategy, politics, the aesthetics of calligraphy, and literary theory--and from reflection on history to "first philosophy." At the point where these various domains intersect, a fundamental intuition assumed for centuries to be self-evident emerges, namely, that reality--every kind of reality--may be perceived as a particular deployment or arrangement of things to be relied upon and worked to one's advantage.
About the Author
François Jullien is Professor at the Université Paris VII-Denis Diderot and director at the Institut de la Pensée Contemporaine. He is the author of Detour and Access: Strategies of Meaning in China and Greece, The Propensity of Things: Toward a History of Efficacy in China, and In Praise of Blandness: Proceeding from Chinese Thought and Aesthetics all published by Zone Books.