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Volume 56 Issue 3
March 2024
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Citation: ZHANG Lingyan. Hu Shi:An “Actual yet Unentitled” Explorer in Modern Chinese Hermeneutics[J]. Academic Monthly, 2024, 56(3): 165-173. shu

Hu Shi:An “Actual yet Unentitled” Explorer in Modern Chinese Hermeneutics

  • Hu Shi is a pioneering figure in modern Chinese intellectual history.His academic practices in the fields of history of philosophy,classical vernacular novels and history of Chan Buddhism have provided us with certain key ideas and methods that are still valuable and popular today,such as the critical attitude and scientific methods.These ideas and methods have been continually adopted by scholars to varied degrees,either obviously or in a hidden way.Nonetheless,there has not been adequate reflection in the academic field on his awareness of the importance of methods as well as on the nature of his methodology.This article attempts to reveal that there is a strong “hermeneutical” spirit in “the critical attitude and scientific methods” that Hu Shi advocates for and sticks to throughout his academic career.However,due to the fact that hermeneutics as a branch of philosophy was introduced and taken in China after the age of Hu Shi,the contribution that he made to modern Chinese hermeneutics as an explorer and pioneer has not been adequately noticed.If not for Hu Shi,Chinese scholarship would have lingered for a longer period along the traditional path,taking such forms as commentaries and sub-commentaries to classics,records of Q&A and Qing-styled textual studies,and thus the occurrence of modern transformation of scholarship would have been delayed.In this sense,Hu Shi is an actual yet unentitled modern scholar of hermeneutics,which can be shown in his awareness when entering the scholarship,his dialectical way of writing and his reflection on methodology,all of which have been followed by Chinese scholars up to now.
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        Hu Shi:An “Actual yet Unentitled” Explorer in Modern Chinese Hermeneutics

        Abstract: Hu Shi is a pioneering figure in modern Chinese intellectual history.His academic practices in the fields of history of philosophy,classical vernacular novels and history of Chan Buddhism have provided us with certain key ideas and methods that are still valuable and popular today,such as the critical attitude and scientific methods.These ideas and methods have been continually adopted by scholars to varied degrees,either obviously or in a hidden way.Nonetheless,there has not been adequate reflection in the academic field on his awareness of the importance of methods as well as on the nature of his methodology.This article attempts to reveal that there is a strong “hermeneutical” spirit in “the critical attitude and scientific methods” that Hu Shi advocates for and sticks to throughout his academic career.However,due to the fact that hermeneutics as a branch of philosophy was introduced and taken in China after the age of Hu Shi,the contribution that he made to modern Chinese hermeneutics as an explorer and pioneer has not been adequately noticed.If not for Hu Shi,Chinese scholarship would have lingered for a longer period along the traditional path,taking such forms as commentaries and sub-commentaries to classics,records of Q&A and Qing-styled textual studies,and thus the occurrence of modern transformation of scholarship would have been delayed.In this sense,Hu Shi is an actual yet unentitled modern scholar of hermeneutics,which can be shown in his awareness when entering the scholarship,his dialectical way of writing and his reflection on methodology,all of which have been followed by Chinese scholars up to now.

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