Author Archives: Chris Fraser

Job Opening: University of Hong Kong, Asian Philosophy

The Department of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong is inviting applications for an open rank, tenure-track post. Candidates are expected to have Asian philosophy as an area of specialization. Applications will be accepted on line only, through the Academic Jobs Online service. The URL for the job listing is:

https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/9906

The link above provides a detailed description of the application requirements and procedures.

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“What Makes Us Human?” Summer Course at CEU

Applications are invited for an interdisciplinary, comparative summer course entitled “What Makes Us Human? Philosophical and Religious Perspectives in China and the West” to be held at Central European University in Budapest from July 4 to 15. The course looks at the question of what it is to be human from a range of intellectual perspectives in traditional Chinese and Greek thought, covering philosophy, psychology, religion, science, and medicine.

The course director is Curie Virág
 (East Asian Studies, Toronto), and faculty include Gabor Betegh
 (Classics, Christ’s College, Cambridge University), Chris Fraser
 (Philosophy, Hong Kong), Donald Harper
 (East Asian Languages & Civilizations, Chicago), Brooke Holmes
 (Classics, Princeton), Maria Kronfeldner
 (Philosophy, CEU), and Matthias Riedl
 (History, CEU).

Here’s the course description from the program catalogue:  Continue reading →

The People in Chinese Political Thought

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.

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Support the Chinese Text Project!

If you work with early Chinese texts, you have probably used the Chinese Text Project (ctext.org), a wonderful on-line resource created by Donald Sturgeon some years ago while he was still a master’s student in Taiwan.

To many of us, within two or three years of its founding, ctext.org had become a more convenient and useful research tool than the online e-text resources created by large institutions such as Academia Sinica. As Donald has continued to expand the site’s functions — such as by adding a dictionary and concordance indexing — its utility has overtaken that of any rival Chinese text database, online or not.

Often, while working on a book chapter or essay, I have multiple browser windows open displaying different pages of content from ctext.org. I’m sure many others in the field use the site the same way.

All that useful content takes up a lot of server resources, however, which someone has to pay for. For years now, that someone has mainly been Donald himself. He’s had a few welcome anonymous donations and a handful of short-term sponsors, but by and large the costs for the site come out of his own pocket. And that’s not counting all the time and programming expertise that he’s put into it.

So a graduate student living on a modest stipend in one of the world’s most expensive cities is paying for a valuable research tool that all of us use.

May I suggest that those of us who can afford it — not graduate students, but professors and other interested readers — consider donating to support the site’s operations? You can do so through Paypal on the site’s support and donation page here. To those of us who visit the site frequently, the Chinese Text Project is worth much more than the cost of a book and probably more than the cost of most of the software on our computers. So why not consider donating an amount equal to the price of a book or a software package to support the continued operation and growth of this invaluable resource?

And if you’re in a position to do so, consider arranging for an institutional subscription to or sponsorship of the site, as described here.

This is a project that deserves our support.

— Chris Fraser

Robins to HKU

Dan Robins, a frequent contributor to this blog, has accepted a job offer from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong. Congratulations, Dan! Dan joins several other colleagues at HKU working in Chinese philosophy: Chad Hansen, who has returned to teach common core curriculum courses on behalf of the Department of Philosophy; Tang Siufu, in the School of Chinese; Joseph Chan, in the Department of Politics and Public Administration; and myself, in the Department of Philosophy.

Philosophy Job Opening at HKU

HKU’s Department of Philosophy has an opening for an assistant professor of philosophy. The area of specialization for the post is not Chinese philosophy, but preference is likely to be given to candidates with competence in Chinese or Chinese-Western comparative philosophy in addition to another area. So people working in Chinese or comparative philosophy are strongly encouraged to apply.

The first paragraphs of the advertisement run as follows:

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"Moderation in Burials," 21st Century Version

The Mohist doctrine of “Moderation in Burial” seems to be winning converts among officials in China these days.

The New York Times reports that “After a quarter of a century in which the gap between rich and poor has steadily widened, the wretched excesses of the affluent are increasingly a Chinese government concern.”

“Ostentatious tombs are particularly irksome…because many Chinese find even a simple grave marker beyond their means. In a coinage that captures the widespread frustration, someone struggling to afford burial costs is called a ‘grave slave.'” Continue reading →

Zhuangzi, Emotions, and the Good Life

Are intense emotions a necessary part of a good life? This seems a partly normative, partly psychological question. I’m interested in hearing what others think about it.

In a recent article in Asian Philosophy I take some preliminary steps toward understanding and partly defending a Zhuangist stance on emotion, which I dub the “Virtuoso View.” (A precis of the article can be found here.) I characterize this view roughly as follows: Continue reading →