Author Archives: Justin Tiwald

Updates on This Is the Way (the podcast series): Index Locorum, etc.

This Is the Way is a podcast series on Chinese philosophy, hosted by Richard Kim and Justin Tiwald (me). So far, we have five episodes published, five more episodes “in the can” (the discussions have been recorded, but the recordings await sound editing), and many more episodes in the works.

Richard and I have found the response to our podcast series enormously gratifying. I can’t quite bring myself to boast about the specific numbers of downloads, etc. But I’ll just say that there is a larger listenership than we anticipated, and pretty large group of “loyal listeners” (people who appear to listen to each new episode within a month of its appearance). I hope that you who are listening are finding at lest some of the episodes informative or useful for teaching purposes.

Many thanks to those of you who have written us with suggestions, posted responses on the blog, and continued discussions on Facebook, YouTube, or X (Twitter). We still very much see the series as a work in progress and have been discussing all of the feedback that we’ve received, even if we haven’t been able to answer all of the comments and emails in detail.

Speaking of feedback, one adjustment that we’ve decided to make is to add a kind of Index Locorum for the show, which we’ll call an “Index of Historical Passages.” The idea (suggested to us by friends and colleagues) is to make it easy for instructors to find an episode on a particular passage that has come up in their teaching, or to make as the basis of a class assignment. So, for example, you won’t have to scroll through the entire back catalogue of episodes to find the one on Analects 2.4 or the one on Cook Ding — just go to the Index and it will link you directly. Since teaching is increasingly a mixed-media undertaking, we are hoping that this might be useful to teachers.

Many thanks for your support, friends, colleagues, and listeners!

Episode 5 of “This Is the Way”: Cultivation and the Autobiography of Confucius

In the fifth episode of This Is the Way, we discuss Confucius’s autobiography as found in Analects 2.4, one of the most famous passages in the Analects and a rich resource for reflection on the process of moral self-cultivation. Among the many topics we explore: what Confucius meant by being “free of doubts” and “understanding Heaven’s Mandate,” and the relationship between practicing and understanding the Confucian Way. We discuss how traditional commentaries and commentators have interpreted some of the most interesting and disputed lines, and puzzle over the philosophical concept of ‘wholeheartedness.’ Continue reading →

New Book: Xiong Shili’s Treatise on Reality and Function

Oxford University Press has published Xiong Shili’s Treatise on Reality and Function, one of the major works of the New Confucian philosopher Xiong Shili 熊十力. The translation is by John Makeham.
This is the fourth translation in the Oxford Chinese Thought book series, which is devoted to providing high-quality translations of important philosophical and religious texts, for scholars and for classroom use. A free sample chapter is available here (free until April 1, 2024). A short description follows below the fold.

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Episode 4 of “This Is the Way”: Daoist Persuasion

In the fourth episode of This Is the Way, we return to the familiar format of doing a close reading of a classical passage and connecting it to a theme. Our theme is “persuasion” and the passage is the dialogue between Confucius and Yan Hui in the Zhuangzi (ch. 4). It’s a great passage — somehow, not so widely discussed as others! But it should be of interest to anyone interested in rhetoric, the power of reasons (or lack thereof), arguments (in at least two senses of “arguments”), and the delicate games we play with our egos and the egos of others when we attempt to persuade.

Somehow, we just immensely enjoyed talking about this passage.

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Episode 3 of “This Is the Way”: Oneness

In the third episode of This Is the Way we explore the topic of oneness with our guest Philip J. Ivanhoe, a distinguished scholar and translator of East Asian philosophy. In part I, Justin gives a quick overview of Neo-Confucian philosophy and its connection to oneness. In part II, we talk with Ivanhoe about his book, Oneness: East Asian Conceptions of Virtue, Happiness, and How We Are All Connected. Some issues that we discuss include the following: the truth value of oneness (neither “strictly true” nor a groundless and pointless hallucination), the benefits of oneness (security, spontaneity, and metaphysical comfort), and the sense in which we are the minds of Heaven, Earth and the myriad things (Wang Yangming was right after all!).

Below you will find a more detailed accounting of topics, some specific passages and books or articles mentioned in the episode, and an opportunity to “weigh in” and share your views about the topic (or about the hosts’ wild claims about oneness or Chinese philosophy).

Your feedback is very welcome! Please leave a comment below, mail the hosts at ChinesePhilosophyPodcast@gmail.com, or follow them on X @ChinesePhilPod.

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Episode 2 of “This Is the Way”: Confucians on Shame

The second episode of This Is the Way is on shame as a moral emotion, as understood by classical Confucian philosophers (especially Confucius and Mencius, but also Xunzi). Our special guest is Jing Iris Hu (HU Jing 胡婧), author of “Shame, Vulnerability, and Change.” Key questions include the following: What are the Confucian arguments for having a sense of shame? To what extent can shame be autonomous or independent of social attitudes, and what mechanisms do the Confucian recommend for making it so independent? Do fully virtuous people need a sense of shame?
Below you will find a more detailed accounting of topics, some specific passages and books or articles mentioned in the episode, and an opportunity to “weigh in” and share your views about the topic (or about the hosts’ wild claims about the text). Continue reading →

Episode 1 of “This Is the Way”: Daoist Detachment

Richard Kim and Justin Tiwald are pleased to present a new podcast series on Chinese Philosophy, This Is the Way. The administrators of Warp, Weft, and Way have generously agreed to host supporting materials and discussions of specific podcast episodes.  Links to support pages for all published episodes can be found here.

The first episode is titled “Daoist Detachment.” In fact, it’s really just about the distinctive sort of detachment that seems to be at the heart of some (“core”) passages of the Zhuangzi. In this episode, Richard and Justin introduce themselves and talk about the motivation for the podcast series, the idea of “philosophical double-vision” that makes Zhuangzi-style detachment possible, and some worries about this sort of detachment. Below you will find a more detailed accounting of topics, some specific passages and books or articles mentioned in the episode, and an opportunity to “weigh in” and share your views about the topic (or about the hosts’ wild claims about the text).

Your feedback is very welcome! Please leave a comment below, mail the hosts at ChinesePhilosophyPodcast@gmail.com, or follow them on X @ChinesePhilPod.

Chapter markers Continue reading →

Chinese philosophy in the 2021-2022 Philosophical Gourmet Report

Once every few years, the Philosophical Gourmet Report publishes rankings of PhD programs in philosophy in the English-speaking world. It ranks programs “overall” and by areas of specialization. As one would hope for a report that aspires to be comprehensive and describe the current state of the field, one of those areas of specialization is Chinese philosophy.

You can find a general description of the methodology of the report here. As the member of the advisory board who took the lead in managing the Chinese philosophy area, and who wrote to the other assessors of Chinese philosophy to convene some joint deliberations about the process, I wanted to say a bit more about how we handled the Chinese philosophy section. Continue reading →

New Book: The Daodejing Commentary of Cheng Xuanying

Oxford University Press has published The Daodejing Commentary of Cheng Xuanying, a translation of Cheng Xuanying’s 成玄英 famous and philosophically rich commentary, which in turn shaped both Daoist and Buddhist discourse thereafter. The translation is expertly elucidated with ample notes and glosses by the translator, Friederike Assandri, a leading authority on Cheng Xuanying and the Twofold Mystery School.
This is now the third translation in the Oxford Chinese Thought book series, which is devoted to providing high-quality translations of important philosophical and religious texts, for scholars and for classroom use. A short description follows below the fold.

Continue reading →