One of the hopeful signs in these otherwise hectic times in which we are living is the long-overdue realization of the need for mutual understanding between the peples of the East and those of the West. Genuine understanding of poeple who are separated form us by great distances or who differ from us in language, in way of life, in social custom, is difficult to achieve, even for those who are sincerely dedicated to this task. This source Book is devoted to the purpose of providing such a basis for genuine understanding of Chinese thought (and thereby of Chinese life and culture, since the relationship between the two is probably more pronounced in China than in any other country). It brings to English speaking Westerners the basic materials for serious work in Chinese philosophy, which in its profundity and its long historical development is probably less adequately understood than that of any other great civilization in the world today. By virtue of misguided selection of only ancient texts, or popular texts, or texts which are primarily literary rather than technical, the Chinese philosophical tradition has been distorted out of all proportions. The Western philosopher, if he would be a true philosopher in considering all the experiences, insights, and systematic intellectual speculation of mankind as data for his comprehensive philosophical thinking, can no longer remain blind to the important insights of the great Chinese minds of history. The Chinese philosophers have much to contribute in many areas of the broad quest for truth, and it is high time that we in the West overocome our basic ignorance of this field, or at least attempt to correct the limited and possibly distorted interpretations that we now have. This Source Book is an excellent tool to start doing that.
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