Many scholars in the humanities and social sciences are involved with understanding, analyzing, and describing texts of one sort or another. Some engage in the further task of building on the texts they study with an eye toward developing or refining insights or theories of contemporary value. This talk concerns the assumptions, methods, and aims one brings to the task of interpreting such texts. While the points it makes are of general value and application, the speaker will take as his primary example Classical Chinese Texts and Classical Chinese philosophical texts in particular. His core argument is that there are a variety of distinct approaches one can take to such texts, all of which can be of value, but it is important to be clear about what these distinct approaches are; scholars have an obligation to make their assumptions, methods and aims clear not only in order to guide their own research and reflection and insure its integrity but also in order to avoid misleading their readers about what their scholarship really intends to achieve. He will also argue that at times the particular type of text one studies will bring distinctive challenges into play. He will illustrate this claim with the example of the commentarial tradition associated with Classical Chinese philosophical texts. [Go to the full record in the library's catalogue]
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