The first issue of Confluence: An International Journal of World Philosophies has been published; see here for more information and free access to the first issue.
Anna Sun’s book Confucianism as a World Religion has won two major awards:
- 2014 Best Book Award, Sociology of Religion Section of the American Sociological Association
- 2014 Best First Book in the History of Religions Award, American Academy of Religion
The excellent journal devoted to pedagogy about Asia (from K-12 through university education), Education About Asia, is now available open-access. Over the years it has had articles about teaching Chinese philosophy, among many other subjects.
Three Pines Press proudly announces the second volume in our new series
Contemporary Chinese Scholarship in Daoist Studies
Rediscovering the Roots of Chinese Thought: Laozi’s Philosophy
by CHEN Guying, translated by Paul D’Ambrosio
paperback, 150 pages, bibliography, index
available January 1, 2015
prepublication special: US $22.50
ORDER NOW: www.threepinespress.com<http://www.threepinespress.com/>
The Confucian Traditions Group is sponsoring two panels for this year’s AAR: “Nurturing Moral Children: Confucian Visions of Parenthood and Childhood” and “Confucian Secularism.” Read on for details.
Two Openings in Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)
The Philosophy Program of Nanyang Technological University is searching for an associate professor (with tenure) in Chinese and Comparative Philosophy and a tenure-track assistant professor of philosophy (AOS open), to begin in July 2015. The due day for application is 28 December 2014. For more information, please go to http://www.hss.ntu.edu.sg/Programmes/philosophy/Pages/Faculty-Positions.aspx
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
Franklin Perkins, Heaven and Earth Are Not Humane: The Problem of Evil in Classical Chinese Philosophy, Indiana University Press, 2014, 295pp., $35.00 (pbk), ISBN 9780253011725.
Reviewed by Youngsun Back, City University of Hong Kong
The intriguing title, Heaven and Earth Are Not Humane, a line that originally appears in the Daodejing of Laozi, draws the reader into early Chinese philosophy. By exploring the problem of evil, Franklin Perkins opens new doors into this ancient tradition. The problem of evil in this book specifically refers to the fact that bad things happen to good people. Perkins examines the multiplicity of ways that philosophers of the Warring States period dealt with the problem of evil. His study focuses on six major texts, the Lunyu, Mozi, Daodejing, Mengzi, Zhuangzi, and Xunzi, but he incorporates a variety of recently excavated texts such as Xing zi ming chu, Taiyi sheng shui, and Qiong da yi shi into his study as well.
Tim Connolly – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Virtue Ethics, Role Ethics, and the Early Confucian Self”, Dec. 5 @5:30pm
THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY
Welcomes: TIM CONNOLLY (East Stroudsburg University)
With responses from: SCOTT R. STROUD (University of Texas at Austin)
Please join at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5 at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:
“Virtue Ethics, Role Ethics, and the Early Confucian Self”
ABSTRACT: Confucian Role Ethics takes its point of departure from “a specific vision of human beings as relational persons constituted by the roles they live rather than as individual selves” (Ames and Rosemont, “Were the Early Confucians Virtuous?”). It is this vision, its proponents maintain, that makes it distinct not only from Western ethical theories such as deontology and utilitarianism, but also from Aristotelian and other forms of virtue ethics. But does CRE mean by contrasting “relational persons” with “individual selves”? In this paper, I examine three different versions of the contrast defended by CRE: the metaphysical thesis that for Confucius there is no “substantial self” left over once we take away a person’s social relations; the psychological thesis that there is no steadfast distinction between “inner” and “outer” in theAnalects; and the moral developmental thesis that Confucian self-cultivation always takes place within the context of roles. I argue that in each of these areas CRE can gain from a greater engagement with Aristotelian virtue ethics.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5
Rm. 101, 80 Claremont Ave, Columbia University
An interesting Global Times article: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/892060.shtml
The East Asian Studies Center at Indiana University is piloting a book workshop series this year. On Wednesday, November 19 from 8pm – 10pm EST Professor LI Chenyang will discuss his lastest book, The Confucian Philosophy of Harmony. Since this is a virtual presentation, we welcome all interested scholars and students to attend. You can log in here: https://connect.iu.edu/eabwli/ . Follow directions “to enter as a guest.” (For questions about the virtual-meeting software see here.)
Two years ago, we moved the blog from WordPress’s server to a commercial server, mainly in order to make the blog available in the PRC, which has worked. Since then, we have paid to have visitors to the old url, warpweftandway.wordpress.com, automatically re-directed to the correct url, warpweftandway.com. With a few days, this redirection will end. So if you have any difficulty accessing the blog, please make sure that you are using the correct url! Please let Manyul or me know if you have any questions. Thanks!
Not a work of philosophy, but certainly relevant to anyone concerned with contemporary China and contemporary Chinese philosophy, Haiyan Lee’s new book has just been published: The Stranger and the Chinese Moral Imagination by Stanford University Press (2014).
Charles Wei-hsun Fu Foundation
ISCP Essay Contest in Asian Philosophy
The Charles Wei-hsun Fu Foundation and the International Society for Chinese Philosophy are pleased to announce the 2015 ISCP Essay Contest in Asian Philosophy.
This is a reminder: the 19th international conference of ISCP will be held in Hong Kong in 2015. The deadline for submissions of paper proposals is Nov. 30, 2014. The following is the link to the conference webpage, with information about submissions: http://phil.arts.cuhk.edu.hk/iscp/
James Legge Conference, June 2015 – Call for Papers
James Legge: Missions to China and the Origins of Sinology
University of Edinburgh, 11-13 June 2015
Deadline for proposals: 31 March 2015
An article by Roger Ames, “儒学与世界文化秩序变革 (Confucianism and the Transformation of the International Cultural Order)” appeared in People’s Daily on Nov. 7.
See http://www.indiana.edu/~mcct for more information on the Midwest Conference on Chinese Thought.
Roundtable Discussions: The Pursuit of Wisdom: Ancient Greek and Chinese philosophy and literature
This inquiry aims to develop comparative perspectives on the pursuit of the good life in ancient Greek and Chinese philosophy and literature. It breaks new ground in the field of comparative philosophy and intellectual history, which to date presents extensive literature on comparative pictures of the good life. Yet, relatively few discussions focus on the processes necessary for attaining the good life. The innovative nature of this project lies in its focus on the processes associated with the pursuit of wisdom in the respective traditions. The attention here will be on issues concerned with practice, discipline, resources required for such pursuits, as well as their underlying epistemological assumptions.
Attendance is free but registration is essential. Please register here: https://pursuitofwisdomroundtable.wordpress.com/
Professor Rick Benitez, School of Philosophical and Historical Enquiry, University of Sydney
Mr Drago Heler, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Charles Sturt University
Mr Anthony Hooper, School of Philosophical and Historical Enquiry, University of Sydney
Dr Cullan Joyce, Catholic Theological College, MCD University, Melbourne
Dr Hyun Jin Kim, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne
Dr Esther Klein, School of Languages and Cultures & China Studies Centre, University of
A/Prof Karyn Lai, School of Humanities and Languages, University of New South Wales
Dr Michaelis Michael, School of Humanities and Languages, University of New South Wales
Dr Ping Wang, School of Humanities and Languages, University of New South Wales
Roundtable Dates & Times
Thurs 27 Nov 2014, 10 am – 6 pm
Fri 28 Nov 2014, 10 am – 5pm
Morven Brown Building, Lv 2, Room 209
UNSW Kensington, Sydney, Australia
A/Prof Karyn Lai: firstname.lastname@example.org
This Forum, featuring five Hong Kong University faculty (ncluding philosophers and political theorists) is well-worth watching!
Xiaomei Yang’s review of Stephen C. Angle (Ph.D, 1994) and Michael Slote, eds., Virtue Ethics and Confucianism has appeared in the most recent issue of Ethics, Vol. 125,# 1, 2014.
Joseph’s Chan’s feature review of my book Contemporary Confucian Political Philosophy: Toward Progressive Confucianism has just appeared in Philosophy East and West, Vol. 64,#3,2014, as well as two follow-ups:
- Joseph Chan. “’Self-Restriction’ and the Confucian Case for Democracy.”
- Stephen C. Angle. “Sages and Self-Restriction: A Response to Joseph Chan.”
- Joseph Chan. “Reply to Stephen C. Angle.”
SEOK, Bongrae, Embodied Moral Psychology and Confucian Philosophy
Lanham: Lexington Books, 2013, xvi + 197 pages
How can Confucian philosophy provide a useful path toward understanding the basic
processes of human moral psychology? This is the question that SEOK Bongrae’s new
book Embodied Moral Psychology and Confucian Philosophy strives to answer.
To the uninitiated, Confucian philosophy will be an unlikely resource, even an
anachronism with respect to current issues in philosophy, especially with regard to
issues in cognitive science and the philosophy of mind. However, a revival of
Confucian ideas is taking place, with articles, conferences, monographs, and edited
volumes devoted to its relevance to a variety of areas of current philosophy, both
analytic and continental. Seok’s book is a fine example from this trend. Trained in the
philosophy of mind and cognitive science at the University of Arizona, Seok has turned
to the Confucian tradition for insights that can extend our understanding of how the
human mind makes moral decisions.
Seok divides his book into two parts. The first is a background on embodied
cognition and how Confucian philosophy is a natural candidate for explorations of
embodiment. The second explores and elucidates particular aspects of Confucian moral
psychology and then brings them into dialogue with current debates in moral psychology,
specifically, with regard to the character/situationist debate. In the five chapters of
these two sections, Seok makes a convincing case for the importance of what he calls
situated Confucian virtue. …
Full review can be found here: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11712-014-9411-0?sa_campaign=email/event/articleAuthor/onlineFirst
Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture by Hagop Sarkissian: “On Wielding Moral Sway: Influence and Manipulation in Social Networks”, Friday November 14 @5:30pm
THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY
Welcomes: HAGOP SARKISSIAN (Baruch College)
Please join at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14 at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:
“On Wielding Moral Sway: Influence and Manipulation in Social Networks”
ABSTRACT: Many of us value our independence, yet none of us is an independent actor in any profound sense. Rather, we are deeply affected by others in our local and extended networks in subtle yet significant ways. What’s more, we return the favor–influencing the trajectory of others’ lives (whether we intend to or not). These facts, recently articulated in the behavioral and health sciences, raise certain questions. Do we have (previously unacknowledged) responsibilities to others if we do, in fact, continually exercise such influence on them—even if at a distance? Should we shape and mind our influence? If so, do we risk being paternalistic, even manipulative? From our perspective today, rooting out patterns of influence and then wielding them toward specific goals might seem unsavory. Nevertheless, I will argue that such strategies may make perfect sense once we become a) vividly aware of the predictable patterns of such resonant influence, and b) convinced that escaping such influence is a foolish enterprise. And whereas we are only recently coming to grips with this phenomenon, several early Confucian texts seem to take it as a fundamental orientation, which motivated an ethics centered on the notions of self-regulation, sway, and harmony. Indeed, wielding moral sway is, from this perspective, a hallmark of the virtuous person. I argue that classical Confucianism, while a tradition of thought quite distant from us, nonetheless contains important resources for understanding how we can better resonate with others and, in turn, how we can turn such resonance into human harmony.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14
Rm. 101, 80 Claremont Ave, Columbia University
UPCOMING COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY EVENTS:
Friday, December 5 – Timothy Connolly (East Stroudsburg University)
PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE: http://www.cbs.columbia.edu/cscp/
The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies will convene Friday, November 7 from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University.
Zach Berge-Becker of Columbia University will present the paper “Imagined Seclusion: The Construction of Su Shi’s (1037-1101) Literary Persona at Huangzhou.” A copy of the paper can be obtained by contacting the organizers.
All are welcome to attend. Please join us after the seminar for dinner at a location to be announced.
Duke University’s Center for Comparative Philosophy and the Center for East Asian and Comparative Philosophy (CEACOP) at City University of Hong Kong are happy to announce an exciting new partnership . These two centers will initiate regular student and faculty exchanges, co-sponsor international conferences and workshops, and jointly teach courses, beginning with a new course this spring that can be taken for credit at either campus, Eastern and Western Conceptions of Human Nature, Ethics, and Politics. Additional cooperative programs will follow in the coming years. Read on for information about the new joint course.
A Directory listing is currently being compiled; the list will include philosophers previously listed in the Women of Philosophy Directory, The Black Philosophers Directory, The Asian Philosophers Directory, the Latina/o and Hispanic Philosophers Directory, etc.
All of these individual directories are now being combined into a single directory of philosophers from underrepresented groups in philosophy — the UPDirectory. The UPDirectory will replace the individual directories, which will not be published. Nonetheless, all the information from each individual directory will be contained in the UPDirectory. The goal of the directory is to have a single, easy-to-use resource for people who want to learn more about the work of philosophers who belong to underrepresented groups in philosophy.
For technical reasons, we need new entries from everyone, even from those who already filled out information for a previous directory. If you would like to be included in the new UPDirectory, please click on the link below
which will take you to an Entry Re-submission Form. When you’ve completed the form, please click on the ‘Submit’ button. That’s all you need to do to appear in the UPDirectory! We ask that you fill out this form by November 27th. Please note that participation is fully voluntary, and you need not provide any information you do not wish to include in your entry.
The University of Macau has begun publishing a new journal,《南國學術 》(South China Quarterly), the contents of which are available on-line here. I will post the Tables of Contents of the latest issue (no. 3) and the upcoming issue (no. 4) below.
City U’s Centre for East Asian and Comparative Philosophy is advertising a postdoc that will be of interest to readers of this blog. I’ll post some highlights below the fold and then link to the complete listing.
A blog reader asked: I just found Laozi’s having the following quote attributed to him (on several quote-collecting websites):
“Marriage is three parts love and seven parts forgiveness of sins.”
Do you have any idea whether this is actually from a *text* attributed to him, and if so, which? (None of the sites I have found gives one.) If not, would you mind asking about this on the blog?
Students at Boston University are putting on a good-looking lecture series; click here for details. This coming Friday, Yair Lior will be presenting on “The Wisdom of Chinese Art”:
The lecture will be titled “The Wisdom of Chinese Art” and will look at different philosophical ideas that inform Chinese art theory, especially landscape painting. It will also look at the unique relationship between Chinese calligraphy, the literati class, and the development of Song-Yuan landscapes. These themes will be explored with constant allusions to concepts of perspective, brush techniques, and choices of subject-matter in European oil painting. Perhaps most importantly, the lecture will give us an opportunity to look at the beautiful images produced by Chinese painters.
NEW BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT
We wish to announce our new book, Teaching the I Ching (Book of Changes), by Geoffrey Redmond and Tze-ki Hon, published by the American Academy of Religion and Oxford University Press, 2014.
BAI Tongdong, professor at Fundan University, is in charge of reviews of Chinese-language books for Dao. He recently sent around a list of new books in which he is potentially interested in a review. Anyone interested in reviewing one of these books, please contact Prof. Bai directly. In addition, I thought that many readers might be interested in Prof. Bai’s list of these books, so it is posted below.
Penguin has recently brought out a new translation of, and commentary on, the Analects, by Annping Chin. The Amazon page is here, at which one can get a good sense of the format and goals of this new translation. Considerable comentary is appended after each passage, with a combination of Chin’s own thoughts and comments from mostly post-Song (primarily Qing to the present) scholars. Chinese text is provided in an appendix. Anyone have any thoughts on this new translation?
Analogies, Models and Images in Early Chinese and Græco-Roman Ethics
Symposium, Institute of Philosophy, Berne
Those interested in attending should register by contacting the convenor Prof. Richard King (email@example.com).
American sinologist and philosopher David Nivison passed away on the 16th of this month. Nivison was a true polymath and made tremendous contributions to a variety of fields that overlapped with Chinese thought and history. For most readers of this blog, he will perhaps be best remembered for his contributions to Chinese philosophy, which was greatly enriched by his work on Daoists and Confucian philosophers across history, including the classical period as well as the Song, Ming and Qing dynasties. For much of his adult life, he also served as one of a small handful of scholars working on Chinese thought under the aegis of a Western philosophy department, and played a major role in integrating Chinese philosophy with contemporary philosophy as practiced in the English-speaking world. Among his best-known books are The Life and Thought of Chang Hsueh-ch’eng, The Ways of Confucianism, and The Riddle of the Bamboo Annals.
ISCWP (The International Society for Comparative Studies of Chinese and Western Philosophy) will sponsor two panels at APA Pacific Division Meeting in April 2015:
Panel #1: History, Atonement, and Care Ethics: Comparative Perspectives
Chair: John Berthrong (Boston University School of Theology)
1. “Sima Guang and Machiavelli: A History Lesson”
Billy Dean Goehring (University of Oregon)
Commentator: Yang Xiao (Kenyon College)
2. “Making Amends with Confucius and Royce”
Mathew A. Foust (Central Connecticut State University)
Commentator: Winnie Sung (Nanyang Technological University)
3. “What Are Other People If Not Hell?: The No Exit Objection and Intimate Relations
in Care Ethics and Confucianism”
Ian M. Sullivan (University of Hawaii at Manoa)
Commentator: Lijun Yuan (Texas State University-San Marcos)
Panel #2 “Non-Confucian Political Philosophy and its Contemporary Relevance”
Chair: Stephen Angle (Wesleyan University)
- “Shen Dao’s Conception of the Law and the Dao”
Eirik Lang Harris (City University of Hong Kong)
- “Mozi’s jian’ai and Political Philosophy”
Youngsun Back (City University of Hong Kong)
- “Hanfei on History and Political Philosophy”
Henrique Schneider (Karl Franzens Universität Graz)
- “Anarchism or Nihilism: Lessons From Daoist Anarchists for Post-Modern Critical Theory”
John Rapp (Beloit College)
The latest issue of the APA’s Newsletter on Asian and Asian-American Philosophers and Philosophies has been published.
A message from Sébastien Billioud:
The ACPA will sponsor two panels at the Pacific APA in Vancouver next April, “Ethics and the Meaning of Life in Confucian and Daoist Philosophy” and “Soul, Afterlife, and Truth in Chinese Thought.”
[Dear readers: I am happy to present the following invited guest post from Dr. Elisa Freschi of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Dr. Freschi (BA +MA in Indology and Tibetology, BA in Philosophy, PhD in South Asian Studies) has worked on topics of Classical Indian Philosophy and more in general on comparative philosophy, epistemology, philosophy of religion, philosophy of language and on the re-use of texts in Indian philosophy (about which she has just finished editing a volume). She is a convinced upholder of reading Sanskrit philosophical texts within their history and understanding them through a philosophical approach. She has worked at the Austrian Academy of Sciences since September 1, 2012, with a Lise Meitner project on Epistemology of Sacred Texts in Vedāntadeśika’s Seśvaramīmāṃsā. For more information about her work see here.]
No matter whether one focuses on Classical Chinese philosophy (as probably most readers of this blog) or on Classical Indian philosophy (like myself), one works on something which is different than oneself. I will contend that this feeling is useful also if one focuses on contemporary Chinese, or Indian (or Tibetan and so on) philosophy, or on Classical, Medieval, Modern Western philosophy, since it alerts one to a key factor, namely the difference between oneself and one’s object of study.
Shandong University’s Journal of Chinese Humanities is an English-language extension of Wen Shi Zhe (Journal of Literature, History and Philosophy), one of mainland China’s most respected humanities journals. JOCH focuses on presenting scholarly work on various aspects of China’s traditional culture and society. It fosters international dialogue on important Chinese studies issues and provides a platform for academic exchange.
We are now accepting submissions for our next issue. The theme is “Dialogue between Civilizations.” All entries must be original works and related to China. All submissions will be reviewed by the editorial board and blind peer reviewers.
The deadline for submissions is December 15, 2014. Submissions should use Chicago style format and be between 6,000 and 10,000 words in length.
A new CHINAFILE article: “What Does China Mean by ‘Rule of Law’? It’s more Confucianism than constitutionalism.” In my view the worries expressed in this article show all the more clearly why it is important to make clear that modern Confucianism needs to be responsive to the conditions of modernity: seeing law as independent from governmental authority is not “Western,” but good modern (progressive) Confucianism.
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.