, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 517-538

The evolution of tianxia cosmology and its philosophical implications

Abstract

The terminology tianxia has both historical evolution and cultural and philosophical connotations. This concept not only denotes a geographical and spatial meaning, but also implies the moral construct of metaphysics. A systematic study of its historical and cultural repercussions can show that the evolution of the meaning “tianxia” not only embodies the cosmological construction, moral belief and self-identity of the Chinese nation, but also manifests the historical processes of modern China evolving from “tianxia” to a modern nation-state. Meanwhile, the deconstruction of the tianxia cosmology has shattered the old Chinese concept of a single united tianxia, or the whole world under one Heaven. Also, “Confucian China” has been increasingly losing its vitality and strong hold on the people, while the concept of nation-state has gained its way into people’s consciousness, which has added more diversity and open-mindedness to the concept of tianxia.

__________
Translated from Wenshizhe 文史哲 (Literature, History and Philosophy), 2004 (6) by Huang Deyuan