A Stick Which may be Grabbed on Either Side: Sino-Hellenic Studies in the Mirror of Comparative Philosophy

  • Ralph WeberEmail author
Original Paper


Recently, Jeremy Tanner has published a highly informative review article in the Journal of Hellenic Studies, in which he introduces and advertises “Sino-Hellenic Studies” as a new and upcoming subfield in academic inquiry. Tanner particularly focuses on what he terms “Sino-Hellenic comparative philosophy,” while developing his perspective clearly from within contemporary Classicists’ academic parameters. In this paper, I approach the matter precisely from the other end, i.e. from within contemporary comparative philosophy, distinguishing four different approaches in comparative philosophy, pointing out some pitfalls in comparison and offering a perhaps provocative conclusion by provincializing and politicizing “Sino-Hellenic Studies”. The paper not only seeks to supplement Tanner’s review, but also and more importantly to introduce some fundamental methodological problems to be dealt with in any comparative inquiry.


Sino-Hellenic Studies Comparative philosophy Pitfalls of comparison Jeremy Tanner 



An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Pacific Meeting of the American Philosophical Association in Seattle, 2012, and has profited from comments and criticism received from co-panelists and the audience. Particularly, I should like to thank Lisa Raphals, Loy Hui-chieh, and Wolfgang Behr. I am also much indebted to two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments and mindful warnings where my argument proved less solid than my rhetoric suggested.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University Research Priority Program “Asia and Europe”University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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