By François Jullien

ISBN-10: 0824828305

ISBN-13: 9780824828301

Trans. by means of Janet Lloyd

In this hugely insightful research of Western and chinese language thoughts of efficacy, François Jullien subtly delves into the metaphysical preconceptions of the 2 civilizations to account for diverging styles of motion in war, politics, and international relations. He exhibits how Western and chinese language innovations paintings in numerous domain names (the battlefield, for instance) and analyzes ensuing acts of battle. The chinese language strategist manipulates his personal troops and the enemy to win a conflict with no waging struggle and to result in victory without problems. Efficacity in China is therefore conceived of when it comes to transformation (as against motion) and manipulation, making it in the direction of what's understood as efficacy within the West.

Jullien’s exceptional interpretations of an array of recondite texts are key to knowing our personal conceptions of motion, time, and truth during this foray into the realm of chinese language notion. In its transparent and penetrating characterization of 2 contrasting perspectives of fact from a heretofore unexplored point of view, A Treatise on Efficacy could be of imperative significance within the highbrow debate among East and West.

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Sample text

Like any other process, the course of warfare depends purely on the fac­ tors in play: if I know enough about the relationship of forces between my opponent and myself, I can insist on not joining battle until such time as I am certain that the potential of the situation operates completely in my favor. All strategy thus depends on a systematic intelligence operation and evaluation of the information that it obtains (hence the importance attached to spying and its differ­ ent categories of agents, all of which are meticulously classified: "native agents," "internal agents," "double agents," and so on; see SZ, chap.

Or, to put it the other way around, what we under­ stand by a plan, in the sense of a plan of action, is an elab­ orated project involving a sequence of operations that constitute mean, designed to attain a particular goal. Means-end: at one end, and already more or less to hand, a wide range of resources in the shape of tools and markers; at the other end, far away on the horizon, some­ thing that is at once an end and a goal (telos), to which we unswervingly march, with our eyes fixed upon it.

It is no longer good enough to recognize, with Aristotle, that the means of action that we envisage are always more or less conjectural, since delib­ eration, the source of the "prudence" that should illumi­ nate our choice, itself becomes something of an illusion. In other words-and it is no longer possible to duck this question-is there not something magical (if I can venture, tentatively, to use the word) about this distant testing out of possible means to project upon the future in anticipa­ tion of a particular end?

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A Treatise on Efficacy: Between Western and Chinese Thinking by François Jullien


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