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  • Katherine Brading

Congratulations to Qiu Lin for her prize-winning paper

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.

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