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Abhinavagupta. Abhinavabhāratī
2006, In M.M. Ghosh (ed.) Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharatamuni: Text, Commentary of Abhinava Bharati by Abhinavaguptacarya and English Translation.Delhi: New Bharatiya Book Corporation.
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Added by: Meilin Chinn
Summary: Abhinavagupta’s famed commentary on Bharatamuni’s treatise on drama, the Nāṭyaśāstra, in which he details aesthetic expression and experience according to a theory of rasa, or aesthetic relish. Abhinavagupta’s theory is the most influential account of how the rasas or aesthetic emotions transcend the bounds of the spectator and artwork in a three-part process including depersonalization, universalization, and identification.

Comment: This text is appropriate for an in-depth study of Indian aesthetics. It requires an at least an introductory background in Indian philosophy to be accessible.

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Adrian Piper. Philosophy En Route to Reality: A Bumpy Ride
2019, Journal of World Philosophies 4 (2):106-118
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Added by: Sara Peppe
Abstract:

My intellectual journey in philosophy proceeded along two mountainous paths that coincided at their base, but forked less than halfway up the incline. The first is that of my philosophical development, a steep but steady and continuous ascent. It began in my family, and accelerated in high school, art school, college, and graduate school. Those foundations propelled my philosophical research into the nature of rationality and its relation to the structure of the self, a long-term project focused on the Kantian and Humean metaethical traditions in Anglo-American analytic philosophy. It would have been impossible to bring this project to completion without the anchor, compass, and conceptual mapping provided by my prior, longstanding involvement in the practice and theory of Vedic philosophy. The second path is that of my professional route through the field of academic philosophy, which branched onto a rocky detour in graduate school, followed by a short but steep ascent, followed next by a much steeper, sustained descent off that road, into the ravine, down in flames, and out of the profession. In order to reach the summit of the first path, I had to reach the nadir of the second. It was the right decision. My yoga practice cushioned my landing.

Comment: Discusses Adrian Piper's philosophy journey. To be used as a basis to understand Piper's further works on Kant and Hume's metaethical traditions.

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Author(s) Unknown. Yue Ji 樂記—Record of Music: Introduction, Translation, Notes, and Commentary
1995, Asian Music 26(2): 1-96.
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Added by: Meilin Chinn
Summary: The earliest extant Chinese treatise on music. The Yue Ji presents largely Confucian ideas on the connections between music, self-cultivation, proper governance, and the realization of natural patterns. Human character is described as a musical progression with ties to the transformation of sound into a kind of music that is distinguished by its relationship to virtue. The exact identity of the author(s) is debated, and it is believed to have been compiled from various sources no later than the middle of the Western Han dynasty (206BCE-24CE).

Comment: This text is appropriate for an aesthetics (especially philosophy of music) and/or Chinese philosophy course. It is best accessed by a reader with a basic understanding of early Chinese philosophy (especially Confucianism).

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Chakrabarti, Arindam. Ownerless Emotions in Rasa-Aesthetics
2011, In Ken-ichi Sasaki (ed.). Asian Aesthetics. National Univeristy of Singapore Press.
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Added by: Meilin Chinn
Summary: Chakrabarti explores the possibilities of rasa theory via the question of whose emotion is experienced when an audience relishes a work of art. Chakrabarti argues for the existence of a “centerless non-singular subjectivity” according to which the special emotions savored in aesthetic experience do not have specific owners. These personless sentiments indicate an ethical relationship between aesthetic imagination and moral unselfishness.

Comment: This text could serve as both an overview of rasa theory in Indian aesthetics, as a basis for comparative work in cross-cultural aesthetics, as well as comparative philosophy.

Related reading:

  • Abhinavabhāratī. Abhinavagupta. In Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharatamuni: Text, Commentary of Abhinava Bharati by Abhinavaguptacarya and English Translation. M.M. Ghosh (ed.). Delhi: New Bharatiya Book Corporation, 2006.
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Chari, V.K.. Validity in Interpretation: Some Indian Views
1978, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 36(3): 329-340.
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Added by: Meilin Chinn
Summary: An outline of the theory of interpretation within the language philosophies of ancient India. Chari organizes this extensive history according to topics such as verbal autonomy, intention, unity of meaning, polysemy, contextualism, and interpretation.

Comment: This text is appropriate for discussions of language and meaning in aesthetics, as well as philosophy of language.

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Chong, Kim-Chong. The Concept of Zhen 真 in the Zhuangzi
2011, Philosophy East and West 61(2): 324-346.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Ian James Kidd
Abstract: The term zhen in the Zhuangzi is commonly associated with the zhen ren or the "true person," who is described, for example, as capable of going through fire and water unharmed. Some scholars take this as typifying a mystical element in the Zhuangzi. This essay investigates the various meanings and uses of zhen in the Zhuangzi and reaches a broader understanding of the zhen ren in various contexts.

Comment: Excellent on the concept of 'zhen' (authenticity, naturalness) in Daoism. Long but clearly written. Very useful for explaining the character of Daoist ethics.

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Chung-Yuan Chang. Immeasurable potentialities of creativity
2011, In Chung-Yuan Chang (ed.). Creativity and Taoism: A Study of Chinese Philosophy, Art, and Poetry. London & Philadelphia: Singing Dragon.
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Added by: Meilin Chinn
Summary: A study of the Taoist (Daoist) concept of creativity as a non-instrumental process in which all things create themselves. Chang argues for the foundational place of this understanding of self-emergent creativity in the aesthetics of Chinese art.

Comment: Can be used as both an introduction to Daoism and to Chinese aesthetics.

Related reading:

  • Laozi, Tao Te Ching. D. C. Lau, trans. New York: Addison Wesley, 2000.
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Coomaraswamy, Ananda K.. Samvega, ‘Aesthetic Shock’
1943, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 7(3): 174-179.
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Added by: Meilin Chinn
Summary: An explication of the Pali aesthetic term samvega as the state of shock and wonder at a work of art that occurs when the implications of its aesthetic qualities are experienced. Despite being an emotion, Coomaraswamy associates samvega with disinterested aesthetic contemplation.

Comment: This text would work well in a focused study of Indian aesthetics, as well in a cross-cultural study of disinterest in aesthetics.

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Dehejia, Harsha V., Makarand Paranjape (eds.). Saundarya: The Perception and Practice of Beauty in India.
2003, Samvad India Foundation.
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Added by: Meilin Chinn
Publisher's Note: A peculiar feature of the classical aesthetic thought in India has been the emphasis on the art experience as a special state of being, defined not so much by saundarya or beauty as by ananda or beatitude. Yet, saundarya has been a crucial ingredient in the aesthetic experience, prevalent not only in traditional art objects but also in articles of daily life. The discourse of saundarya, as distinct from its experience, was however conducted by or on behalf of the cultivated aesthete and was carried out within the ambit of classical thought. In contrast, modernity, understood not merely as modernisation but as a departure from traditional modes of thinking and behavior, has opened new vistas of human experience and creativity, some of them in total opposition to traditional aesthetic norms. But even as modernity opens new discourses and initiates fresh debates on saundarya, we are reminded that the experience of beauty is a primal need, not easily overcome or substituted by another Can a renewed quest for an understanding the perception and practice of saundarya in India ensure that it is not relegated to the status of an archaic relic or curio, but restored as one of the bindus or foci of our lives?This volume, perhaps the first of its kind, is a unique contribution to the history of Indian aesthetic analysis. Its eminent contributors, ranging from aestheticians, linguistics, philosophers, historians, literary critics, art collectors, curators, performing artists, painters, and musicians of the highest calibre, are drawn from across three continents and diverse countries. Profusely illustrated, this visual and textual treat on the craft and culture of beauty in India, promises to be a collector's item.

Comment: Wide-ranging volume on the concept of beauty (saundarya) in both traditional and modern Indian aesthetics. Includes essays on the ontology, expression, politics, and embodiment of beauty. This text is appropriate for a focused course or module on Indian or Asian aesthetics in which the students have some introduction to Indian philosophy and art.

Related reading:

  • K. Krishnamoorthy, Indian Theories of Beauty. Bangalore: Indian Institute of World Culture, 1981 (Transaction No. 53).
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Eva Kit Wah Man. Issues of Contemporary Art and Aesthetics in Chinese Context
2015, Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
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Added by: Meilin Chinn
Publisher's Note: This book discusses how China’s transformations in the last century have shaped its arts and its philosophical aesthetics. For instance, how have political, economic and cultural changes shaped its aesthetic developments? Further, how have its long-standing beliefs and traditions clashed with modernizing desires and forces, and how have these changes materialized in artistic manifestations? In addition to answering these questions, this book also brings Chinese philosophical concepts on aesthetics into dialogue with those of the West, making an important contribution to the fields of art, comparative aesthetics and philosophy.

Comment: A timely discussion of the influence of the last century’s political, economic, and cultural changes in China upon its philosophical aesthetics. Man’s book addresses a number of key neglected topics of comparative aesthetics between China and the West, contemporary aesthetics and art in Hong Kong, the relation of gender and art in the politics of identity, and the role of tradition in new creative practices. Chapter 4 introduces the leaders of the major schools of aesthetics in new China, including Li Zehou. This text is best used in a comparative aesthetics context, especially in discussions of contemporary aesthetic mediums.

Related reading:

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Hsi K'ang. Music Has Neither Grief Nor Joy
1983, In Philosophy and Argumentation in Third-Century China. Princeton: Princeton University Press
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Added by: Meilin Chinn
Summary: The controversial essay in which Xi Kang offered a distinct counterargument to the orthodox Confucian view that music contains and transfers emotions between musicians and listeners. Xi Kang crafts a series of arguments against the presence of emotions and images in music and contends that the widespread belief to the contrary leads to the misuse of music for political and moral agendas.

Comment: This text is best used in a course on aesthetics (especially philosophy of music) and/or Chinese philosophy. A basic understanding of Daoism is helpful.

Related reading:

  • Essay on Music. Ruan Ji. In Reed Andrew Criddle's "Rectifying Lasciviousness through Mystical Learning: An Exposition and Translation of Ruan Ji’s Essay on Music." Asian Music 38(2), 2007.
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Jiang, Tao. A buddhist scheme for engaging modern science: The case of taixu
2002, Journal of Chinese Philosophy 29(4): 533-552.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez
Summary: In this paper Tao Jiang examines Taixu's effort to revitalize Buddhism through an engagement with modern science. The main argument offered by Jiang is that a nonsubstantive view of the world is in fundamental agreement with many cutting-edge scientific theories and, therefore, Buddhism can indeed offer a new perspective in the debate between the practices of modern science and their social critics.

Comment: Good introductory paper to Chinese philosophy of science. The topic is highly specific and specialised, making this paper useful in postgraduate courses or, as the itself poses no difficulty of comprehension for more junior students, in specialised undergraduate classes.

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Keiji, Nishitani, Graham Parkes, Setsuko Aihara. The Self-Overcoming of Nihilism
1990, SUNY Press
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, Contributed by: Quentin Pharr
Publisher’s Note: In May of this year I had the opportunity to give several talks on the topic of nihilism. Initially I intended to focus on the three themes of Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, and Buddhism. When I was twenty, the fig­ures of Nietzsche and Dostoevsky burned a lasting impression deep into my soul-as I suppose they may still do to many young people even today-and the tremors I experienced at that time have con­tinued to make my heart tremble ever since. The final theme, of Buddhist "emptiness," came to capture my interest more gradu­ally. The connections among these three topics are not merely arbi­trary or external. The nihilism that Dostoevsky plumbed so deeply has important connections with that of Nietzsche, as a number of critics have pointed out; and Nietzsche considers what he calls Eu­ropean nihilism to be the European form of Buddhism. Even though there may be in Nietzsche a radical misunderstanding of the spirit of Buddhism, the fact that he considered it in relation to ni­hilism shows how well attuned he was to the real issue. It was con­siderations such as these that inclined me toward these three themes in my discussion of nihilism.

Comment: This text is an excellent overview of both some of the themes within Nishitani's work as well as European conceptions of nihilism and its overcoming. In general, some appreciation of Nietzsche and aspects of Buddhism will help students navigate this book. But, it is largely expository, so it will often inform readers of what they need in the course of reading. This text will primarily be for students who are looking for an overall perspective on nihilism - especially, a Japanese one.

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Kongzi (Confucius). Analects (Selections)
2005, In: Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy (Second Edition). Edited by Philip J. Ivanhoe and Bryan W. Van Norden. Hackett.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner
Summary: Selections from the Analects of Kongzi (Confucius), a foundational text in Chinese philosophy. It is split into twenty books recounting things that the Master (Kongzi) and his disciples said and did. Much of the rest of Chinese philosophy owes a debt, more or less explicit, to this work. Kongzi seeks the cultivation of virtue through ritual, so that worthy persons will occupy positions of power and influence. Society will thereby return to some of the splendor of the bygone ages of the legendary Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors, as well as the more recent Xia, Shang, and Western Zhou dynasties.

Comment: The selections are best read in their entirety, as the work is holistic and difficult to interpret piecemeal. (So reading the whole text is better still!) It's helpful to stress Kongzi's particularism, as this makes sense of seemingly contradictory pronouncements he makes in different contexts. But if you're looking to incorporate some Classical Chinese philosophy in a course without space for the whole thing, the selections from Book One include many key Confucian themes: ritual, the ideal of a junzi or gentleman, virtue, filial piety, and the appeal to tradition. Either way, it's probably wise to give students some historical context to help understand the appeal of harking back to older traditions.

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Kuki Shūzō. The Structure of Iki
2004, In Hiroshi Nara (ed.). The Structure of Detachment: The Aesthetic Vision of Kuki Sh?z?. Univeristy of Hawai'i Press.
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Added by: Meilin Chinn
Summary: One of the most important and creative works in modern Japanese aesthetics. Kuki develops a description of a uniquely Japanese sense of taste (iki) that brings together characteristics of the geisha, samurai, and Buddhist priest.

Comment: Best used by a reader with at least an introductory knowledge of Japanese aesthetics. Could be used comparatively with work on disinterest in western Aesthetics, e.g., Kant.

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