Friday, November 29, 2019

Fan Zhen (3): Essay on the Extinction of the Soul

I mentioned in two previous posts that I learned of Fan Zhen (450 - 515 AD) via Esperanto, then sought-out English language sources. I have finally located a translation of a key essay, preceded by a biographical and political contextualization of Fan Zhen's intervention against Buddhism:

The First Chinese Materialist / Essay on the Extinction of the Soul (Etienne Balazs / Fan Zhen)

Fan Zhen's materialism is in his argument on the mind-body problem. As is historically the case in much of Chinese philosophical discourse, here there is a mixture of logical argument, anecdotal historical references, appeals to tradition and sages and other authorities. Fan Zhen links his argument against the persistence of the soul after death to the parasitism, otherworldly diversion, and false promises of Buddhist monks he alleges.

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