Hu Shi’s Search for the “Chinese Sophist” and “Spirit of Courageous Doubt”

  • Rya ButterfieldEmail author


Hu Shi, a twentieth-century scholar and reformer, perceived a foundation for China’s future in a more complicated rendition of China’s intellectual past. Hu understood China’s predicament in rhetorical terms, as an exigent situation that could not be effectively confronted without the right intellectual and cultural resources. Like other pragmatists, Hu saw democracy as a way life. He did not think that democratic thought was foreign to China. This essay is an examination of one arm of Hu’s plan for rhetorical pragmatic reform. First developed in his dissertation, “The Development of Logical Method in Ancient China,” this arm sought to develop a pragmatic “attitude toward ideas” and restore the characteristics of what he calls the “Chinese Sophist” and the original “spirit of courageous doubt.”


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mass CommunicationNicholls State UniversityThibodauxUSA

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