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postgraduate thesis: The Chinese reception of Rousseau's political philosophy in the 20th century

TitleThe Chinese reception of Rousseau's political philosophy in the 20th century
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Cook, GA
Issue Date2012
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Tao, W. [陶文佳]. (2012). The Chinese reception of Rousseau's political philosophy in the 20th century. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5153708
AbstractThe present thesis explores the history of interpretations of Rousseau’s political philosophy in the last one hundred years in China. Ever since the introduction of Of the Social Contract into China at the beginning of the twentieth century, Rousseau became one of the few western thinkers who greatly influenced how the Chinese perceive modern society and politics. Rousseau’s political ideas first generated a growing number of interpretations from 1898 to 1920. In these interpretations, his work was portrayed as the epitome of modern democracy, and his teachings were considered the cure for social problems in China at the time. However, in the recent three decades in China, scholars interpreted his political writings differently. Some even accused him of being the advocate of totalitarianism, and his political theories the theoretical support of dictatorship of the French Revolution. Such different interpretations in different periods of the Chinese reception of his political philosophy raised the question: what caused the distinctive alteration of Rousseau’s image in the last century in China? This thesis intends to provide a possible answer by examining the movement and evolution of interpretations of his political philosophy over the past century. In this examination, I first introduce the methodology and the theoretical foundation of this dissertation: Gadamer’s hermeneutic method in interpreting a text, and Rousseau’s political philosophy as a whole. In part two and part three, the history of the Chinese interpretations will then be divided into two phases in accordance with the alteration of Rousseau’s image over time. I present and briefly analyze different interpretations of his political theories to provide a thorough overview, as well as different characteristics of the interpretations from both phases. I then employ Gadamer’s hermeneutic method to analyze three interpretations that were most influential in these phases to argue that even though some interpretations contained inaccurate accounts of Rousseau’s texts, all fulfilled the hermeneutic task of understanding these texts in different phases. The cause of the alteration of Rousseau’s image in the last century is the alteration of interpreters’ hermeneutic horizons in different times. As the process of understanding his political writings evolved through the last century in China, these texts constantly generates new fusions of the horizon of the author with the horizons of the interpreters.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
Dept/ProgramPhilosophy
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/195979

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorCook, GA-
dc.contributor.authorTao, Wenjia-
dc.contributor.author陶文佳-
dc.date.accessioned2014-03-21T03:50:02Z-
dc.date.available2014-03-21T03:50:02Z-
dc.date.issued2012-
dc.identifier.citationTao, W. [陶文佳]. (2012). The Chinese reception of Rousseau's political philosophy in the 20th century. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5153708-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/195979-
dc.description.abstractThe present thesis explores the history of interpretations of Rousseau’s political philosophy in the last one hundred years in China. Ever since the introduction of Of the Social Contract into China at the beginning of the twentieth century, Rousseau became one of the few western thinkers who greatly influenced how the Chinese perceive modern society and politics. Rousseau’s political ideas first generated a growing number of interpretations from 1898 to 1920. In these interpretations, his work was portrayed as the epitome of modern democracy, and his teachings were considered the cure for social problems in China at the time. However, in the recent three decades in China, scholars interpreted his political writings differently. Some even accused him of being the advocate of totalitarianism, and his political theories the theoretical support of dictatorship of the French Revolution. Such different interpretations in different periods of the Chinese reception of his political philosophy raised the question: what caused the distinctive alteration of Rousseau’s image in the last century in China? This thesis intends to provide a possible answer by examining the movement and evolution of interpretations of his political philosophy over the past century. In this examination, I first introduce the methodology and the theoretical foundation of this dissertation: Gadamer’s hermeneutic method in interpreting a text, and Rousseau’s political philosophy as a whole. In part two and part three, the history of the Chinese interpretations will then be divided into two phases in accordance with the alteration of Rousseau’s image over time. I present and briefly analyze different interpretations of his political theories to provide a thorough overview, as well as different characteristics of the interpretations from both phases. I then employ Gadamer’s hermeneutic method to analyze three interpretations that were most influential in these phases to argue that even though some interpretations contained inaccurate accounts of Rousseau’s texts, all fulfilled the hermeneutic task of understanding these texts in different phases. The cause of the alteration of Rousseau’s image in the last century is the alteration of interpreters’ hermeneutic horizons in different times. As the process of understanding his political writings evolved through the last century in China, these texts constantly generates new fusions of the horizon of the author with the horizons of the interpreters.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.titleThe Chinese reception of Rousseau's political philosophy in the 20th century-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5153708-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplinePhilosophy-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5153708-

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