By François Jullien

Trans. by means of Janet Lloyd

In this hugely insightful research of Western and chinese language options of efficacy, François Jullien subtly delves into the metaphysical preconceptions of the 2 civilizations to account for diverging styles of motion in struggle, politics, and international relations. He exhibits how Western and chinese language suggestions paintings in numerous domain names (the battlefield, for instance) and analyzes ensuing acts of struggle. The chinese language strategist manipulates his personal troops and the enemy to win a conflict with out waging struggle and to result in victory without difficulty. Efficacity in China is therefore conceived of by way of transformation (as against motion) and manipulation, making it in the direction of what's understood as efficacy within the West.

Jullien’s fabulous interpretations of an array of recondite texts are key to knowing our personal conceptions of motion, time, and fact during this foray into the area of chinese language concept. In its transparent and penetrating characterization of 2 contrasting perspectives of fact from a heretofore unexplored viewpoint, A Treatise on Efficacy can be of relevant value within the highbrow debate among East and West.

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Sample text

The continuity between the concept of military strate­ gy that has remained traditional in China down to the present day and this particular political concept is easy to see. The courage or cowardice of a fighter depends on the potential of the situation just as the submission or insub­ ordination of a ruler's subjects do (the same,notion of shi obtains). In both cases, the objective conditioning of the situation matters more than the intrinsic qualities and efforts of individuals. But whereas in thought about war­ fare this concept of a potential rested on interaction and polarity, and the situation was always considered as it evolved (in fact, its very evolution was the source of its effects), in thought about power (and how to increase it to the maximum), the defenders of despotism sought to monopolize all the potential, making it converge upon the throne in such a way as to immobilize the situation (in an exclusive-and perpetual-relationship based on submis­ sion).

_ \ _ <' , ' � -D ;'-I:;'L-�G i% ¥ =-,�' ': rsTMi:B UL i - -':\F, ��� , �;; ' . 4RYe�i ,1 24 Treatise on Efficacy No more "friction," "chance," or "genius" advance, adventitious circumstances are themselves precise­ ly what make it possible for the implied potential to come about and deploy itself. The West, with its own kind of theoretical equipment, which is of a formalizing and tech­ nical nature, has proved itself to be singularly inept at think­ ing about the conduct of warfare, taking account only of secondary matters (preparations and material data) and failing to consider the phenomenon itself (although Clause­ witz himself identified it as "something that lives and re­ acts").

For whoever knows how to rely on the potential of the sit­ uation, "victory in battle is unswerving" (5Z, chap. 4, "Xing"). " According to the glosses, there is no possibility of things going "awry" (Zhang Yu), no "two" possible evolutions of the situation (Li Quan; cf. the "constant capacity" that is unswerving in Laozi, section 28). Given the evolution of the relation of forces, the outcome is predetermined even before battle is joined. " But a good gener­ al intervenes upstream in the process.

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