New Book: New Life for Old Ideas

As a student of Don Munro and one of the contributors to the book, I am very happy to announce that CUHK Press has published Yanming An and Brian J. Bruya, eds., New Life for Old Ideas: Chinese Philosophy in the Contemporary World: A Festschrift in Honour of Donald J. Munro.

The publisher’s blurb: “Over five decades, Donald J. Munro has been one of the most important voices in sinological philosophy. Among other accomplishments, his seminal book The Concept of Man in Early China influenced a generation of scholars. His rapprochement with contemporary cognitive and evolutionary science helped bolster the insights of Chinese philosophers, and set the standard for similar explorations today. In this festschrift volume, students of Munro and scholars influenced by him celebrate Munro’s body of work in essays that extend his legacy, exploring their topics as varied as the ethics of Zhuangzi’s autotelicity, the teleology of nature in Zhu Xi, and family love in Confucianism and Christianity. Essays also reflect on Munro’s mentorship and his direct intellectual influence. Through their breadth, analytical excellence, and philosophical insight, the essays in this volume exemplify the spirit of intellectual inquiry that marked Donald Munro’s career as scholar and teacher.”

New Book: Treatise on Awakening Mahāyāna Faith

Oxford University Press has published a second translation in the Oxford Chinese Thought series, which is the Treatise on Awakening Mahāyāna Faith, a translation of the Dasheng qixin lun 大乘起信論. We are very pleased to make widely available this scholarly translation of one of the most influential texts in East Asian Buddhism. This is the product of years of careful work by John Jorgensen, Dan Lusthaus, John Makeham, and Mark Strange. A short description follows below the fold.

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Suggestions for 2nd Edition of Doing Philosophy Comparatively?

An editor at Bloomsbury contacted me about putting together a 2nd edition of my book Doing Philosophy Comparatively. In the next couple of months we’ll be gathering suggestions about what to add the new edition, which will include about 30% new material, and we’re trying to get as much feedback about the current edition as possible. If you have looked at the book and thought certain topics were missing or that parts of it could be expanded or have other suggestions for improvement, please send me an email at tconnolly@esu.edu. Many thanks!

Vedal at Columbia Neo-Confucianism Seminar

The next session of the Columbia Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies (University Seminar #567) will convene on November 1st, from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the main board room of the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University.
The speaker will be Nathan Vedal, who will be sharing his book chapter titled “Script, Antiquity, and Mental Training: Metaphysical Inquiry into the History of Writing.” This will be part of his new book The Culture of Language in Ming China. If you plan on attending and would like a copy of the paper, please contact Chuyu Tian, Rapporteur for the Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies, at ct2823@columbia.edu.

Richard Kim – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “THE ROLE OF NEGATIVE EMOTIONS IN THE GOOD LIFE: REFLECTIONS FROM THE ZHUANGZI” Friday October 11 at 5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes: RICHARD KIM (Loyola University Chicago)
With responses from: CHRISTOPHER GOWANS  (Fordham University)

Please join on October 11, 2019 at 5:30 for his lecture entitled,

THE ROLE OF NEGATIVE EMOTIONS IN THE GOOD LIFE: REFLECTIONS FROM THE ZHUANGZI

ABSTRACT: The philosophical and psychological literature on well-being tend to focus on the prudential value of positive emotions such as pleasure, joy, or gratitude. But how do the negative emotions such as grief fit into our understanding of well-being? It is often assumed that negative emotions are intrinsically bad far us and that we should work toward eliminating them, especially from the perspective of our own well-being. Continue reading →

Job at UT Austin

The Department of Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin invites applications for a faculty position in Asian Humanities at either the assistant (tenure-track) or associate (tenured) level with a regional specialization in either China or Japan, to begin August 2020. We seek applicants with research interests in literature, intellectual history, visual culture, or other fields in the humanities, focusing on premodern, modern, or contemporary periods. The successful candidate will be expected to engage in scholarly research, to teach two courses per semester, to supervise students at the undergraduate, M.A., and Ph.D. levels, and to contribute to the intellectual life and service needs of the department and the university.

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New article: Jiang & O’Dwyer, “The Universal Ambitions Of China’s Illiberal Confucian Scholars”

T. H. Jiang & Shuan O’Dwyer, “The Universal Ambitions Of China’s Illiberal Confucian Scholars,” has been published in the on-line journal Palladium. It begins:

Amid today’s talk of a coming civilizational clash between China and the West, it is easy to find philosophical experts on China holding forth on the cultural contours of Sino-Western civilizational difference. “China has always been and always will continue to be a communitarian society,” some have insisted; and its Confucian ethos is not a doctrine like America’s liberal individualism, but is instead the “ongoing narrative of a specific community of a people, the center of an ongoing ‘way’ or Dao.”

Such explanations amount to orientalist fantasies. How an industrialized society like modern China, transformed by both Communism and market reforms could still be defined by primordial cultural characteristics is not explained. Moreover, far from being a continuous, deeply organic narrative of the Chinese people, Confucianism is a diverse set of doctrines that have been ideologically contested, marginalized, reinvented and imposed as state dogmas at different times in Chinese history. This point holds for a brand of illiberal, statist Confucianism being promoted today in some of China’s leading universities, a brand whose future is still uncertain, but whose proponents hold out great hopes for its adoption into Chinese Communist Party orthodoxy. Moreover, this reinvented nationalist Confucianism is not without precedent in the modern history of East Asia; over a century ago, Japanese scholars educated in Europe were the pioneers of such a reinvention. This precedent, its cross-cultural inspirations, and its present day historical parallels in contemporary Chinese intellectual life merit examination, in view of the claims made by scholars for the cultural centrality of Confucianism in a morally renewed, globally rising China….