Angle, S. C. (2011). Reply to Justin Tiwald. Dao: A Journal Of Comparative Philosophy.
Justin Tiwald and I have been debating the meaning of li 理 for several years now. At each step along the way I have learned from his comments and questions, and I have done my best to refine or revise my position as seemed necessary. I am grateful both to Justin and to the editor for the opportunity to continue that conversation here. Tiwald has very clearly articulated an understanding of li that he calls the “coherence-only” view and ascribes to me. He then points out that there are reasons to doubt that this “coherence-only” view can be correctly attributed to ZHU Xi or WANG Yangming; it may capture some important aspects of li, but a thicker and more metaphysically robust notion is needed to adequately capture all that the Neo- Confucians say about li. In brief, my reply is that I agree that the “coherence-only” view is too thin, but maintain that the “coherence-only” idea does not adequately capture my understanding of li.