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Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 15, 2008


Liu Lihua
Pages 383-395


As a reference frame for reflection on the past and future of philosophy, this paper offers a ‘Iron triangle of Philosophy’ category. Philosophy is defined as “A study of seeking or displaying Tao by a reasonable way ”. Though Chinese philosophy and Western philosophy are very different and highly supplementary in expression, structure, element and building way, as the studies of seeking or displaying Tao, both possess inherently unified ontology, axiology and epistemology, that is ‘Iron triangle of Philosophy’. These three legs mutually support and its structure of three legs is not from philosophers’ designing subjectively but decided by the essential needs of human life or human being nature. The ‘Iron triangle of Philosophy’ functions as the nuclear core or the soul of human spirit culture. Since the later half of 19th century, the main stream of Western philosophy has lost the most of the three legs, therefore could not enter the core or soul level of the culture and has been fringed in the culture. Also Chinese philosophy, since 1840, has slowly lost its broadly comprehensive ontology, its axiology with the universal ethics held by the ontology, and its epistemology or methodology of knowing that pursue harmony and suitability. It is not enough only to simply recover the old format for “regaining” what philosophy lost, we need to engage very difficultly rebuilding work for this.