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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 194–212 | Cite as

A differentiation of the meaning of “qi” on several levels

  • Cunshan Li
Research Article
  • 29 Downloads

Abstract

In Chinese philosophy, although the concept of “qi” has numerous meanings, it is not completely without order or chaotic. Generally speaking, “qi” has several different levels of meanings, such as in philosophy, physics, physiology, psychology, ethics, and so on. On the philosophical level, “qi” is similar to “air,” and it is essentially similar to the “matter-energy” or “field” in physics, which refers to the origin or an element of all things in the world. It is from this point that the meanings of “qi” in physiology, psychology, ethics as well as aesthetics are derived. This paper analyzes the meanings of “qi” on five levels and seeks to clarify misunderstandings about “qi,” such as its alleged pan-vitalistic, conscious and pan-ethical characters.

Keywords

Chinese philosophy qi several levels of meaning 

摘要

中国哲学的 “气” 概念虽然含义极广, 拢卢但并非毫无条理的混沌。 大致说来, “气” 概念有物理、 生理、 心理、 伦理、 哲理等几个层次的含义。 哲理意义的 “气” 是指作为世界万物之本原或元素的 “气”, 它可以化生万物, 其本身与物理意义的 “气” 相通, 而生理、 心理、 伦理乃至文论、 美学等意义的 “气” 都由此衍生而来。 这种分析有助于澄清对 “气” 概念的 “泛生命性”、 “有知觉” 和 “泛伦理性” 等的误解。

关键词

中国哲学 气 意义的几个层次 

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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PhilosophyChinese Academy of Social SciencesBeijingChina

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