Wang Wen-Sheng, National Chengchi University Taipei

“Religious Philosophy” or “Philosophical Religion”
A Comparison between Chinese and Western Philosophy via Hannah Arendt’s Reflection on Image- and Metaphor-Language

Hannah Arendt reassesses what thinking in general is considered to be. She criticizes the two-world view of Western traditional metaphysics, asserting that appearance and being are the same. She emphasizes that thinking is not only about the world, but also appears in the world. How thinking appears is through language. Language is the self-presentation of thinking. A thinker is not merely “for the world”, but also “of this world”. There are different customs of self-presentation of thinking, resulting in different forms of language. Chinese thinking is concretized in its language, which mostly consists of the image forms of words. Western thinking appears in the form of metaphor language, which begins in the empirical world and constitutes its reality within this world by way of “common sense” (sensus communis). Western thinking is abstract and speculative, but is related to reality. Via Arendt’s reflection of the different form of language, this paper presents a comparison between Chinese and Western philosophy. It consists of Arendt’s idea of Western thinking and philosophy and her understanding of Chinese philosophy. This paper further explains the concepts of “philosophical religion” and “religious philosophy”.

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