Kyoto International Consortium for Asian Studies京都亞洲研究國際聯盟

Re: An Mathematical Interpretation of I Ching

Hi Maiko,

You showed convincingly that the Yijing (I like to follow the pinyin romanization) involves very sophisticated commitment to mathematics and numbers, and so Chinese philosophy, derived from the Yijing in one way or another, qualifies as a fully fledged rational enterprise, given your initial definition of rationality.

I have two questions, one motivated by curiosity and another by etymological concern.

First question. Do you personally believe that rationality is or should be limited to the sense in which you represented it in your presentation? Feminist epistemologists would advocate a much looser understanding (I should probably not say conception) of rationality that allows for historical, cultural and gender variation. I wonder if you would be sympathetic to this kind of orientation.

Second question. I don't know much at all about the etymology of rationality, but upon quick googling I have already come across something that challenges your move from rationality -> ratio -> mathematics (powerpoint pg. 3). Here is the website that I saw:

Gathering from the conversation there, it seems that the Latin ratio has both mathematical and philosophical meanings, and it is unclear whether they share the same etymology or which is primary. So to frame the question: Is it really very clear that rationality is modeled after, or essentially engaged in, mathematics?

You had 75 slides! Did you manage to go through all of them in the presentation??