By François Jullien
During this hugely insightful research of Western and chinese language ideas of efficacy, Francois Jullien subtly delves into the metaphysical preconceptions of the 2 civilizations to account for diverging styles of motion in battle, politics, and international relations. even if the Western version of efficacy, inherited from the traditional Greeks' notion of motion, seeks to achieve at once a predetermined target via voluntary and assertive motion, the chinese language are inclined to assessment the facility inherent in a scenario (shi) and remodel it via nonassertiveness, hoping on the "propensity" of items in this kind of approach that the outcome occurs of itself. Jullien indicates how those Western and chinese language innovations paintings in numerous domain names (the battlefield, for instance) and analyzes ensuing acts of warfare. The chinese language strategist manipulates his personal troops and the enemy to win a conflict with out waging battle and to result in victory without difficulty. Efficacity in China is hence conceived of when it comes to transformation (as against motion) and manipulation, making it toward what's understood as efficacy within the West.
Jullien's fantastic interpretations of an array of recondite texts are key to realizing our personal conceptions of motion, time, and truth during this foray into the area of chinese language concept. In its transparent and penetrating characterization of 2 contrasting perspectives of fact from a heretofore unexplored point of view, A Treatise on Efficacy should be of important significance within the highbrow debate among East and West.
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Extra info for A Treatise on Efficacy: Between Western and Chinese Thinking
Once an end is ideally con ceived, we set about finding the means whereby that end can be made to enter the realm of fact (fully accepting the presumable element of intrusion, however arbitrary and forced). Or, to put it the other way around, what we under stand by a plan, in the sense of a plan of action, is an elab orated project involving a sequence of operations that constitute mean, designed to attain a particular goal. Means-end: at one end, and already more or less to hand, a wide range of resources in the shape of tools and markers; at the other end, far away on the horizon, some thing that is at once an end and a goal (telos), to which we unswervingly march, with our eyes fixed upon it.
Let us return, from this standpoint, to the matter of our own theoretical preconceptions. The "prudent" man introduced by Aristotle to mediate between theory and practice is defined as someone capable of "deliberating" on means with a view to achieving a given end. How does Aristotle conceive of that deliberation? He takes as his model the construction of mathematical figures. You start from the constructed figure and work back, through a regressive analysis of the sequence of necessary operations 33 More on the divergence At the origin of the means�end relation� ship:"prudence;' an ability to deliberate on means 34 Treatise on Efficacy Work backward from the end achieved through the sequence of means employed (Aristotle, on geometry) Conduct and conjecture (so that the last term discovered by the analysis turns out to be the first from the point of view of the genesis of that sequence).
2 Begin by evaluating the situation According to the ancient treatises, the key to Chinese strat egy is to rely on the inherent potential of the situation and to be carried along by it as it evolves. Right from the start, this rules out any idea of predetermining the course of events in accordance with a more or less definitive plan worked out in advance as an ideal to be realized. ) A Chinese general, for his part, is careful not to impose upon the course of events any notion of his own of how things ought to be, since it is from the very evolu tion of the situation, which follows the course that it is logically bound to take, that he intends to profit.
A Treatise on Efficacy: Between Western and Chinese Thinking by François Jullien