Frontiers of Philosophy in China

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 22–32

Metaphysics in China and in the West: Common Origin and Later Divergence

  • Zhao Dunhua 
Research Article


There are two tendencies in the arguments of the legitimacy of metaphysics in ancient China: the tendency to argue that there was no metaphysics in ancient China and the tendency to argue that ancient Chinese metaphysics is totally different from that of the West. In this article, the author counters these tendencies and argues that Chinese and western metaphysics both originated from a dynamic cosmology and shared objects of investigation and characteristics of thinking in terms of Becoming. However, in their later development, due to the difference in the problems of their focus, traditions of “moral metaphysics” and “(natural) metaphysics of Being” were formed in China and in the West, respectively. The author also explores the reasons for the rise of modern science in the West and its lack of progress in China.


metaphysics cosmos ontology nature evolution 


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhao Dunhua 
    • 1
  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentPeking UniversityBeijingChina

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