Knowledge and Authority in the History of Early Imperial Chinese Political Thought: The State of the Field and its Prospects
秦漢時期是中國帝制政府的開端，歷史意義重大，但受到現代學 術分科、對學說原創性的判斷以及近代西方政治觀念的影響，秦漢政 治思想史研究仍有許多待拓展的空間。本文回顧中、英文世界的知 識史傳統和關於權威的政治史與思想史研究，認為整合學術史和政治 史，並採取政治文化史的取徑，是推展秦漢政治思想史研究的關鍵。 本文也以劉向為例，說明歷史知識如何在其思想論述中發揮作用，回 應當時的政治議題。要言之，政治文化史可以透過權力的多樣連結和 交錯，呈現政治行動中各種意圖、論述與舉措；政治思想一方面見諸 政治行動，另一方面其本身也是政治行動。包括秦漢在內的中國甚至 東亞政治思想史，一個重要任務即在於解析這些行動的歷史過程。
Owing to the structure of academic disciplines, judgements on its originality, and the influence of modern Western ideas, the history of political thought in early imperial China remains relatively understudied. This article reviews the literature on the history of knowledge as well as on historical studies of authority, and argues that to advance the study of early imperial Chinese political thought, we need to incorporate the history of scholarship and political history and draw insights from the history of political culture approach. The article also takes Liu Xiang (77-6 BCE) as an example, showing the ways in which historical knowledge played an important role in Liu’s responses to his contemporary political issues. In a nutshell, the history of political culture approach investigates the various facets of power linkages, and thereby demonstrates the intentions behind and discourses in the given political action. In light of this, political thought is not only manifested in political actions, but is also in and of itself a political action. A major task of the history of political thought, therefore, entails analyzing the historical process of such actions, be it for early imperial China, imperial China as a whole, or East Asia and beyond.