The introduction addresses two methodological preliminaries: the book's approach to comparative philosophy, called “rooted global philosophy”; and the scope of the “Neo-Confucian” tradition—in particular, why the book draws simultaneously on two thinkers often thought of as great rivals, Zhu Xi (1130–1200) and Wang Yangming (1472–1529). Rooted global philosophy means to creatively develop a particular philosophical tradition in open dialogue with other traditions from around the globe. The roots of the book's project are in Neo-Confucianism, and careful, contextualized, historical understandings of that tradition are critical to the book. But the book's project is to treat Neo-Confucianism as a live tradition and to develop these ideas in dialogue with contemporary thinkers. With regard to the scope of “Neo-Confucianism,” the book considers a variety of controversies about how to define the limits of Neo-Confucianism and about the relations between Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming, but argues that its open stance is justified by strong continuities between them, together with a resolution on the author's part to remain vigilant for (and explicit about) important differences.
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