Adapting: A Chinese Philosophy of Action

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This book is the first monograph dedicated to the exploration and rigorous reconstruction of an extraordinary strategy for efficacious relational action devised by Classical Chinese philosophers, one which attempts to account for the interdependent and embedded character of human agency-what Mercedes Valmisa calls "adapting" or "adaptive agency" (yin) As opposed to more unilateral approaches to action conceptualized in the Classical Chinese corpus, such as forceful and prescriptive agency, adapting requires heightened self- and other-awareness, equanimity, flexibility, creativity, and response. These capacities allow the agent to “co-raise” courses of action ad hoc: unique and temporary solutions to specific, non-permanent, and non-generalizable life problems.
Adapting is one of the world's oldest philosophies of action, and yet it is shockingly new for contemporary audiences, who will find in it an unlikely source of inspiration to cope with our current global problems. This book explores the core conception of adapting both on autochthonous terms and by cross-cultural comparison, drawing on the European and Analytic philosophical traditions as well as on scholarship from other disciplines. Valmisa exemplifies how to build meaningful philosophical theories without treating individual books or putative authors as locations of stable intellectual positions, opening brand-new topics in Chinese and comparative philosophy.
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