The Question Concerning Technology in China. An Essay in Cosmotechnics

In this remarkable book, Yuk Hui draws on the major thinkers of both the West and the East to elaborate an original reflection on the nature of technology. He has enlarged the philosophical horizon for the Anthropocene age.”

Andrew Feenberg

“uma das visões mais originais e poderosas sobre como pensar a tecnologia a partir de uma perspectiva filosófica” (one of the most original and powerful views on how to think technology from a philosophical perspective)

Ronaldo Lemos, Folha de S. Paulo

Yuk Hui’s essay on cosmotechnics is a commendable effort, an inspiring and informative alternative history of Chinese philosophical thought on technology and a provocative speculative fugue.

Gabriele de Seta, Asiascape: Digital Asia


仲山ひふみ, Genron

Heidegger’s critique of modern technology and its relation to metaphysics has been widely accepted in the East. Yet the conception that there is only one—originally Greek—type of technics has been an obstacle to any original critical thinking of technology in modern Chinese thought.

Yuk Hui argues for the urgency of imagining a specifically Chinese philosophy of technology capable of responding to Heidegger’s challenge, while problematizing the affirmation of technics and technologies as anthropologically universal.

This investigation of the historical-metaphysical question of technology, drawing on Lyotard, Simondon, and Stiegler, and introducing a history of modern Chinese philsophical thinking largely unknown to Western thinkers, sheds new light on the obscurity of the question of technology in China. Why was technics never thematized in Chinese thought? Why has time never been a real question for Chinese philosophy? How was the traditional concept of Qi transformed in its relation to Dao as China welcomed technological modernity and westernization?

In The Question Concerning Technology in China, a systematic historical survey of the major concepts of traditional Chinese thinking is followed by a startlingly original investigation of these questions, in order to ask how Chinese thought might today contribute to a renewed, cosmotechnical questioning of globalized technics.



The Becoming of Prometheus; Cosmos, Cosmology, and Cosmotechnics; Technological Rupture and Metaphysical Unity; Modernity, Modernisation, and Technicity; Whence the ‘Ontological Turn’?

Part 1. In Search of Technological Thought in China
Dao and Cosmos: The Principle of the Moral; Dao and Qi: Virtue Contra Freedom; Qi and Dao in Daoism: Pao Ding’s Knife; Qi and Dao in Confucianism: Restoring the Li; Remarks on Stoic and Daoist Cosmotechnics; Gu Wen Movement: Writing as Unification of Dao and Qi in the Tang Period; Song Yingxing’s Encyclopedia and Qi-Dao During the Ming Dynasty; Qi-Dao After the Opium Wars; The Collapse of Qi-Dao; Carsun Chang, Science, and the Problem of Life; The Manifesto for a China-Oriented Cultural Development, and its Critics; Needham’s Question; The Organic Mode of Thought and the Laws of Nature; Mou Zongsan’s Response; Mou Zongsan’s Appropriation of Kant’s Intellectual Intuition; Self-Negation of Liangzhi in Mou Zongsan; The Dialectics of Nature and the End of Xing er Xian Xue

Part 2. Modernity and Technological Consciousness
Geometry and Time; The Absence of Geometry in Ancient China; Geometrisation and Temporalization; Geometry and Cosmological Specificity; Modernity and Technological Unconsciousness; The Memory of Modernity; Nihilism and Modernity; Overcoming Modernity; Anamnesis of the Postmodern; The Dilemma of Homecoming; Sinofuturism in the Anthropocene; For Another World History

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