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tokyo_girl

losing the mandate of heaven & european philosophy.

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tokyo_girl

Yesterday I went to a "Renaissance to Rococo" exhibition in Tokyo with a Chinese friend. She was talking about how there is a perception among some people (Japanese?) that Chinese are more like Americans than Asian. ( a bit of a shallow analysis that begs clarification...).

I mentioned to her that having lived in both places I find it easier to understand Chinese people than I do Japanese.(music to her ears). I lived in China (12 years ago for a year and I know things have changed) and rationalized it somewhat on the basis of China having imbued Marxist mantras of science and progress and revolutionary change to improve society. Japan doesn't really have the same sense of this as China.

Talking some more I took off my parochial glasses and began to wonder whether there is any evidence for the Chinese concept of a loss of a mandate of heaven influencing European philosophy.

School books sometimes compare divine right with the mandate of heaven - to show strong centralized / authoritarian power, but I have never seen the enlightenment eg Locke & the consent of the governed, compared with losing the mandate of heaven.

Any thoughts?

I'll be away from internet access & will not be able to respond to any replies. Very curious to hear perspectives.

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gato
whether there is any evidence for the Chinese concept of a loss of a mandate of heaven influencing European philosophy.

Can you clarify? Are you asking whether Confucian idea of the emperor's mandate influenced Locke or Thomas Jefferson?

I'll be away from internet access & will not be able to respond to any replies. Very curious to hear perspectives.

Ok. Will wait patiently.

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tokyo_girl

Leaving tomorrow. :) Thanks for your reply.

Yes. But the emphasis being on the loss of the mandate of heaven.

I have never read anything that connected the two at all.

There was obviously a lot of material and aesthetic influence.

(The book Vermeer's Hat is a wonderful exploration of the influence of global trade in Europe.)

There were a lot of Jesuit writings coming out of China, and no doubt others as well. I don't know if Ricci or anyone else ever examined the loss of the mandate of heaven, and if the did, did it influence European philosophical thinking at all.

The knee jerk reaction to this would probably be an incredulous no, but I am curious.

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gato

Pretty unlikely as Locke and Jefferson were inspired by Rousseau's idea of a social contract between the government and the people, and that individuals came first, then the government, and the government exists for the benefit of the governed, not the other way around. This might be thought of as bottom-up theory of government (dare we call it "democracy"?).

Mandate of heaven still seems to be top-down.

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tokyo_girl

Mandate of heaven still seems to be top-down.

Interesting way to look at it. That's true, the mandate is from heaven, and heaven down is definitely top down. But I 've always take it as being a legitimization for popular action / social change - which could be grass roots, at least to some extent. I'm not saying that China pre-dated western democracy - at all. But Rousseau did have some knowledge of China - Locke I don't know - maybe not. But the concept of rulers losing the right to rule if they rule badly seems very close to Enlightenment thinking.

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tokyo_girl

Thanks!

I am back.

Just wondering if anyone has further thoughts on whether the concept of losing the mandate of heaven had any influence on European philosophers.

Edited by tokyo_girl

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