Author Archives: Brian Bruya

New Chinese Philosophy Postdoc Opportunity at Michigan

Funded by the Tang Junyi Lecture Fund and administered by the Department of Asian Languages & Cultures (ALC) and the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies (LRCCS) at the University of Michigan, the Tang Junyi Postdoctoral Fellowship is open to scholars conducting well-designed research and writing projects on Chinese philosophy. One (1) fellow will be selected.


– Research topics can cover any aspect of Chinese philosophy and philosophical thought.

– Candidates must be able to provide evidence of successful completion of their PhD degree by June of the year of appointment and may not be more than seven (7) years beyond receipt of the PhD.

– Applicants who do not have native command of English must include the date and score of the most recent TOEFL examination or other evidence of proficiency in English (such as a degree from a US university or a letter from an academic advisor).

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SACP Panels at the Upcoming APA East Meeting

The Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy will host two panels at the upcoming APA conference in Philadelphia.  If you are going to the conference be sure not to miss these two panels of outstanding scholars.

December 27th, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Panel GI-5
Topic: Philosophy of Language in Early China
Chair: Susan Blake
Jane Geaney (University of Richmond): “A Language Crisis? Early Chinese Metalinguistic Terms from a Comparative Perspective”
Dan Robins (University of Hong Kong): “Later Mohist Nominalism”
Susan Blake (Indiana University): “Disputation and Names in the Zhuangzi”
Stephen Walker (University of Chicago): “Systematically Misleading Expressions in Zhuangzi 25”


December 29th, 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Panel GIX-3
Topic: Comparative Perspectives in East Asian Philosophy
Chair: James McRae
Ai Yuan (University of Oxford): “Embracing the Unavoidable: Zhiming (知命) in Mencius and Zhuangzi”
Brad Cokelet (University of Miami): “Spontaneous Agency and Neo-Kantian Constitutivism”
Paul D’Ambrosio (East China Normal University): “Justice vs. Harmony: Li Zehou’s Historical Approach to Global Ethics”
Hwa Yeong Wang (Binghamton University): “A Feminist Reconstruction of Emotions in Korean Neo-Confucianism”
James McRae (Westminster College): “From Kyōsei to Kyōei: Symbiotic Flourishing in Japanese Environmental Ethics”

Review of new book from Bongrae Seok

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:

New Funding Opportunity for Ph.D. Students

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:

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.

Zhuangzi in the Reserve

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).

Fulbright Opportunities

The American Fulbright Program is a scholar exchange program that brings scholars and students from overseas to the United States and sends scholars and students from the United States overseas.

There are a large number of programs for the countries of East Asia.  If you are an American citizen and are a new university graduate (or will be next year), you are eligible for programs to teach English abroad or to engage in study/research programs.  Professors should circulate this information to students.

If you are an American scholar, there are many research and teaching opportunities.

Awards generally cover all expenses (including airfare) and include stipends.

I have attached three introductory documents to this message.

Teaching English

Graduate and undergraduate students

Scholar and Other

You can find all of the programs here:

The announcements for the next round of programs have just come out.  Many of the deadlines are August 1.