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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 June 2018

Ya Zuo*
Bowdoin College, email:


Often termed as wenjian zhizhi 聞見之知 (knowing from hearing and seeing), sensory knowing was a prominent topic in Song (960–1279) writings. Zhang Zai 張載 (1020–1077) developed a systematic critique of sense perception in the broad context of learning. While endorsing its utility, Zhang considered this way of knowing to be partial, superficial, and prone to error. He located the source of sensory errors inside the human body, arguing that the sense organs’ vulnerability to pathological changes constituted the cause for perceptual fallibility. This line of argument had solid corroborating evidence in contemporaneous medical knowledge, a field of study Zhang was interested in pursuing. In sum, Zhang's critique demonstrated the importance of the senses and the different ways in which middle-period Chinese literati conceptualized the problem of perception in comparison with Western epistemological traditions.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

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I thank Chen Hao, Jeehee Hong, and Gil Raz for their insightful comments on previous drafts and presentations. I completed the majority of this article when I was a visiting scholar at the National Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Fudan University. During my stay I received financial support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Bowdoin College. I am grateful to all three institutions. Stephen Angle, two anonymous readers, and the editors of the journal read the manuscript thoroughly and provided invaluable suggestions. My thanks go to them all.


1 For an introduction to Zhang Zai against the background of Song learning, specifically as a representative figure leading to Zhu Xi's Neo-Confucianism, see Bol, Peter K., “Reconceptualizing the Order of Things in Northern and Southern Sung,” in The Cambridge History of China: Volume 5, Sung China, 960–1279 AD, Part 2, edited by Chaffee, John W. and Twitchett, Denis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 706–08Google Scholar.

2 For a discussion of Zhang Zai's status and contributions in the Guanzhong community, see Ong, Chang Woei, Men of Letters Within the Passes: Guanzhong Literati in Chinese History, 907–1911 (Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2008), 2175CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

3 For a book-length study of Zhang Zai's thought, see Kasoff, Ira, The Thought of Chang Tsai (1020–1077) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002)Google Scholar. For his thinking on the qi, see ibid., 36–53; Wang, Robin R. and Weixiang, Ding, “Zhang Zai's Theory of Vital Energy,” Dao Companion to Neo-Confucian Philosophy, edited by Huang, Yong (Dordrecht: Springer, 2010), 3957CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and Kim, Jung-Yeup, Zhang Zai's Philosophy of Qi: A Practical Understanding (New York: Lexington Books, 2015)Google Scholar.

4 The dichotomy remained an important topic in Neo-Confucian discourse, appearing in the writings of the Cheng brothers (Cheng Hao 程顥 (1032–1085) and Cheng Yi 程頤 (1033–1107)), Zhu Xi, and a number of scholars in the late imperial period. For a comprehensive philosophical analysis of the dichotomy, see Angle, Stephen C. and Tiwald, Justin, Neo-Confucianism: A Philosophical Introduction (Cambridge: Polity, 2017), 112–22Google Scholar. Jeeloo Liu discusses the binary under the rubric of “virtue epistemology.” See Liu, , Neo-Confucianism: Metaphysics, Mind, and Morality (Hoboken: Wiley Blackwell, 2018), 215–26Google Scholar. The meaning of the binary changed considerably from Zhang's times through the late imperial period. The current article focuses on Zhang's definition of the terms only. Angle, Tiwald, and Liu all rightly point out that while modern scholars employ “epistemology” to approximate what Zhang called “knowing” (zhi 知), a number of salient distinctions exist between Western epistemological traditions and Neo-Confucian discourse, a point this article adopts and expands.

5 Birdwhistell, Anne D. covers the same topic in her article “The Concept of Experiential Knowledge in the Thought of Chang Tsai,” Philosophy East and West 35.1 (1985), 3760CrossRefGoogle Scholar. I agree with her on a number of general observations; for instance, Zhang Zai viewed “knowing from hearing and seeing” as the inferior type of knowing for being limiting, narrow, and inaccurate. We do differ on some important readings, however. I do not consider “knowing from virtuous nature” as narrowly defined “moral knowledge,” and this interpretation leads to disparate ways of explaining the limitations of sensory knowing. A key theme in the current study—the fallibility of the senses—is a completely new interpretation based on the intersection between philosophy and medical history. Given the overlap of topic, the current study draws on a number of common primary sources, for which I provide my own translations.

6 For instance, see Allen, Barry, Vanishing into Things: Knowledge in Chinese Tradition (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015), 52CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

7 Zai, Zhang, Zhang Zai ji 張載集, Zhengmeng 正蒙 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2006), 25Google Scholar.

8 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhang Zi yulu 張子語錄, 1.313.

9 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 25.

10 The conventional English translation of xin is the “heart-mind,” which adds “mind” as a reminder to Western readers who would normally associate cognition with the mind instead of the heart. In the current paper, the xin and its cognitive activities constitute the central topic, which leaves little room for potential misunderstanding caused by Western assumptions. I thus adopt “heart” as the translation of xin to keep the diction simple and natural.

11 For Xunzi’s differentiation between “looking” and “seeing,” as well as “listening” and “hearing,” see Geaney, Jane, On the Epistemology of the Senses in Early Chinese Thought (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2002), 4244Google Scholar.

12 Xunzi, Xunzi jijie 荀子集解, compiled by Wang Xianqian 王先謙 (1841–1917), annotated by Shen Xiaohuan 沈嘯寰 and Wang Xingxian 王星賢 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1988), 15.387. Translation after Chris Fraser, see Fraser, , “Knowledge and Error in Early Chinese Thought,” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 10 (2011), 141CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For an analysis of the heart's discriminative and guiding functions in Xunzi's stipulation, see Geaney, On the Epistemology of the Senses in Early Chinese Thought, 96–97, and Fraser, “Knowledge and Error in Early Chinese Thought,” 141.

13 I thank Stephen Angle for bringing this point to my attention.

14 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 24.

15 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 20.

16 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 24.

17 One li approximated 558 meters/0.35 mile in Zhang's times. For the conversion rates, see Wu Hui 吳慧, “Song Yuan de duliangheng” 宋元的度量衡, Zhongguo shehui jingji shi yanjiu 1994.1, 18.

18 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 25.

19 “Things,” wu, was a key concept in Song thought. It stood for both objects and affairs, and the “ten thousand of things” (wanwu 萬物) encompassed the entire phenomenal world. For a general introduction to the Song uses of the concept, see Tillman, Hoyt C., “The Idea and the Reality of the ‘Things’ during the Sung: Philosophical Attitudes Towards Wu,” The Bulletin of Sung and Yuan Studies 14 (1978), 6882Google Scholar.

20 “Exhausting things” was a common locution from the ancient times through the Song, and yet scholars defined it variously. Zhang treated it as an independent procedure; as I will analyze in the main text, he acknowledged the close affinity between “exhausting things” and “fathoming patterns” and yet identified them as separate processes. Some of his peers conflated the two by using “exhausting things” as an alternative of “exhausting the patterns of things” (jin wu zhi li 盡物之理). For instance, see Yi, Cheng and Hao, Cheng, Er Cheng ji 二程集, Henan Cheng shi yishu 河南程氏遺書 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2004)Google Scholar, 15.162.

21 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Yulu, 2.333.

22 Zhang's remarks here did not stipulate the mutual relationships between the three epistemic acts in clear terms. But if we read this passage in juxtaposition with similar arguments by the Cheng brothers, it seems that the formula the Chengs presented provides the best possible reading of Zhang's passage. Specifically, the Chengs argued that “fathoming patterns” and “extending from kind to kind” together constituted the means by which one knew extensively. As they stated, “to investigate things and fathom patterns does not mean that one has to exhaust all things under Heaven. If one fathoms [the pattern of] one thing, he can extend by kind for the rest” (格物窮理,非是要盡窮天下之物,但於一事上窮盡,其它可以類推). See Cheng and Cheng, Er Cheng ji, Yishu, 15.157.

23 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 63.

24 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 10.

25 For a recent introduction of the resonance mechanism, see Wang, Robin R., Yinyang: The Way of Heaven and Earth in Chinese Thought and Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 8396CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For a summary of the exemplary definitions of correlative thinking, see Nylan, Michael, “Yin-Yang, Five Phases, and Qi,” in China's Early Empires: A Re-appraisal, edited by Michael Nylan and Michael Loewe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 410–14Google Scholar.

26 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 10.

27 Yong, Shao, Huangji jingshi shu 皇極經世書 (Zhengzhou: Zhongzhou guji chubanshe, 2006), 14.522Google Scholar. Translation after Kidder Smith and Don J. Wyatt with minor changes, see Smith and Wyatt, “Shao Yung and Number,” Smith, Kidder et al. , Song Dynasty Uses of the I Ching (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), 106Google Scholar.

28 Shao, Huangji jingshi shu, 14.522.

29 In another passage where Shao Yong reiterated the generative scheme with slightly different verbal constructions, he ended the formula with “the ten thousand things.” See Shao, Huangji jingshi shu, 14.522.

30 For a comprehensive study of this formula, including the meanings of all key concepts, see Smith and Wyatt, “Shao Yung and Number,” 105–35.

31 Zhang Zai, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 20.

32 Zhang Zai, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 20.

33 In the conceptual vocabulary of the Change, “form” was an intermediate stage between the ineffable dao and concrete “objects” (qi 器). The “Attached Verbalizations” (“Xi ci” 繫辭) famously claimed that “what is above the form is called the dao” (形而上者謂之道) and “what is below the form is called objects” (形而下者謂之器), a stipulation Zhang Zai reiterated in his commentary on the Change. See Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Hengqu yi shuo 橫渠易說, 1.206–7. Although “form” was related to the concrete shape of a particular thing, they were not ontological equivalents; in the generative scheme starting with the dao, form came prior to “things.” Zhang once claimed that “form assembles into things, and form collapses back into the origin” (形聚為物,形潰反原), a characterization revealing the intermediate status of this concept. See Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 66. There was, however, a difference between xing as a cosmological concept and xing as a plain word. The word xing did appear in other contexts denoting a concrete shape. For example, in the previously cited phrase wanwu xingse 萬物形色, xing and se followed “things” and thus must be their sensory properties.

34 See Angle and Tiwald, Neo-Confucianism, 114.

35 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Yishuo, 1.75.

36 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 22.

37 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 23.

38 For the distinctions and connections between “the nature of qi constitution” and Heavenly nature, see Wang and Ding, “Zhang Zai's Theory of Vital Energy,” 50–76. Zhang used the term “nature of qi constitution” as interchangeable with “qi constitution” (qizhi 氣質). “Nature of qi constitution” does not indicate another “nature” separate from the nature of Heaven, which was formless and came prior to the actual life of an individual. Angle and Tiwald discuss the potential misreading of the two-fold nature in the example of Zhu Xi, who inherited the terminology from Zhang Zai. I am persuaded by them that a non-literal, more accurate translation of qizhi zhi xing should be “embedded nature.” See Angle and Tiwald, Neo-Confucianism, 65–67, cited 67.

39 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 21.

40 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Yishuo, 3.218.

41 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Yishuo, 3.217.

42 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 31.

43 In Zhang's opinion, “utmost stillness and absence of resonance” (zhi jing wu gan 至靜無感) constituted “the origin of nature” (xing zhi yuanyuan 性之淵源). Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 1.7.

44 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 9. Translation after Wang and Ding, “Zhang Zai's Theory of Vital Energy,” 46.

45 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Jingxue liku 經學理窟, 275.

46 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 25.

47 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Yulu, 1.313.

48 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 24.

49 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Yulu, 1.313.

50 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 25.

51 For the date of the text, see Graham, A. C., The Book of Lieh-tzu: A Classic of Tao (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990), 1Google Scholar.

52 Liezi, Liezi jishi 列子集释, annotated by Yang Bojun 楊伯峻 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1979), 4.118–9.

53 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Zhengmeng, 20.

54 Anne Birdwhistell deduces that collective sensory knowing might be an equivalent of “the knowledge of Heaven,” by which I am not persuaded. See Birdwhistell, “The Concept of Experiential Knowledge in the Thought of Chang Tsai,” 45–47.

55 In pre-Han texts, the term “a strange thing” (wu guai 物怪) specifically designated awe-inspiring supra-human beings (often in political contexts). For this early history, see Cheng-sheng, Tu 杜正勝, “Gudai wuguai zhi yanjiu (shang): yizhong xintai shi he wenhua shi de tansuo” 古代物怪之研究(上): 一種心態史和文化史的探索, Dalu zazhi 大陸雜誌 104.1 (2002), 114Google Scholar, 104.2 (2002), 1–15, 104.3 (2002), 1–10. Zhang's usage of this term was more or less consistent with the early definition, e.g., his reference to a meteorite. Given the etymology, it is reasonable to assume that the term in the Song times did not refer to any random occurrence that struck observers as unusual.

56 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Yulu, 1.314.

57 See William Fish's definitions of illusion and hallucination, Fish, , Philosophy of Perception: A Contemporary Introduction (London: Routledge, 2010), 3Google Scholar.

58 Zaozhuang, Zeng 曾棗莊 compil., Quan Song wen 全宋文 (Shanghai and Hefei: Shanghai cishu chubanshe and Anhui jiaoyu chubanshe, 2006)Google Scholar, vol. 60, 1305.125.

59 Zhang's invocation of Heaven may remind readers of his discussion of “knowing from virtuous nature,” which, however, was not the central concern here. The thesis of this passage was to place erroneous sense perception (caused by cataracts) in the large context of one's moral existence. Heaven played a key role in “knowing from virtuous nature” because it served as the repertoire of all orders in the world and thus the source of deep knowledge. In the current passage, Heaven assumed the role of a supervising authority figure and exerted an influence on sensory knowledge instead.

60 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Jingxue liku, 278.

61 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Jingxue liku, 278.

62 Zhang, Zhang Zai ji, Jingxue liku, 278.

63 In the following pages, I rely on three kinds of medical texts to corroborate the discussion of Zhang Zai: earlier classics collated, reprinted, and promoted by the Northern Song government, pharmacological treatises compiled in early Northern Song (prior to Zhang) and promoted by the government, and crucial medical texts which appeared slightly later than Zhang's times and yet comprised large amounts of quotations from early texts. For each key text I cite, I will provide information on its availability/popularity in Zhang's times in a separate footnote. Government-commissioned medical publishing was a significant phenomenon in the Song. We can safely assume that the selection of works the state chose to print constituted the most important repertoire of medical texts at the time; official recognition was both the cause and effect of such significance. Zhang was more likely to engage these works by chance and by choice (although he did not necessarily read them in the state-commissioned versions). For studies of state-sponsored medical publications in the Northern Song, see TJ Hinrichs, “The Song and Jin Periods,” in Chinese Medicine and Healing, edited by TJ Hinrichs and Linda L. Barnes, 102–8, and Jiawei, Fan (Fan Ka Wai) 范家偉, Beisong jiaozheng yishu ju xin tan 北宋校正醫書局新探 (Hong Kong: Zhonghua shuju, 2014)Google Scholar.

64 Kovacs, Jürgen and Unschuld, Paul U., trans. and annot., Essential Subtleties on the Silver Sea: The Yin-Hai Jing-Wei: A Chinese Classic on Ophthalmology (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), 41Google Scholar. For a survey of conceptual frameworks regarding eye illnesses from the ancient times to the Ming (1368–1644), see ibid., 3–52.

65 As part of the Inner Canon, the Divine Pivot was one of the key texts that the Song state chose to collate and reprint. See Tao, Li 李燾 (1115–1184), Xu Zizhi tongjian changbian 續資治通鑒長編 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2004)Google Scholar, 186.4487. It was a widely cited source in extant Song writings.

66 The eyeball referred to the anterior section of the eye, that is, the cornea and the iris with the pupil. See Kovacs and Unschuld, Essential Subtleties, 61.

67 Lingshu jing 靈樞經 (Beijing: Renmin weisheng chubanshe, 1963)Google Scholar, 80.153.

68 Simiao, Sun 孫思邈 (581–682), Qianjin Fang 千金方, Beiji qianjin yao fang 備急千金要方, annotated by Qingguo, Liu 劉清國 (Beijing: Zhongguo zhongyiyao, 1998), 6.105Google Scholar. The Precious Remedies was one of the most popular Tang (618–907) medical texts in the Song. The Northern Song government invested a strong interest in the treatise by republishing it along with classics such as the Inner Canon. For this history, see Fan, Beisong jiaozheng yishu ju, 82–83. For a study of the Song literati's engagement with this text in wider contexts beyond the government's monitoring, see Hao, Chen 陳昊, “Zai xieben yu yinben zhijian de fangshu: Songdai Qianjin fang de shuji shi” 在寫本與印本之間的方書 : 宋代《千金方》的書籍史, Zhongyiyao zazhi 24.1 (2013), 6985Google Scholar.

69 Huaiyin, Wang 王懷隱 (fl. late 10th century), Taiping shenghui fang 太平聖惠方 (Beijing: Renmin weisheng chubanshe, 1959), 32.898Google Scholar. The Taiping shenghui fang (completed in 992; hereafter Shenghui fang) was the most important formulary in early Northern Song. Emperor Taizong (r. 976–997) commissioned the text and ordered to circulated it to all prefectures. See Li Tao, Xu changbian, 33.736. For a comprehensive discussion of the imperial efforts to promulgate the text, see Fan, Beisong jiaozheng yishu ju, 39–57.

70 Lingshu jing, 80.537.

71 The Essential Questions drew unparalleled attention from the Song state, which summoned scholars to collate the text thrice in the eleventh century. See Unschuld, Paul, Huang Di nei jing su wen: Nature, Knowledge, Imagery in an Ancient Chinese Medical Text (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), 59CrossRefGoogle Scholar, Goldschmidt, Asaf, The Evolution of Chinese Medicine: Song Dynasty, 960–1200 (London: Routledge, 2008), 38CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and Fan, Beisong jiaozheng yishu ju, 23–24, 81–83, and 92–93.

72 Huangdi neijing suwen jiaozhu 黃帝內經素問校注, annotated by Aichun, Guo 郭霭春 (Beijing: Renmin weisheng chubanshe, 1992), 5.85Google Scholar.

73 Huangdi neijing suwen jiaozhu, 62.746.

74 The Classified Pharmocopoeia was compiled by Tang Shenwei 唐慎微 (fl. 1080s–1090s) slightly after Zhang Zai's times. Nevertheless, Tang incorporated a rich repertoire of quotations from early texts as the foundation of his new work. For the bibliographical history of the text, see Shenwei, Tang, Chongxiu Zhenghe jingshi zhenglei beiyong bencao 重修政和經史證類備用本草 (hereafter Zhenglei bencao), annotated by Tameto, Okanishi 岡西為人 (Taipei: Guoli Zhongguo yiyao yanjiusuo, 1971), 45Google Scholar and Fan, Beisong jiaozheng yishu ju, 260–5.

75 Tang, Zhenglei bencao, 22.452.

76 Tang, Zhenglei bencao, 22.452.

77 Yuanfang, Chao, Zhu bing yuanhou lun jiaoshi 諸病源候論校釋 (hereafter Yuanhou lun), annotated by Nanjing zhongyi xueyuan 南京中醫學院 (Beijing: Renmin weisheng chubanshe, 2009), 28.774Google Scholar. This seventh-century treatise enjoyed a popularity similar with the Shenghui fang in the Northern Song. See Fan, Beisong jiaozheng yishu ju, 15–16.

78 Thus, more specifically speaking, the conceptual framework regarding the cause of cataracts encompassed the qi etiology as well as the wind etiology (in the case of wind-evil), a combination we will see again in the case of delusion. The qi system and the wind etiology were closely associated and often jointly contributed to explaining the cause of an ailment. Scholars such as Paul Unschuld regard the wind etiology as a possible precursor of the qi system. See Unschuld, Huang Di nei jing su wen, 183. A variety of wind-related pathogens could become the source of disruption in the qi movement and cause different types of cataracts. For a few other examples, see Chao, Yuanhou lun, 28.775, and Wang, Shenghui fang, 18.503.

79 Wang, Shenghui fang, 4. 95.

80 Wang, Shenghui fang, 4. 93.

81 Wang, Shenghui fang, 4. 95.

82 Tang, Zhenglei bencao, 11. 271–2.

83 Tang, Zhenglei bencao, 3.79.

84 Tang, Zhenglei bencao, 3.93.

85 Tang, Zhenglei bencao, 6.145.

86 Tang, Zhenglei bencao, 10.246.

87 Tang, Zhenglei bencao, 12.297.

88 Tang, Zhenglei bencao, 3.79.

89 Sun, Qianjin fang, 2.34.

90 Tang, Zhenglei bencao, 5.132.

91 Tang, Zhenglei bencao, 7.180.

92 Fraser discusses these possibilities in the case of Xunzi; see Fraser, “Knowledge and Error in Early Chinese Thought,” 139.

93 For a discussion of predictable and intersubjective illusions including the moon illusion, see Fish, William, Perception, Hallucination, and Illusion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 148–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

94 For a comprehensive introduction to the “problem of perception” and its various theoretical solutions in modern epistemology, see Fish, Philosophy of Perception, especially 1–48.

95 Zhang Zai is not singular in rejecting the subject–object distinction. Scholars of Chinese epistemology have observed in various periods and contexts that premodern Chinese thinkers were generally in favor of resisting such a division. See, for example, Ames, Roger, “Meaning as Imaging: Prolegomena to a Confucian Epistemology,” in Culture and Modernity: East-West Philosophic Perspectives, edited by Deutsch, Eliot (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1991), 228Google Scholar; Lenk, Hans, “Introduction: If Aristotle Had Spoken and Wittgenstein Known Chinese: Remarks Regarding Logic and Epistemology, A Comparison Between Classical Chinese and Some Western Approaches,” in Epistemological Issues in Classical Chinese Philosophy, edited by Lenk, Hans and Gregor, Paul (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993), 111Google Scholar; Fraser, “Knowledge and Error in Early Chinese Thought”; and Allen, Vanishing into Things, 103–4 and 197.

96 Angle and Tiwald call this distinction the foundation of sensory knowing. See Angle and Tiwald, Neo-Confucianism, 113.

97 For “things” as a discourse of individuation especially in early Chinese thought, see Perkins, Franklin, “What is a Thing (wu)?” in Chinese Metaphysics and Its Problems, edited by Li, Chenyang and Perkins, Franklin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 5468CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Scholars have also noticed that in Song times “things” were “dynamic configurations” of deep relations, such as the qi movements. See Angle, Stephen, Sagehood: The Contemporary Significance of Neo-Confucian Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 38Google Scholar. The two facets of “things” corresponded with the two types of knowing at issue. For a systematic discussion of the dual nature of “things,” see Zuo, Ya, Shen Gua's Empiricism (Cambridge: Harvard Asia Center, 2018), 4044Google Scholar.

98 Ames, “Meaning as Imaging,” 234.

99 For example, Barry Allen argues convincingly that premodern China lacked a Western-style rationalism to react to. See Allen, Vanishing into Things, 199–209.

100 The study of biji has remained one of the most vibrant sub-fields in the historical study of the Song culture. For a most recent study which connects the genre with “knowing from hearing and seeing,” see Zhang, Ellen Cong, “To Be ‘Erudite in Miscellaneous Knowledge’: A Study of Song (960–1279) Biji Writing,” Asia Major Third Series 25.2 (2012), 4377Google Scholar.

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