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Thread: The Book of Changes Is a Book of Divination, Not Philosophy

  1. #21
    bruce_g Guest

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    Luis, thanks for posting the broader definitions.

    The longer I'm in the Yi, the less philosophically orthodox I perceive it. But that just amounts to constructing my own philosophy about it and from it. It's the old three blindfolded people defining the elephant trick, me thinks.

  2. #22
    bruce_g Guest

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    I mean, if you take it back to it's source, before duality of yin/yang or up and down, or black and white, it all goes back to the same unexplainable void, from which all else arises and withdraws.

    But that's just my philosophy.

  3. #23
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    That's only one of em.

    psychology |sīˈkäləjē|
    noun the scientific study of the human mind and its functions,
    esp. those affecting behavior in a given context.
    [in sing. ] the mental and emotional factors governing a situation or activity

  4. #24
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    I somehow find the dictionary entry Sparhawk posted from Webster's not particularly clear, and perhaps even ambiguous. What Sparhawk finds applicable is exceptionally broad, stretching the meanings of the word a lot.
    Dictionary.com's Unabridged works better for me:
    1. the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.
    2. any of the three branches, namely natural philosophy, moral philosophy, and metaphysical philosophy, that are accepted as composing this study.
    3. a system of philosophical doctrine: the philosophy of Spinoza.
    4. the critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a particular branch of knowledge, esp. with a view to improving or reconstituting them: the philosophy of science.
    5. a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs.
    6. a philosophical attitude, as one of composure and calm in the presence of troubles or annoyances.
    1, 2 and 4 are about philosophy as a branch of science, the Yi obviously isn't.
    Being philosophical, as in 6, is also something different.
    While it may seem that the Yi is like 5, it isn't. 5 is about the use as in "His philosophy was not to interfere," "He has an unusual philosophy of life," "Self-indulgence was his only philosophy," "My father's philosophy of child-rearing was to let mother do it." This is a different use of the word.

    The question is really whether the Yi is a philosophy as in 3.
    The Zhouyi isn't, some of the wings are.

  5. #25
    bruce_g Guest

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    With 1, 2 and 4 you get egg roll.

    I find your reasoning most unreasonable. How can anyone who has spent considerable time in the Yijing even suggest that it is not a rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct? Is not a natural (nature based) philosophy? Is not a critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a particular branch of knowledge, esp. with a view to improving or reconstituting them? To me, that is precisely what the Yijing is.

  6. #26
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    Well, Bruce, that's because as a translator of the Yi and other works, I'm very precise about what words really mean. I guard against stretching the meanings of words to fit with what I like to see.

  7. #27
    bruce_g Guest

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    What "precise" word or words would you use to describe the Yijing?

  8. #28
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    You seem to be asking me to repeat something I already said, Bruce.
    Quote Originally Posted by ewald View Post
    It maps situations and the intent in them, and relates these to how we psychologically deal with that.
    While the autors of the Zhouyi were likely to have a philosophy from which they composed the text, or one might even derive a philosophy from studying the Zhouyi, that doesn't make the Zhouyi in itself a philosophical work.

    That the authors of the Zhouyi did a "rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct" to base the text on, doesn't in itself make the Zhouyi a philosophical work.

    "...critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a particular branch of knowledge" relates to a field called philosophy of science. Popper is the most well-known author here.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewald View Post
    I somehow find the dictionary entry Sparhawk posted from Webster's not particularly clear, and perhaps even ambiguous. What Sparhawk finds applicable is exceptionally broad, stretching the meanings of the word a lot.
    Dictionary.com's Unabridged works better for me:
    So, let me see if I understand this right: you pick and choose dictionaries to fit your concept of the words? And in doing this you prefer a dictionary that's been around, on the Net, since 1996 as opposed to an online version of a dictionary that's been on shelves since 1841? I grant you, the bastards use "z" instead of "s" and paraphrasing John Cleese of "Monty Python": "The letter 'U' should be reinstated in words such as 'colour', 'favour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise." You will learn that the suffix 'burgh' is pronounced 'burra'; you may elect to respell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if you find you simply can't cope with correct pronunciation." The dictionaries, per se, are not dubious, but the practice of selecting those that resonate with our views, just to make a point, it is. When I selected the definition of M-W is because it is a Firefox tool. I use it all the time, by default, for everything; not because I like its definitions better than those of other dictionaries...

    And what I find applicable is the precise definition of the word, in all its meanings; that's why the definitions are in the dictionary. I'm am a translator myself, and have been for almost 20 years, so, even though I understand and empathize with what you are saying about precise meanings for words, the argument doesn't fly too high.

    Going back to the Yijing, methinks we are blowing hot air only for the sake of argument and defending our entrenched opinions. I made a distinction in the third message of this thread:
    Quote Originally Posted by Sparhawk
    Well, we haven't been able to answer all the questions related to the Bible, so, who's to know what was in the minds of the writers, or compilers, of the Zhouyi, really? Nevertheless, I would refer this person to the dictionary's definition of "philosophy." Regardless of original intention, minimalist views and revisionism, the fact remains that "philosophy" has been attached to the Yijing for millennia. If Plato, in his dialogue "Timaeus", was able to attach a whole set of philosophical precepts to the five solids named after him--solids that had been known to neolithic people for at least a thousand years before the birth of Plato--, how much philosophy can one derive from a system like the Yi?
    And then this to answer Harmen's view, with whom I fully agree about making a difference between the "Zhouyi" and the "Yijing":

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparhawk
    Quote Originally Posted by HMesker
    If we look at this part, the hexagrams, I think Mun is right. Originally it does not seem to have any philosophy in it, a philosophy was attached to it in later times. But the Yijing is more than that. The Zhouyi combined with the Ten Wings makes up the Yijing, and that combination definitely contains a closed, complete philosophy.
    Yes, I agree and is what I tried to say. If commentary seniority is any indication of "philosophy", then "philosophy" has been a part of the Yi for over two thousand years. I don't care the least if the original intention of the designers of the system, some ___________ (fill-in-the-blank) thousands of years ago, was a way to figure out the timing for wars or harvests. There is enough history and commentary attached to the Yi to warrant saying that the "Yijing" is a philosophical work.
    I also liked --and said so in another message-- your view of the Yi being a "psychological" work. However, I don't think there is a dichotomy to be found here. The arguments of both, "philosophy" and "psychology", as applied to any thought system, come from the same source. Forcing an exclusionary distinction is splitting hairs, really.

    Luis
    Last edited by sparhawk; April 3rd, 2007 at 02:37 PM.

  10. #30
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    Luis, indeed, the M-W definitions of "philosophy" seemed a bit old fashioned to me. I have both M-W and Dictionary.com as a Firefox tool, and have been comparing them for a couple of years. I prefer the clarity of Dictionary.com's Unabridged. Yes, I have preferences among dictionaries. The older ones aren't necessarily the better ones, or the ones up to date with modern usage.

    It doesn't seem you noted that I have been careful to differentiate between Zhouyi and the Wings (before Harmen made a distinction between Zhouyi and Yijing, btw).

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