A Treatise on Efficacy: Between Western and Chinese Thinking
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216pp. July 2004
A Treatise on Efficacy: Between Western and Chinese Thinking
Author: Jullien, François; Translator: Lloyd, Janet;
In this highly insightful analysis of Western and Chinese concepts of efficacy, François Jullien subtly delves into the metaphysical preconceptions of the two civilizations to account for diverging patterns of action in warfare, politics, and diplomacy. He shows how Western and Chinese strategies work in several domains (the battlefield, for example) and analyzes two resulting acts of war. The Chinese strategist manipulates his own troops and the enemy to win a battle without waging war and to bring about victory effortlessly. Efficacity in China is thus conceived of in terms of transformation (as opposed to action) and manipulation, making it closer to what is understood as efficacy in the West.

Jullien’s brilliant interpretations of an array of recondite texts are key to understanding our own conceptions of action, time, and reality in this foray into the world of Chinese thought. In its clear and penetrating characterization of two contrasting views of reality from a heretofore unexplored perspective, A Treatise on Efficacy will be of central importance in the intellectual debate between East and West.

"A valuable step in helping people from both the Chinese and Western traditions to understand themselves and each other" —Philosophy East and West 56 (2006)

"Brilliant and illuminating ... It is simply a must for anyone interested in what the Chinese, particularly the Daoist, tradition has to offer the world." —China Review International, Spring 2005

Author: Jullien, François; Translator: Lloyd, Janet;
François Jullien is professor of Chinese studies in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Paris VII.
Read the preface (PDF).
Preface

1. Fixing One’s Eyes on a Model

2. Relying on the Propensity of Things

3. Goal or Consequence

4. Action or Transformation

5. The Structure of Opportunity

6. Do Nothing (with Nothing Left Undone)

7. Allow Effects to Come About

8. From Efficacy to Efficiency

9. The Logic of Manipulation

10. Manipulation versus Persuasion

11. Water Images

12. In Praise of Facility

Glossary of Chinese Expressions




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