chapter  7
13 Pages

The West as a resource

Western thoughts The China/West binary examined in the previous chapter dominated the interpretation and use of theoretical resources, too. This chapter focuses on how participants employed Western ‘thought’ ( sixiang ) and ‘theory’ ( lilun ) and how they reflected on the usage of these resources in Chinese intellectual discourse. 1 The words sixiang and lilun are used today as nouns, but originally they had a predicative function. The earliest occurrence of sixiang is found in the Gongyang Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals ( Chunqiu Gongyang zhuan 春秋公羊传, fourth-fifth c. BCE ), where it means ‘to think of something’ (Gongyang Gao et al., 1997: 185; CY ). Lilun is first attested in History of Northern Dynasties ( Bei shi 北史), completed during the early Tang era, in the sense of ‘arguing’ or ‘reasoning things out’ (Li Yanshou, 1974: 1635).