ORA review team
This essay investigates the broader impact of changes in material culture on the production of thought in ancient China. I focus on developments in the philosophical enterprise during the second half of the first millennium BC when texts appear that no longer construct meaning in predominantly oral forms. With the widespread use of lightweight writing materials and the development of a manuscript culture, a shift in philosophical production can be identified, which enabled new forms of philosophising. As part of this development, texts evolve where philosophically sound positions become established in written form, as opposed to texts that primarily serve as an aide memoire, where the text remained bound to a triangular relationship of meaning construction between the text, the mediator of meaning, and the witness to the text.