Hu Shih ho͞o shŭr [key], 1891–1962, Chinese philosopher and essayist, leading liberal intellectual in the May Fourth Movement (1917–23). He studied under John Dewey at Columbia Univ., becoming a lifelong advocate of pragmatic evolutionary change. While professor of philosophy at Beijing Univ., he wrote for the iconoclastic journal New Youth (see Chen Duxiu). His most important contribution was promotion of vernacular literature to replace writing in the classical style. Hu Shih was also a leading critic and analyst of traditional Chinese culture and thought. He was ambassador to the United States (1938–42), chancellor of Beijing Univ. (1946–48), and after 1958 president of the Academia Sinica in Taiwan.
See J. B. Grieder, Hu Shih and the Chinese Renaissance (1970).
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