Reviews Barry Allen. Vanishing into Things: Knowledge in Chinese Tradition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015. viii, 289 pp. Hardcover $45.00, ISBN 978-0-674-33591-2. While the content and context of Barry Allen’s book is in Chinese philosophical approaches to knowing, this project has at its heart a Nietzschean concern. Allen’s concerns about knowledge compel the reader into his framework, mapping out a route for the rest of the book: Epistemology may be passé, but the philosophy of knowledge has never confronted more interesting questions. What is the value of knowledge, if not truth? What is the value of truth, if not adequation or correspondence? What is the relationship between knowledge and technical accomplishment? What is the relationship between knowledge and wisdom? What makes technical, technological knowledge wise? (p. 6) The prompt is Western (or as he calls it “post-Western”), but the inspiration for the solution is thoroughly grounded in a journey through Chinese intellectual traditions. The focusing thesis of the book is to identify a better account of knowledge, one not focused on theoretical truth, but instead on a knowledge that disappears into a world of particulars, or as the title phrases it, a knowledge that “vanishes into things.” Allen’s
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Dec 12, 2019
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