Volume 3.1 (Spring 2019)
How are we to inherit? What are we to inherit? And to what purpose?—such are the questions that must be asked with particular urgency in China, a country that both inherits a civilization several millennia old and is slated to become the next dominant world power.
In the midst of all this displacement, a story of knowledge production was unfolding in the burning city. As displaced residents looked to escape the city’s wreckage for safety, readers around the world were transfixed by the faraway horror in San Francisco. This onslaught of public attention gave writers and intellectuals in the region virtually open access to the national press. Some writers looked back, to what was lost; others looked ahead, full of ideas for the rebuilding process.
Of all the ancient philosophical and political texts that characterize the Western classics, Plato’s Republic stands at the forefront. Its topic, broadly speaking, is the nature of the ideal city-state, whose outline emerges as the outcome of a dialogue between Socrates and several Athenian and non-Athenian interlocutors. This ideal city-state depends (for Socrates) on a correct understanding and application of justice, which will provide the basis for all the subsequent arguments. But before Socrates launches into the description of the ideal and just citystate, he takes a fateful step: he asserts that whatever justice is in the individual, so it is too in the city-state.
Once restricted to the privacy of the doctor’s office, ultrasound images of the fetus are now immediately recognizable in the public arena. They are commonplace in advertising and social media, from provocative antichoice billboards featuring fetal imagery to Facebook posts tagged “baby’s first pic.” These depictions of the fetus in utero have become iconic and are arguably the most easily recognized medical image. How and why did this happen? And at what price and to what end?
Stuart M. McManus. Imperial History without Provincial Loyalty? Reading Roman History in Renaissance Japan
Sitting in the walled city of Manila in the last decade of the sixteenth century, an anonymous, probably Mexican-born Spaniard looked at the city’s growing Japanese population and saw the Romans: "These Japanese are by nature spirited and fearless. They have something of that ancient ferocity of the Romans, who in their valor would take their own lives before falling into the hands of their enemies. But in this, the Japanese surpass the Romans because they not only consider it dishonorable to die at the hands of their enemies, but they also consider it an indignity to die in any manner that is not killing themselves with their own hands."
Joseph Needham, renowned sinologist, is famous for a question he once posed, now bearing his name: Why didn’t modern science develop in Asia, above all China, but possibly India or Islamic culture?1 Needham never found an answer that satisfied him. Neither, if a single solution be wanted, has any of the many other attempts to address the issue.
Most adherents of the world’s religions claim that their traditions place a premium on virtues like love, compassion, and forgiveness, and that the state toward which they aim is one of universal peace. History has shown us, however, that religious traditions are human affairs, and that no matter how noble they may be in their aspirations, they display a full range of both human virtues and human failings. While few sophisticated observers are shocked, then, by the occurrence of religious violence, there is one notable exception in this regard; there remains a persistent and widespread belief that Buddhist societies really are peaceful and harmonious.