27 March 2020

BOOK: Martin HOFMAN, Joachim KURTZ & Ari Daniel LEVINE (eds.), Powerful Arguments. Standards of Validity in Late Imperial China [Sinica Leidensa; 146] (Leiden/Boston: Martinus Nijhoff/Brill, 2020), ISBN 978-90-04-42362-6, € 149

(image source: Brill)

Book abstract:
The essays in Powerful Arguments reconstruct the standards of validity underlying argumentative practices in a wide array of late imperial Chinese discourses, from the Song through the Qing dynasties. The fourteen case studies analyze concrete arguments defended or contested in areas ranging from historiography, philosophy, law, and religion to natural studies, literature, and the civil examination system. By examining uses of evidence, habits of inference, and the criteria by which some arguments were judged to be more persuasive than others, the contributions recreate distinct cultures of reasoning. Together, they lay the foundations for a history of argumentative practice in one of the richest scholarly traditions outside of Europe and add a chapter to the as yet elusive global history of rationality.

On the editors:
Martin Hofmann, Ph.D. (2007) is Assistant Professor for East Asian Intellectual History at Heidelberg University’s Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies. He has mainly published on historical cartography, practices of argumentation, and the text-image relation in late imperial China. Joachim Kurtz, Ph.D. (2003), is Professor of Intellectual History at Heidelberg University. He is the author of The Discovery of Chinese Logic (Brill, 2011), and has published widely on circulations of knowledge between China and Europe. Ari Daniel Levine, Ph.D (2002) is Associate Professor of History at the University of Georgia. The author of Divided by a Common Language (University of Hawai'i Press, 2008), he is currently the Editor of the Journal of Song-Yuan Studies.

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