Albert Sanghoon Park, Review of Vanishing into Things: Knowledge in Chinese Tradition, by Barry Allen, Journal of Human Development and Capabilities 17(2016): 140-4.

This book presents a historical survey of five traditions in Chinese philosophy: Confucianism, Daoism, Sunzi and the Art of War, Chan (Zen) Buddhism, and Neoconfucianism. As the subtitle suggests, particular emphasis is placed on the nature and role of knowledge in each tradition. It would be erroneous, however, to view this book as a work exclusively on Chinese epistemology. While the focus on knowledge remains a unifying thread, discussions often delve into metaphysics, ontology, ethics, and politics, among other subjects. Furthermore, the author questions the very appropriateness of categorising Chinese ideas on knowledge under Western conceptions of “epistemology”. Highlighted here are the differences in the concepts and the questions that characterise Chinese versus Western conceptions of knowledge. Accordingly, this book is more than just a history of Chinese philosophy—it is also a work in comparative philosophy attempting to bridge Chinese and Western thought.