Research Project


Two Patterns of Cyclical View of History

Prof. Dr. Yangming An

The proposed book project which I propose to work on while at the Friederich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg deals with two, closely-related themes. First, there exist two patterns of the cyclical view of history that are represented, respectively, by the Indo-Hellenic and Chinese traditions. The former may be characterized by Collingwood's term "uniform rotation," while the latter by a term I have tentatively coined the "chain of continuous links." Second, the formation of the Chinese cyclical view, as observed at the end of pre-modern times, results from a long historical development. Its major contributors include the Pre-Qin philosophers, Dong Zhongshu (c 179-c 104 B.C.E) and Sima Qian (c 145-c 90 B.C.E) in the Han dynasty, as well as the Neo-Confucian philosophers during the Song and Ming dynasties. In addition, the project examines the process of the secularization of the Judeo-Christian view of history, and its relationship with the modern notion of progress.

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