Author Archives: Brian Bruya

National Taiwan University Graduate Conference Call for Papers

Call for Papers
Philosophy and the World: International Conference for Graduates
Department of Philosophy, National Taiwan University

National Taiwan University is proud to host its annual graduate conference of philosophy on 2016/05/14-15. This year’s theme is “Philosophy and the World.” The conference will be conducted in both Chinese and English. We invite all potential participants to join us on this complex yet exciting journey of collaborating across cultures and languages. We welcome all paper submissions by graduate students (master’s and doctoral students) and post doctoral students . This year’s theme centers around five main axes:
1. Chinese philosophy, including Pre-Qin philosophy, Confucianism, Daoism, Yijing philosophy etc.
2. Buddhist philosophy, especially Buddhist Philosophy of Sex and Gender, Buddhist Ethics of life, Buddhist logic.
3. Applied philosophy, including Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Political Science, Applied Ethics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of social science, etc.
4. German philosophy, including Hermeneutics and Phenomenology.
5. Analytic philosophy, including metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, metaethics, virtue ethics, logic, philosophical logic, and philosophy of language, Bayesian epistemology, formal epistemology, epistemic logic.

Papers related to the above themes are particularly encouraged, but other topics are also welcome and will be considered as long as they fulfill our submission requirements (see below). Exemplary papers may be published following the conference. The philosophy department at National Taiwan University will provide participants traveling from overseas with financial support for hotel accommodations for three nights (5/13-5/15). The Conference Committee regrets that we are unable to provide travel and breakfast stipends for participants.

Submissions should include:
1. Title of paper
2. Abstract (one page, 300-500 words, PDF format)
3. Application form

Please fill out the application form provided and email it along with the other required documents to Mr. Liu at by 2015/12/22. You will receive a reply within three working days to confirm receipt of your submission. Results will be sent out on 2016/01/29. The full text of accepted papers must be submitted by 2016/04/08 otherwise the paper’s acceptance will be forfeited. For more information, please visit our site at

Statistics on Asian Philosophy Panels at the 2015 Pacific APA

This last Saturday evening, I was carping to a colleague about the fact that three panels on Chinese philosophy were scheduled simultaneously during the very last time slot of the Group Program of the Pacific APA. Now that the APA has distributed a link to the evaluation survey, I decided to take a look at the actual numbers to see if there is a genuine issue of equity at the conference.

Below are the stats that I got from a first-time run-through of the main and group programs (I’m concerned with Asian philosophy broadly, which I categorized, following the panel titles or society names, as Chinese, Buddhist, Japanese, Comparative, and Martial Arts (didn’t see Indian, alas!)).

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Call for Papers and Panels: SACP at the APA East 2016


Including for a Special Workshop on How to Incorporate Asian Texts into Traditional Philosophy Courses

2016 Eastern Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association

January 6-9, 2016, Washington, DC

The Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy welcomes proposals for our panels at the American Philosophical Association’s Eastern Division meeting. Proposals regarding any aspect of Asian or comparative philosophy are welcome.

This year, we especially welcome paper and panel proposals for a Special Workshop on How to Incorporate Asian Texts into Traditional Philosophy Courses. Workshop papers should be targeted at non-Asianists who want to incorporate Asian texts into a traditional philosophy course. Proposals for incorporating Asian texts into courses in any area of philosophy are welcome, including ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, aesthetics, introductory courses, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, moral psychology, logic, environmental philosophy, philosophy of gender, philosophy of law, social/political philosophy, etc.

Whether for the special workshop or other areas of Asian and comparative philosophy, please submit individual paper abstracts or complete panel proposals.

Paper abstracts should be 150-200 words in length.

Complete panel proposals should include: panel title, a 150 word introduction to the theme of the panel, and a 150 word abstract for each of the papers.

Include each presenter’s name, e-mail address, and institutional affiliation.

No simultaneous submissions, please.

Please submit these materials no later than May 7 to Brian Bruya at

Workshop: Infusing Asian Philosophy into the Traditional Curriculum

Hey, Everyone,

I’m the program chair for the SACP panels at the APA East meeting, and I’m thinking of running a workshop for non-Asianists who want to include some Asian philosophy in the classroom.

The reason I’m writing is that I’m looking for ideas.

First let me tell you how I’m thinking about it. Suppose you could choose one text to include in a traditional philosophical anthology. The anthology would be in any specific area of philosophy or would be a basic introductory text. You would get to choose a short piece to represent any part of any Asian tradition that could be covered in one class period. That’s the first part of how to think about it. The second part of how to think of it would be: now what if a colleague came and asked you how to teach that text in the classroom? How would you explain it, or what kind of extra resources would you provide (in a reasonable amount) so that a non-Asianist could competently teach it without having to get a degree in it?

So, given those two ways of framing the issue, how should I approach this kind of panel? Should I open it to all Asian philosophy in general? Or should I focus on a specific philosophical area, such as ethics or epistemology? If the latter, which area would be a good first candidate?

Have any of your colleagues every shown an interest in such a thing? I broached the topic with a couple of colleagues today. One said that he’d be interested in a text from the Chinese tradition that he could use for an Intro class and would love to know how to teach it. Another said he’d be interested in an epistemology text from any non-Western tradition.

Do you think this kind of panel would garner any interest from non-Asianists at the meeting? Would people show up for a workshop on how to infuse Asian works of philosophy into their classrooms?

Finally, would any of you have an interest in answering this kind of call for papers? This would be pretty basic stuff from a specialist’s perspective.

Or is it a really bad idea to think that some non-Asianist could sit through a thirty minute lecture on an Asian text and then be competent to teach it?

Or is it a bad idea because we’d be ceding our turf?

All ideas are welcome. Feel free to shoot me down.

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).