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  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: March 2008

3 - European philosophical responses to non-European culture: China

from I - The context of seventeenth-century philosophy
Most seventeenth-century European thinkers who showed a strong interest in non-European philosophy believed in the universal basis of knowledge. No nation challenged the Jesuits as much as China. No philosophy dominated the Chinese imperial court and the scholar-officials more than Confucianism. Europeans of the seventeenth century tended to associate Chinese philosophy with Confucianism. The first important work to introduce Confucianism to Europeans, De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas, appeared in 1615. In the seventeenth-century biblical view of human history, all mankind, except for Noah's descendants, had been destroyed at the time of the Flood. No endeavour more fully reflects the philosophical outlook of seventeenth-century Europe than its search for a universal language. Many Europeans believed that God had given Adam a pure, exact, and utterly simple language which was called the lingua Adamica, lingua humana, or the Primitive Language; and that originally all humans spoke this Primitive Language.
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The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Philosophy
  • Online ISBN: 9781139055451
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Leibniz, , ‘Das Geheimnis der Schöpfung, Neujahrsbrief an der Herzog Rudolph August von Branuschweig-Lüneburg-Wolfenbüttel’ in Leibniz, 1968.
Malebranche, Nicolas, Entretien d'un philosophe chrétien et d'un philosophe chinois sur l'existence et la nature de Dieu (1708).