A Short History of Chinese Philosophy《中国哲学简史》打通了古今中外的相关知识，以宏观开阔的视野对中国哲学进行了深入浅出、融会贯通的讲解；在有限的篇幅里融入了冯友兰对中国哲学的理解，是史与思的结晶，充满了人生的睿智与哲人的洞见，寄托着对现实的人文关怀。
Responsible for reintroduing the study of Chinese philosophy in the 20th century,Feng Yu-lan is considered the father of Neo-Confucianism. He studied at Columbia University and taught at Quinghua University and Peking University. He died in 1990.
To the Westerner, who sees that the life of the Chinese people is permeated with Confucianism, it appears that Confucianism is a religion. As a matter of fact, however, Confucianism is no more a religion than, say, Platonism or Aristotelianism. It is true that the Four Books have been the Bible of the Chinese people, but in the Four Books there is no story of creation, and no mention of a heaven or hell.
Of course, the terms philosophy and religion are both ambiguous. Philosophy and religion may have entirely different meanings for differentpeople. When men talk about philosophy or religion, they may have quite different ideas in their minds concerning them. For my part, what I call philosophy is systematic, reflective thinking on life. Ever3’ man, who has not yet died, is in life. But there are not many who think reflectively on life, and still fewer whose reflective thinking is systematic. A philosopher must philosophize; that is to say, he must think reflectively on life, and then express his thoughts systematically.
This kind of thinking is called reflective because it takes life as its object. The theory of life, the theory of the universe, and the theory of knowledge all emerge from this type of thinking. The theory of the universe arises because the universe is the background of life—the stage on which the drama of life takes place. The theory of knowledge emerges because thinking is itself knowledge. According to some philosophers of the West, in order to think, we must first find out what we can think; that is to say, before we start to think about life, we must first “think our thinking.”
Such theories are all the products of reflective thinking. The very concept of life, the very concept of the universe, and the very concept of knowledge are also the products of reflective thinking. No matter whether we think about life or whether we talk about it, we are all in the midst of it. And no matter whether we think or speak about the universe, we are all a part of it. Now, what the philosophers call the universe is not the same as what the physicists have in mind when they refer to it. What the philosophers call the universe is the totality of all that is. It is equivalent to what the ancient Chinese philosopher, Hui Shih, called “The Great One,” which is defined as “that which has nothing beyond.” So everyone and everything must be considered part of the universe. When one thinks about the universe, one is thinking reflectively.
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