An upcoming conference at the University of Nebraska “The Spirit of Korean Philosophy: Six Debates and their Significance for Asian and Western Philosophy” (OCTOBER 22-24, 2014)
13–14 March 2015
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
The Singapore-Hong Kong Symposium on Chinese Philosophy is being organized as a way to foster dialogue and interaction between scholars and students based in Singapore and Hong Kong. Submissions are invited for papers on any aspect of Chinese thought, as well as papers dealing with comparative issues that engage Chinese perspectives. Speakers will be selected through a review of abstracts. While preference will be given to scholars and advanced graduate students based in Singapore and Hong Kong, participants from any geographic area are welcome. Accommodations on campus will be provided for a limited number of speakers coming from abroad.
Please submit 1-2 page abstracts for review to SHKConf@ntu.edu.sg by November 30, 2014.
For inquiries about the conference, please contact Franklin Perkins.
The 2014 Northeast Conference on Chinese Thought will be held next month at Central Connecticut State University. (Details are here.) Please note that the deadline for registration is October 30, 2014.
Stephen Macedo has just published a really nice essay on how we might understand the nature of the Hong Kong protestors’ proposal for electing the Chief Executive in 2017. I think the term “Republic as constitutional democracy” is a good and accurate term here, especially if we take into account the fact that the recent discussion in mainland China by people who are of similar mind with HK protestors has usually been conducted under “憲政” (constitutionalism) or “共和” (republic, republicanism). I do not know how much that discussion has had on the HK protectors. It has been widely reported in Hong Kong media, including the controversy regarding 《南方周末》 2013 editorial “中國夢，憲政夢” (China Dream, Constitutionalist Dream).
Here is the whole essay:
San Diego State University has a job opening for an assistant professor with specialization in Ethics; the department notes, though, that “Because we have a very active Confucius Institute on campus, this would be a good opportunity for someone whose specialization includes Chinese philosophy.”
Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture by Jake Davis: “‘The scope for Wisdom’: Early Buddhism on Reasons and Persons”, Friday October 24 @5:30pm
THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY
Welcomes: JAKE DAVIS (CUNY Graduate Center)
With responses from: CHARLES GOODMAN (SUNY Binghamton)
Please join at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24 at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:
“‘The scope for Wisdom’: Early Buddhism on Reasons and Persons“
ABSTRACT: The idea that meditation leads to the realization that there is no self, and that this realization motivates selfless action for the welfare of all beings, is widely understood to be a central feature of Buddhist doctrine. Continue reading “Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture by Jake Davis: “‘The scope for Wisdom’: Early Buddhism on Reasons and Persons”, Friday October 24 @5:30pm”
Like many of you, I’ve also been trying to understand Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution by putting it in the larger context of Chinese history (from Confucius to 1989 and to the present).
I could not help but compare it with 1989.
Confucius valued careful and serious speech. One passage in the Analects says that a person can be judged as wise or unwise on the basis of a single sentence. So how is it possible that for many Americans, the first thing they think of when they hear the name of the Chinese teacher is “Confucius say,” followed by a silly one-liner?
Here are the two ISCP panels to take place at the 2015 Pacific APA:
The inagural conference of the World Consortium for Research in Confucian Cultures will take place this coming week in Honolulu. More information, including conference program, is located here.
Many readers of this blog have been following the recent demonstrations in Hong Kong with interest, and several days ago Kai Marchal posted some insightful remarks about demonstrators’ motives and inspirations and their relation to Confucianism. Kai specifically noted the absence of explicitly Confucian political ideals from the demonstrators’ public rhetoric.
The following is the text of a short talk I gave at a public gathering organized by HKU students on the street in Admiralty next to Hong Kong government headquarters on October 1, China’s National Day.
Like many of you, I have often been thinking about the relation between liberal democracy and the Confucian tradition (or better: the traditions of thought claiming to somehow continue the spiritual legacy of Confucius and Mencius). In these hours, that is “as dusk fell on Hong Kong Tuesday evening” (in the words of CNN), thousands of young people are filling the streets of Hong Kong demanding full democracy and the right to elect their own leader.
I have lately been reading Frank Perkins’s marvelous book Heaven and Earth are Not Humane: The Problem of Evil in Classical Chinese Philosophy (Indiana, 2014). There’s lots of rich and provocative content in the book worth talking about, but at least for right now I want to focus on a different kind of question that Frank raises right at the beginning, on p. 5. Discussing the question of whether Warring States thought is appropriately labelled “philosophy,” he writes that “in practice, [this] is a question about institutions and the power of inclusion and exclusion… Certain boundaries are accepted in practice by almost all academic philosophers.”
An interesting take on Xi Jinping’s frequent expressions of reverence for China’s past.
By Jana Rošker, found here.
Yang Xiao writes: The board of ISCWP is glad to announce that we are going to have two panels at APA Pacific Division Meeting in April 2015 in Vancouver, Canada (see below). Here is the link to the information about the meeting:
We still need two volunteers to chair the two panels, and seven volunteers to be the commentators on the seven papers. Details are below. Please let me know as soon as possible, but no later than October 10th!
The ISCWP has announced its two panels for the Eastern APA:
The 2014 Nothereast Conference on Chinese Thought (NECCT) will be held at Central Connecticut State University this November. Attendance is free, but requires advance registration. Please see here for the schedule and other details. Speakers and other out-of-town attendees will find information on location, lodging, etc.
Xunzi: The Complete Text
Princeton University Press would like to announce the publication of Eric Hutton’s new translation of Xunzi.
“This is the first complete, one-volume English translation of the ancient Chinese text Xunzi, one of the most extensive, sophisticated, and elegant works in the tradition of Confucian thought. Through essays, poetry, dialogues, and anecdotes, the Xunzi articulates a Confucian perspective on ethics, politics, warfare, language, psychology, human nature, ritual, and music, among other topics. Aimed at general readers and students of Chinese thought, Eric Hutton’s translation makes the full text of this important work more accessible in English than ever before.
The latest in our series of discussion pieces on recent articles published in Dao, here we have Howard Curzer (Texas Tech), an Aristotle sepcialist who has also developed an interest in early Confucianism, commenting on Thorian Harris’s essay. For Harris’s piece, click here.
“ARISTOTLE AND CONFUCIUS ON THE SOCIOECONOMICS OF SHAME”
BY THORIAN HARRIS, COMMENT BY HOWARD J. CURZER
Harris begins by combining and fleshing out Aristotle’s scattered, elliptical remarks about the sense of shame in an admirably charitable and plausible way….
I have recently begun a term on the Advisory Board of the John Templeton Foundation (JTF). I know that there has been considerable discussion of effects of JTF’s funding on the field over the years, but based just on my own limited interaction with current JTF leadership, staff, and other advisors, I find the Foundation’s current approach to supporting work in philosophy to be open and commendable. In fact, JTF’s core commitment to challenging mainstream views within our discipline is increasingly leading the Foundation to recognize the role that non-Western philosophy can play in furthering its objectives.
To that end, I want to call attention to the current possibility of applying to JTF for funding:
As part of its fall open submission cycle, the John Templeton Foundation welcomes online funding inquiries in the areas of philosophy and theology. The submission window is August 1 to October 1, 2014. Proposed philosophical projects need not have religion or theology as a focus. To submit an online funding inquiry, please visithttp://www.templeton.org/what-we-fund/our-grantmaking-process.
Please note that the Templeton Foundation does not normally provide dissertation fellowships through this open submission process. For more information on the kinds of projects that the Foundation can support, visit http://www.templeton.org/what-we-fund/core-funding-areas/science-and-the-big-questions.
A post at New APPS by Christian Coseru, with Owen Flanagan, Eric Schwitzgebel, and Jonardon Ganeri weighing in thus far in the comments section.
I thought this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education may be of interest to readers of the blog (even while I am in no position to evaluate the historical claims made). Some highlights:
A particular weakness of many humanities canons remains their scant or nonexistent attention to material outside of Europe and North America, their historical dismissal of South Asian, East Asian, and African achievement due to ignorance and condescending Orientalism. Although philosophy is probably the worst among humanities disciplines in this respect, it’s hardly alone..
I’d like to remind everyone about the exciting opportunity afforded by the planned third Rutgers Workshop in Chinese Philosophy, still a long way away (Spring, 2016) but in need of your proposal now! The deadline is Sept. 30, 2014. See below to be reminded of the details.
The first session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies for the 2014-2015 academic year will convene Friday, October 3 from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. At this session we will celebrate the work of Prof. Wm. Theodore de Bary, who was recently awarded a 2013 National Humanities Medal.
Two recent job positing may be of interest, one in East Asian religions at Ohio State; one in Early China at NYU-Shanghai. Details below.
I’ll put the details below the fold, but it might help to have a quick summary of some the book’s most noteworthy (or at least distinctive) advantages.
- Better selections than Chan’s Sourcebook, including several overlooked gems and works on and by women
- Consistent translations of key terms and oft-quoted passages
- Begone Wade-Giles!
With each published issue of Dao, we choose one article for discussion here on Warp, Weft, and Way, and Dao‘s publisher gives everyone free access to the article for a year. The next article to get this treatment is “Aristotle and Confucius on the Socioeconomics of Shame” by Thorian Harris. The article can be accessed here. Howard Curzer of Texas Tech is going to start off the discussion in a couple weeks with a précis; in the meantime, we encourage you to download and read the article, and then join in the discussion when it begins.
Those who want to explore Chinese thought in more depth will soon have the opportunity to participate in not one, but two Massive Open On-line Courses (MOOCs):
- Edward Slingerland’s “Foundations of Chinese Thought” is set to begin on edX on October 14, and run for seven weeks.
- Chad Hansen’s “Humanity and Nature in Chinese Thought,” also on edX, is scheduled to begin in January.
This story about a foreigner passing out on the subway in Shanghai caught my attention; and I thought it might interest some of our readers as well. It turns out that after fainting and falling to the floor, not a single person tried to help the foreigner. The explanations in the article seem a bit dubious; and there’s no fat villan to throw in front of the subway car, which would make for a more interesting discussion; but I’m guessing a few of you might have some thoughts on the piece nonetheless.
Manyul and I are occasionally contacted by publishers wondering whether we would like to post a review of a new book on the blog. He and I have discussed this, and would like to let you all know that our policy is: yes, if it is directly on-point for the blog, and if we can find a volunteer who will write the review in a timely fashion. So authors, please feel free to suggest that your publishers contact us in appropriate cases. Thank you!
There will be a conference at the Academia Sinica next week (September 1 and 2) on the reception of Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss in the sinophone world which might be of interest to some readers of this blog.
The Institute of International Education, which administers the Fulbright Program, just announced a new award for Ph.D. students wishing to do research in China, and philosophy is included as one of the disciplines.
The announcement is here: http://www.iie.org/Programs/Confucius-China-Studies-Program
This new program, called the Confucius China Studies Program, is funded by, you guessed it, the Confucius Institute. This could be a great opportunity for anyone wishing to do Ph.D. research in China.
Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy Volume 13, Issue 3, September 2014
A significant new book has been published by Cambridge: philosopher Jiwei Ci‘s Moral China in the Age of Reform. The Amazon link gives on access to some of the book. Here’s what I say on the back cover:
“Jiwei Ci accomplishes two things in his splendid new book. First, he goes beyond the account of his seminal Dalectic of the Chinese Revolution (1994) to explore the causes and effects of the moral crisis that has accompanied China’s three decades of post-Mao reform. Second, he uses this analysis as the foundation for theories of freedom and human agency — theories that are deeply revealing not just of the possibilities and challenges faced by Chinese citizens, but also of the human condition more generally.”
There will be an impressive-looking, interdisciplinary conference next month called “Reading the “Masters”: Contexts, Textual Structures, and Hermeneutic Strategies” held in Brno, Czech Republic. Much more information is available via their website. (I know that Paul already posted about this in the “Reader’s Discussion Topics” area of the blog, but I think that main posts have more visibility (and are included in our Facebook feed), so I am repeating the information here.)
An interesting article examining the CCP’s motives for promoting Confucianism has been published: Shufang Wu, “The Revival of Confucianism and the CCP’s Struggle for Cultural Leadership: a content analysis of the People’s Daily, 2000–2009,” Journal of Contemporary China 23:89 (2014), pp. 971-991. Abstract follows, with the key line in bold.
This is a rich review of Joseph Chan’s important new book; the review is significant, in part, because it represents an engagement by someone from outside the Chinese philosophy world with contemporary Chinese thought. Wall is himself an advocate of perfectionism, which helps to explain why the cross-tradition engagement here is so fruitful.
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
Joseph Chan, Confucian Perfectionism: A Political Philosophy for Modern Times, Princeton University Press, 2014, 256pp., $35.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780691158617.
Reviewed by Steven Wall, University of Arizona
This is an unusual book. It is partly an effort to reconstruct and revive an ancient tradition of political thought, partly an exercise in comparing that tradition to western liberalism and partly a contribution to contemporary political theory. It does not fit into any well-defined disciplinary niche. Its unusual aims, in turn, present a challenge to the reviewer. Should the success of the project be assessed in terms of its fidelity to a tradition of thought that has shaped Chinese culture for over two millennia, or should it be assessed in terms of its contribution to contemporary political thought? No doubt the right answer to this question is that it should be assessed along both dimensions, but this answer does not tell us how much weight to give to each measure of assessment. My own assessment will not grapple with this problem, since I am in no position to gauge its success in remaining faithful to traditional Confucian ideas. Accordingly, this review does not offer a verdict on how well Confucian Perfectionism succeeds in its aim of staying true to Confucian political thought (leaving that judgment to others who are better placed to make it). It focuses instead on how well the view of politics that it presents hangs together and how well it contributes to an understanding of the political topics that it addresses.
David W. Pankenier, Astrology and Cosmology in Early China: Conforming Earth to Heaven
* DATE PUBLISHED: November 2013
* AVAILABILITY: Available
* FORMAT: Hardback
* ISBN: 9781107006720
Over on his blog, The Splintered Mind, Eric Schwitzgebel wonders:
Why Don’t We* Know Our Chinese Philosophy?
(* “we” U.S.-based philosophy professors)
In 2001, I published a piece in the American Philosophical Association’s Newsletter on the Status of Asian & Asian-American Philosophers & Philosophies. In light of my recent reflections about the visibility of non-Western philosophy and philosophers, and especially this remarkable piece from an Asian-American who left philosophy, I thought I’d reproduce a revised version of the essay here. I’ve appended two new substantive notes at the end.
[Read his full post over on Splintered Mind. Discussion comments are welcome there or here.]
The Gongsunlongzi and Other Neglected Texts: Aligning Philosophical and Philological Perspectives
Conference, August 27–29, 2014
Convenors: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Behr, Dr. Lisa Indraccolo, Dr. Rafael Suter
Organization: Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies – Sinology and URPP Asia and Europe
- Museum Rietberg, Park-Villa Rieter, Lecture Hall, Seestrasse 110, 8002 Zurich (August 27, 2014)
- Room KO2 F-174, University of Zurich, Main Building, Karl Schmid-Strasse 4, 8006 Zurich (August 28–29, 2014)
Registration required – Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Gongsunlongzi is one of the few early Chinese received texts dealing with problems of logic and epistemology. Unfortunately, philological inquiries suggest that most probably huge parts were only composed during the Chinese Medieval period (3rd–7th centuries AD). Philosophical studies on the text usually take its authenticity for granted and consider the Gongsunlongzi as if it actually were a Warring States text (453–221 BC). Philological evidence speaking against this widely shared assumption tends to be ignored. Yet, the materials included in the received text are rather heterogeneous and any information about the context or reading instructions are lacking. As a consequence, any interpretation heavily relies on the premises of the reader. A more accurate philological study might not only provide a clearer picture of the process of composition of the Gongsunlongzi and the dating of the different textual layers that compose the text, but might also provide useful information about the context and valuable clues for its interpretation. The workshop aims at bringing together several scholars both in philosophical and philological studies, sharing an interest in the Gongsunlongzi. By contributing their complementary expertise, it is hoped that the workshop will provide ideal conditions for developing a more comprehensive perspective on the text, yielding new insights on the Gongsunlongzi and shedding light on the modalities in which questions of logic and epistemology were addressed in early and medieval China.
Call for Papers
World Philosophies and War
Edited by Bassam Romaya and Eric S. Nelson
(University of Massachusetts Lowell)
Book chapters are solicited for a volume featuring global perspectives in the philosophical analysis of war. We seek papers that examine philosophical themes and perspectives on various aspects of war originating outside of the Western canon. The editors are especially interested in works that depart from or extrapolate upon existing philosophical frameworks (such as the just war tradition, war realism, etc.) commonly examined in Western philosophical literature on war. Prospective contributors may draw upon ancient sources (e.g., Sun Tzu’s Art of War) or contemporary works, literate or oral traditions, and secular or religious/philosophical schools of thought across global traditions. We seek papers that explore competing philosophies of war found in dominant world traditions such as Chinese, Indian, or Muslim, as well as the full range of disparate traditions (e.g., Buddhist, Jain, Hindu, Sikh, Confucian, et cetera) within the more dominate traditions. Submissions that draw from the cultural productions of African, Latin American, Indigenous societies, and other traditions are especially welcome.
Some Zhuangzi in this quote and a bit of Zen at the end:
Bee-eating Wasps… feed their larvae on Hive-bees, whom they catch on the flowers while gathering pollen and honey. If the Wasp who has made a capture feels that her Bee is swollen with honey, she never fails, before stinging her, to squeeze her crop, either on the way or at the entrance of the dwelling, so as to make her disgorge the delicious syrup, which she drinks by licking the tongue which her unfortunate victim, in her death-agony, sticks out of her mouth at full length…. At the moment of some such horrible banquet, I have seen the Wasp, with her prey, seized by the Mantis: the bandit was rifled by another bandit. And here is an awful detail: while the Mantis held her transfixed under the points of the double saw and was already munching her belly, the Wasp continued to lick the honey of her Bee. (J. Henri Fabre, The Insect World of J. Henri Fabre, p. 57)
Whenever I read something from a scientist that so intriguingly echoes a passage from early China, it gets me wondering about the powers of observation in the early writers. Did Zhuangzi spend extended periods of time just observing, as did Fabre? Fabre was a self-taught entomologist in the nineteenth century famous for staking out insects and reporting on their behavior. Although an acute observer, he is not averse to a bit of anthropomorphizing and even has a nice literary appeal (at least in the translation of Alexander Teixeira de Mattos).
Not without shame, I’d like to mention (and thereby promote) a book that I co-edited with Jack Kline, Ritual & Religion in the Xunzi, devoted to interpretations of Xunzi as a religious philosopher. I’ll include a brief description below the fold.
The 19th International Conference of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy (ISCP), on the theme “Chinese Philosophy in the Contemporary World (中國哲學與當代世界),” will be held July 21–24, 2015, at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Information on the conference and the Call for Papers can be found below, and also at http://phil.arts.cuhk.edu.hk/iscp.
The full list of 2014-2015 ACLS grants is listed below. Although the competition for many of these grants is fierce, bear in mind that applications related to Chinese philosophy have a bit of a leg up, since they are eligible for funding through the Munro Fund for Chinese Thought, which is now supporting its first grant.
Long-time friend of the blog, Sam Crane, blogs about his recent sit-down interview with Yu Dan, over at his blog, The Useless Tree.
The Association of Chinese Philosophers in North America (ACPA)
Call for Papers and Abstracts
Submission deadline: Sep 10, 2014
Confucianism and Education: An International Symposium October 17-19, 2014 Ramada Hotel and Conference Center, Amherst, NY
Those interested in how traditional Chinese ethical theory may be relevant to contemporary issues of social justice will want to read this series of posts by Donald Munro: http://www.triplepundit.com/2014/07/human-values-corporate-social-impact-case-jpmorgan-chase/
The Confucius China Studies Program provides funding for research in China for current Ph.D. Program. If anyone has any experience with this, please let us know.
Congratulations to Prof. de Bary for this honor.
WASHINGTON (July 22, 2014) — President Barack Obama today announced the ten winners of the 2013 National Humanities Medals, awarded for outstanding achievements in history, cultural studies, filmmaking, cultural commentary, and historic preservation.
The medalists are: literary critic M.H. Abrams; historiansDavid Brion Davis, Darlene Clark Hine, and Anne Firor Scott; East Asian scholar William Theodore de Bary; architect Johnpaul Jones; filmmaker Stanley Nelson; radio hosts Diane Rehm and Krista Tippett; and the historical organization the American Antiquarian Society. The National Humanities Medals will be presented in conjunction with the National Medals of Arts at a White House ceremony on Monday, July 28, 2014.
The National Humanities Medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened our citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities.
More info here.
Read about it here.
Excuse the lack of modesty, but I’d like to announce the publication of my new book, Democracy in Contemporary Confucian Philosophy.