After the 20th century, the new intellectuals in China had a critical mind in common, which was how to get out of the traditional academic thoughts and secure the self‐ruling academic independence liberated from ethics. Zhou zuoren also sought to make up a new academic system through securing its independence, pointing out how detrimental the traditional Chinese academy was, which had been subjected to ethics. On the other hand, however, he didn’t deny the connection itself between academy and ethics. He thought that academy which studies human beings and objects could hardly be separated from ethics and must not be separated from ethics in that the latter was a total form of what human beings accumulated as human culture passed through a long time. But he believed that what was problematic was that academy must not be completely subjected to ethics as it had been or be treated as a byproduct for ethics, and that academy should be able to make contributions to creating human beings’ new future‐oriented ethics in the end through mutual communications and exchanges, while sustaining its original independence.
In order to achieve his idea, Zhou zuoren tried to practice a series of new academies which he himself called ‘Za Xue(雜學)’. What he called sundry learning had the relative meaning compared with so‐called ‘authentic academy’ or ‘mainstream academy’, through which he endeavored to pull himself out of the frame of mainstream academy previously subjected to ethics, draw up new academic areas based on individuals’ independent consciousness and knowledge, and lay the foundations for a new human academy through communications and exchanges among each academic area.
He tried to ultimately examine the root of China’s national character by exploring the Chinese people’s daily lives, customs, and folk art through the in‐depth study of anthropology and folklore, and establish new viewpoints towards children and juvenile literature on the basis of scientific reason while criticizing universal recognition of children in traditional societies by studying mythology and fairly tales. In addition, he intended to go beyond the limits of human beings‐oriented thoughts by studying Western sex psychology and biology, and think and form the relationship itself between human beings and objects in a fresh way through scientifically understanding human beings and observing objects themselves. He made efforts to introduce to China Japanese culture through the research of Japan and, in particular, the arts and aesthetics in daily living which was peculiar to Japan as he was greatly interested in them. Moreover, he read China’s idea history from a new point through the research of writing methods during the Ching Dynasty and tried to regard it as a foundation for help past and present communicate with each other through having a dialogue with the present and for historic recognition. On top of that, he made great achievements in translating foreign literature and ancient Greek mythology and had interests in studying Buddhist scriptures and medical history and went on with in‐depth researches.