Congratulations to Qiu Lin, winner of this year's Aristotle Prize awarded by the Metaphysical Society of America for her paper on the philosophy of Wang Daiyu.
Wang Daiyu 王岱舆 (1570-1660) on the Non-Ultimate (wuji 无极)
and the Great-Ultimate (taiji 太极):
an Islamic Makeover
Scholars have written much about the Catholic missionary Matteo Ricci (1552–1610) and his attempts to make Christianity and Confucianism palatable to each other. Yet, although Muslim communities have a long-established presence in China, we know little about the philosophical system that blended Islam and Confucianism in the heart-minds of Chinese Muslims. A careful search into the history of Chinese philosophy reveals a rich, fascinating, but hitherto understudied philosophical tradition indigenous to China, the Han-Kitab 汉克塔布 (a Chinese-Arabic compound literally meaning “the Chinese books”). In this groundbreaking project, I set out to investigate the creationist theory developed by Wang Daiyu, the earliest and one of the most influential figures in the Han-Kitab. My central undertaking is to provide a systematic analysis of Wang’s appropriation of two neo-Confucian concepts to articulate a creationist account of the origin of being: the Non-Ultimate (wuji 无极 ) and the Great-Ultimate (taiji 太极) . My analysis shows these two Ultimates in Wang’s system are quite different in nature from their neo-Confucian counterparts. Deeply influenced by Sufism, Wang embeds the two Ultimates within an emanativist ontology, thereby offering a distinct model of the Ultimates from neo-Confucians’. I argue that in so doing, Wang makes a hitherto underappreciated contribution to the history of Chinese metaphysics.