Warp, Weft, and Way

Chinese and Comparative Philosophy 中國哲學與比較哲學

GARY OSTERTAG – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “The Daoist Dialectic of Enlightenment” Friday Mar 31 at 5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes: GARY OSTERTAG (CUNY Graduate Center | Nassau Community College)
With responses from: GRAHAM PRIEST (CUNY Graduate Center)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, MARCH 31st at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:

The Daoist Dialectic of Enlightenment

ABSTRACT: Continue reading “GARY OSTERTAG – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “The Daoist Dialectic of Enlightenment” Friday Mar 31 at 5:30pm”

March 22, 2017 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学 | no comments

Introducing the WWWOPY awards!

It is often remarked that too many papers are published, too few read. This is likely true of our own area of interest here at Warp, Weft, and Way–Chinese philosophy.

One way to call more attention to published research and, more importantly, have it read and incorporated into ongoing debates, is to highlight exceptional work. The most widely known yearly distinction for philosophy papers is the Philosopher’s Annual (motto: “an attempt to pick the ten best articles of the year”). Alas, it is unlikely anything concerning Chinese philosophy will be nominated for, let alone receive, this distinction in the foreseeable future. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy does choose one article per year for distinction, which has been terrific; but its candidate pool is limited to articles published in that journal. This leaves out several other journals that publish important research, not to mention the numerous anthologies and companion volumes that remain important vehicles for cutting edge research in our field. And as mainstream, non-specialist journals begin to accept more papers in Chinese philosophy, some papers may be overlooked as a result.

But we need not sit idly by while meritorious articles go unrecognized. Hence, we announce the Warp, Weft, and Way Outstanding Papers of the Year (or WWWOPY) Awards. Continue reading “Introducing the WWWOPY awards!”

March 1, 2017 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学 | no comments

Christopher Gowans – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Self-Cultivation Philosophy as an Interpretive Framework: The Critique of Desire” Feb 24 at 5:30pm

Welcomes: CHRISTOPHER GOWANS (Fordham University)
With responses from: BRYAN VAN NORDEN (Vassar College)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24th at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:

Self-Cultivation Philosophy as an Interpretive Framework: The Critique of Desire

ABSTRACT: I will explain and defend a concept of self-cultivation philosophy and argue that it is a valuable interpretive framework for comprehending, comparing and assessing several central philosophical traditions in ancient Greece, China and India (and for envisioning one form philosophy could take today). Continue reading “Christopher Gowans – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Self-Cultivation Philosophy as an Interpretive Framework: The Critique of Desire” Feb 24 at 5:30pm”

February 11, 2017 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学 | no comments

Irene Cronin (UCLA): The Notion of Accepted Contradiction in Early Chinese Daoism. 12 Dec 2016 at CUNY Graduate Center

FALL 2016 Logic and Metaphysics Workshop

DateMonday December 12, 4.15-6.15

Place: Room 5382, CUNY Graduate Center.

Speaker: Irena Cronin, UCLA

TitleThe Notion of Accepted Contradiction in Early Chinese Daoism

Abstract: Although the representation of the Dao differs a little between the representative Early Chinese Daoist works Zhuangzi and Dao de jing, the differences are one of degree, rather than “substance”.  In Zhuangzi, the common man as possible master craftsman, whether it be as a cook, woodmaker, or fisherman, or other kind of craftsman, has the capability of understanding and embracing the Dao (although these occurrences would be relatively rare), while in Dao de jing, it is only the Sage, a rare man of extreme ability that can do so; all others do not have this capability and have minor, shadowy and totally indeterminable experiences of the Dao, and are “condemned” to live an ignorant and almost animal-like existence, finding solace in creature comforts.

Continue reading “Irene Cronin (UCLA): The Notion of Accepted Contradiction in Early Chinese Daoism. 12 Dec 2016 at CUNY Graduate Center”

December 5, 2016 Posted by | Daodejing, Daoism, Laozi, Lecture, Logic | no comments

Alexus McLeod – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “The Madman of Chu: The Problem of Mental Illness and Self-Cultivation in Early Chinese Texts”, Dec. 2 @ 5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes: ALEXUS MCLEOD (University of Connecticut)
With responses from: ANDREW MEYER (Brooklyn College, CUNY)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2nd at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:

The Madman of Chu: The Problem of Mental Illness and Self-Cultivation in Early Chinese Texts

ABSTRACT: In Confucian and Zhuangist texts of the Pre-Han and Han period, we see characters described as “crazy, mad” (狂 kuang), and find descriptions or discussions of madness or mad persons—most prominently the infamous Jieyu, “Madman of Chu”. I argue that madness is seen by Confucians and Zhuangists as a kind of moral deformity that moves one outside of the boundaries of ritual and society and thus full personhood—a fact that leads the Confucians to shun mad people, and the Zhuangist to praise them.  Madness is seen not as a 病 bing (disorder, illness), but instead as based on a cultivated choice.   Continue reading “Alexus McLeod – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “The Madman of Chu: The Problem of Mental Illness and Self-Cultivation in Early Chinese Texts”, Dec. 2 @ 5:30pm”

November 17, 2016 Posted by | Analects, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Huainanzi, Lecture, Self-Cultivation, Zhuangzi | no comments

Bai Tongdong – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Pre-Qin Chinese Thought as a Modern Political Philosophy”, Nov.11 @ 5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes: TONGDONG BAI (Fudan University)
With responses from: VIREN MURTHY (University of Wisconsin Madison)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11th at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:

“Pre-Qin Chinese Thought as a Modern Political Philosophy”

ABSTRACT: In this paper, I will deal with the issue of the legitimacy of Chinese philosophy as a philosophy first.  With the definition of philosophy as a systematic reflection on fundamental human problems that transcend time, place, and a particular people, I will argue that there is a philosophical dimension in traditional Chinese thought.  I will also explain and defend the ways Chinese philosophy expresses its systematic reflections.  I will also respond to the criticism that the elucidation and systematization effort in dealing with Chinese philosophy makes Chinese philosophy lose its significance.  Moreover, I will argue that comparative philosophy should be problem-oriented, and the problems with which the pre-Qin thinkers dealt resemble those in early European modernity.  Thus, not only is Chinese philosophy a philosophy, but it is a modern political philosophy.  Through the analysis of the nature of pre-Qin philosophy, I also hope to direct the readers to a reevaluation of the nature of modernity, and of the relevance of pre-Qin philosophy to today’s world. Continue reading “Bai Tongdong – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Pre-Qin Chinese Thought as a Modern Political Philosophy”, Nov.11 @ 5:30pm”

October 18, 2016 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学 | no comments

Eric Schwitzgebel – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Death and Self in the Incomprehensible Zhuangzi”, THURSDAY Oct.13 @ 5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes: ERIC SCHWITZGEBEL (University of California Riverside)
With responses from: CHRISTOPHER GOWANS (Fordham University)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on *THURSDAY*, OCTOBER 13th at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:

“Death and Self in the Incomprehensible Zhuangzi”

ABSTRACT: The ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi defies interpretation. This is an inextricable part of the beauty and power of his work. The text – by which I mean the “Inner Chapters” of the text traditionally attributed to him, the authentic core of the book – is incomprehensible as a whole. It consists of shards, in a distinctive voice. Despite repeating imagery, ideas, style, and tone, these shards cannot be pieced together into a self-consistent philosophy. This lack of self-consistency is a positive feature of Zhuangzi. It is part of what makes him the great and unusual philosopher he is, defying reduction and summary.  In this talk, I will look at Zhuangzi’s inconsistent remarks about death and the self. Continue reading “Eric Schwitzgebel – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Death and Self in the Incomprehensible Zhuangzi”, THURSDAY Oct.13 @ 5:30pm”

October 5, 2016 Posted by | Daoism, Lecture, Zhuangzi | no comments

Columbia Neo-Confucian Seminar: Hagop Sarkissian “Experimental Philosophy and the Confucian Philosophical Tradition: A Brief History and Comparison.” Friday, September 30 @ 3:30pm

The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies (University Seminar #567) will convene Friday, September 30, 2016 from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University.

Hagop Sarkissian (City University of New York, Baruch College | Graduate Center) will present his paper

“Experimental Philosophy and the Confucian Philosophical Tradition: A Brief History and Comparison.”

ABSTRACT: Continue reading “Columbia Neo-Confucian Seminar: Hagop Sarkissian “Experimental Philosophy and the Confucian Philosophical Tradition: A Brief History and Comparison.” Friday, September 30 @ 3:30pm”

September 9, 2016 Posted by | Comparative philosophy, Confucius, Mencius, Neo-Confucianism, Wang Yangming, Xunzi, Zhu Xi | no comments

Tao Jiang – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Between Philosophy and History: The Challenge of Authorship to Classical Chinese Philosophy in the Western Academy”, Sep.23 @ 5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes: TAO JIANG (Rutgers University)

With responses from: ESKE MØLLGAARD (University of Rhode Island)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23rd at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:

“Between Philosophy and History: The Challenge of Authorship to Classical Chinese Philosophy in the Western Academy”

 ABSTRACT: The tension between philosophical and historical inquiries has been a perennial problem. Within the modern academy, the disciplines of philosophy and history are protected by their respective institutional norm and practice, without much need for interaction. However, Chinese philosophy, situated between Sinology and philosophy in the western academy, has encountered extraordinary challenges from both Sinologists (most of whom are historians) and (Western) philosophers. At the root of the difficulty facing Chinese philosophy lies its very legitimacy, torn between the historicist orientation of Sinology and the presentist orientation of mainstream contemporary Western philosophy. Such divergent disciplinary norms have put scholars of Chinese philosophy in a difficult position. On the one hand, they have to defend the philosophical nature, or even the philosophical worthiness, of classical Chinese texts in front of contemporary Western philosophers whose interests tend to be more issue-driven and in the philosophical integrity of ideas, rather than the historicity of ideas. At the same time, these scholars of Chinese philosophy, when dealing with Sinologists, need to justify the basic premise of their philosophical approach to the classics due to the historical ambiguity and compositional instability of these texts. Continue reading “Tao Jiang – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Between Philosophy and History: The Challenge of Authorship to Classical Chinese Philosophy in the Western Academy”, Sep.23 @ 5:30pm”

September 4, 2016 Posted by | History of Philosophy, Lecture, Sinology, Zhuangzi | 11 comments

Call for Abstracts: Fifth Northeast Conference on Chinese Thought (NECCT)

We hereby request submissions of abstracts for the Fifth Northeast Conference on Chinese Thought (NECCT), to be held at the University of Bridgeport (Bridgeport, CT) on Saturday and Sunday, November 5-6, 2016.

Interested scholars should send an abstract of no more than one single-spaced page, plus a current CV, to Manyul Im (manyulim@bridgeport.edu) and Hagop Sarkissian (hagop.sarkissian@baruch.cuny.edu) no later than June 30, 2016. All files should either be in Word or .pdf format. Please make the subject line of the email read as follows: NECCT 2016 Submission.

The goals of the conference are twofold:  Continue reading “Call for Abstracts: Fifth Northeast Conference on Chinese Thought (NECCT)”

June 29, 2016 Posted by | Call for Papers (CFP), Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Conference | 2 comments

Columbia Neo-Confucian Seminar: Brook Ziporyn “Zhu Xi on the Consciousness and Unconsciousness of the Mind of Heaven and Earth” this Friday, April 22 @ 3:30pm

The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies (University Seminar #567) will convene Friday, April 22, 2016 from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University.

Brook Ziporyn (University of Chicago) will present his paper “Zhu Xi on the Consciousness and Unconsciousness of the Mind of Heaven and Earth: Cross-Cultural Considerations of Ontological Theism and Atheism.”

All are welcome to attend. Copies of his paper and other information are available from the organizers: Ari Borrell , Tao JiangOn-cho Ng, or Deborah Sommer.

April 16, 2016 Posted by | Lecture, Philosophy of Mind, Zhu Xi | no comments

Harvey Lederman – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Weakness of the Will and Liangzhi in Wang Yangming”, Mar.18 @ 5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes: HARVEY LEDERMAN (New York University)
With responses from: STEVE ANGLE (Wesleyan University)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, MARCH 18th at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:

Weakness of the Will and Liangzhi in Wang Yangming”

This paper starts from Wang Shouren’s (王守仁, Yangming 陽明 1472-1529) doctrines concerning weakness of the will, with the aim of developing an interpretation of his theory of “intuition” (l ́ıangzh ̄ı 良知). Wang famously insisted on the “unity of knowledge and action” (知行合一). “Action” is understood in this claim as the subject’s affect; to act appropriately is to have the ethically appropriate affective response. In claiming that knowledge and action are one Wang claims that one form of weakness of the will is impossible: if one knows piety (for example), one is guaranteed to have a pious affective response, that is, to act piously. Wang held that humans have an innate capacity to respond to stimuli with ethically appropriate affect, and that the explanation of this capacity somehow involves the faculty of “intuition” (良知), the faculty by which one obtains moral knowledge. But how does intuition yield moral knowledge? And how does this knowledge guarantee that one will have the affect appropriate to the circumstances? Continue reading “Harvey Lederman – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Weakness of the Will and Liangzhi in Wang Yangming”, Mar.18 @ 5:30pm”

March 4, 2016 Posted by | Comparative philosophy, Lecture, Wang Yangming | no comments

Joshua Mason – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Cognitive Linguistics and Cultural Gulfs: From Embodied Metaphors to Responsible Generalizations”, Feb. 26 @5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes: JOSHUA MASON (West Chester University of Pennsylvania)
With responses from: DEREK SKILLINGS (CUNY Graduate Center)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26th at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:

Cognitive Linguistics and Cultural Gulfs: From Embodied Metaphors to Responsible Generalizations”

ABSTRACT: An ongoing debate in comparative research is about whether we should see cultural diversities as manifestations of essential differences or as superficial variations on a universal blueprint. Edward Slingerland has pointed to cognitive linguistics and the use of embodied metaphors to emphasize the universality of concept formation and cognition across cultures. He suggests that this should quiet the “cultural essentialists” who take fundamental differences in eastern and western thinking as their starting points. Michael Puett has also leveled a critique of cultural essentialism in support of a presuppositionless approach, and Slingerland’s conclusions seem to offer him support. However, I will argue that even if all modern humans are broadly similar in metaphor use and cognitive processes, research in the humanities must continue to account for the differences implied by the particular metaphors employed and emphasized in diverse traditions. I contend that responsible hermeneutic practice does this through provisional, yet indispensable, generalizations. A starting point which recognizes the existence of cultural gulfs will facilitate, not vitiate, future advances in cross-cultural understanding. Continue reading “Joshua Mason – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Cognitive Linguistics and Cultural Gulfs: From Embodied Metaphors to Responsible Generalizations”, Feb. 26 @5:30pm”

February 15, 2016 Posted by | Comparative philosophy, Lecture | 4 comments

Experimental Philosophy Through History – February 20, 2016 at NYU – Full Schedule

This coming Saturday, February 20th, NYU will be hosting a workshop titled Experimental Philosophy Through History  at 5 Washington Place, Room 101, from 10:00 AM to 6:15 PM. The workshop will be on questions at the intersection of experimental philosophy and the history of philosophy.

The recent movement of experimental philosophy has raised a variety of important questions, but many of those questions have actually been discussed in various earlier periods in the history of philosophy. So we are bringing in twelve scholars, representing different periods in the history of philosophy, to discuss questions about how the sorts of issues raised by contemporary experimental philosophy were understood by philosophers in those early periods.

A previous announcement was posted here. I include the full schedule below:

Continue reading “Experimental Philosophy Through History – February 20, 2016 at NYU – Full Schedule”

February 13, 2016 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学 | no comments

Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy – Spring 2016 Speakers

We are excited to share with you our upcoming lineup of speakers:

February 26: Joshua Mason (West Chester University)

March 18: Harvey Lederman (NYU)

April 8: Shigenori Nagatomo (Temple University)

April 29: Sara McClintock (Emory University)

We will provide more information regarding the topic of each speaker’s presentation as the semester progresses. We hope to see you all at what promises to be a semester of discussion and engagement.

Inquiries should be directed to one of the following individuals:

Co-Chairs
Professor Jonathan Gold
Associate Professor, Princeton University, Department of Religion
jcgold@princeton.edu

Professor Hagop Sarkissian
Associate Professor, The City University of New York, Baruch College, Department of Philosophy
hagop.sarkissian@baruch.cuny.edu

Rapporteur
Daniel M. del Nido
dmd2167@columbia.edu

January 17, 2016 Posted by | Comparative philosophy, Lecture | no comments

Experimental Philosophy Through History – February 2, 2016 at NYU

Many of you know me as a scholar of Chinese philosophy. But I also have research interests that I pursue through the methods of experimental philosophy, which seeks to investigate philosophical questions through the methods of the empirical sciences (in my case, experimental psychology).

I’m co-organizing this workshop with Joshua Knobe and Kevin Tobia (Yale), which will concern (as its name implies) questions at the intersection of history of philosophy and experimental philosophy. It seems that many of the questions that have arisen recently in debates about experimental philosophy have also been discussed in other periods in the history of philosophy, including general issues surrounding armchair and experimental approaches to philosophy. We thought it would be helpful to hold a workshop in which scholars working in the history of philosophy could discuss these issues.

In my presentation, I will be outlining the ways in which this basic dynamic has played out in some periods in the history of Chinese philosophy. Continue reading “Experimental Philosophy Through History – February 2, 2016 at NYU”

December 21, 2015 Posted by | Comparative philosophy, Conference, Confucianism, Neo-Confucianism | no comments

Karsten Struhl & Graham Priest, Columbia Seminar for Comparative Philosophy: “Buddhism and Marxism: Points of Intersection” — December 11 @ 5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes:

KARSTEN STRUHL (John Jay College) and GRAHAM PRIEST (CUNY Graduate Center)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11th at 5:30PM for their lecture entitled:

“Buddhism and Marxism: Points of Intersection”

Although Marxism and Buddhism might seem like unlikely bedfellows, they have a number of things in common. Continue reading “Karsten Struhl & Graham Priest, Columbia Seminar for Comparative Philosophy: “Buddhism and Marxism: Points of Intersection” — December 11 @ 5:30pm”

November 23, 2015 Posted by | Buddhism, Comparative philosophy, Lecture | no comments

NECCT 4 Call for Abstracts (deadline extended to June 15)

The deadline for submitting abstracts for the 4th Northeast Conference on Chinese Thought has been extended to June 15, 2015. Interested scholars should send an abstract of no more than one single-spaced page, plus a current CV, to Tom Radice (radicet1@southernct.edu) and Xiaomei Yang (yangx1@southernct.edu). All files should either be in Word or .pdf format.

The conference will be held at Southern Connecticut State University on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 7-8, 2015.

Please refer to the original link for full details.

June 3, 2015 Posted by | Call for Papers (CFP), Conference | no comments

David Elstein – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “The Possibility of a Confucian Doctrine of Free Expression”, Mar. 27 @5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes: DAVID ELSTEIN (SUNY New Paltz)
With responses from: WARREN FRISINA (Hofstra University)

Please join at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, MARCH 27 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:

The Possibility of a Confucian Doctrine of Free Expression

ABSTRACT: Most contemporary New Confucian advocates for democracy take a robust right of free expression for granted as a necessary condition for democratic practice. Yet whether or how Confucianism can justify such a right is often passed over without much analysis. On the face of it, the case does not look good. Classical Confucians of course do not mention any such right, and what they do say is generally neutral or outright hostile to free expression. Various limitations on free expression have also been endorsed by later Confucians, including some contemporary thinkers. The usual liberal justifications of free expression as protecting individual autonomy and preserving access to truth probably will not work for Confucians. For one thing, autonomy is not valued in the same way as in liberalism. Second, Confucians have generally been confident that truth and falsehood can be reliably distinguished by the more enlightened and there is not much to be gained by allowing the persistence of obviously false doctrines. The bigger concern is the harm false doctrines can cause. In this paper I will examine Confucian opposition to free expression, where Confucians will disagree with liberal views, and consider whether Confucianism can justify free expression along with how the Confucian right may differ in application. Continue reading “David Elstein – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “The Possibility of a Confucian Doctrine of Free Expression”, Mar. 27 @5:30pm”

March 10, 2015 Posted by | Comparative philosophy, Confucianism, Lecture | 7 comments

Philosophy Meets Cultural Diversity, 13-14 March 2015 at University of Pittsburgh

This conference should be of interest to anyone working on issues in comparative thought and philosophy. A terrific lineup of speakers and panelists (if I do say so myself). -HS

Over the last decade, the newly emerging field of “experimental philosophy” has posed a challenge to the claim that professional philosophers’ judgments about philosophically important thought experiments are universal. Rather, in a growing number of studies, it has been shown that people in different cultural groups – Asians and Westerners, males and females, people of high and low socio-economic status, people with different personality types, people of different ages, people with different native languages, etc. – have different intuitions about cases designed to explore what people think about knowledge, morality, free will, consciousness and other important philosophical issues. However, the extent and sources of this variation remain by and large unknown. The goal of this conference is to bring together anthropologists, psychologists, comparative philosophers, and experimental philosophers in order to further our understanding of the similarities and differences in the lay understanding of, on the one hand, knowledge, and, on the other, agency and person across cultures. Furthermore, we hope to sketch new avenues of research for philosophically sophisticated cross-cultural studies of the concepts of knowledge, person, and agency.

Invited Speakers
Continue reading “Philosophy Meets Cultural Diversity, 13-14 March 2015 at University of Pittsburgh”

March 8, 2015 Posted by | Comparative philosophy, Conference, Epistemology, Moral Psychology, Psychology, The Self | one comment

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
5:30-7:30 pm
Rm. 101, 80 Claremont Ave, Columbia University
http://goo.gl/maps/zfUKH

 

November 18, 2014 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学 | 5 comments

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
5:30-7:30 pm
Rm. 101, 80 Claremont Ave, Columbia University
http://goo.gl/maps/zfUKH

 

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/

November 4, 2014 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学 | 5 comments

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”

October 7, 2014 Posted by | Buddhism, Lecture | no comments

CHE Article: “The Toxic History of Philosophy’s Racism”

I thought this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education may be of interest to readers of the blog (even while I am in no position to evaluate the historical claims made). Some highlights:

A particular weakness of many humanities canons remains their scant or nonexistent attention to material outside of Europe and North America, their historical dismissal of South Asian, East Asian, and African achievement due to ignorance and condescending Orientalism. Although philosophy is probably the worst among humanities disciplines in this respect, it’s hardly alone..

Continue reading “CHE Article: “The Toxic History of Philosophy’s Racism””

September 17, 2014 Posted by | Academia, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, History | 15 comments

de Bary Wins NEH National Humanities Medal 2013

Congratulations to Prof. de Bary for this honor.

WASHINGTON (July 22, 2014) — President Barack Obama today announced the ten winners of the 2013 National Humanities Medals, awarded for outstanding achievements in history, cultural studies, filmmaking, cultural commentary, and historic preservation. 

The medalists are: literary critic M.H. Abrams; historiansDavid Brion DavisDarlene Clark Hine, and Anne Firor Scott; East Asian scholar William Theodore de Bary; architect Johnpaul Jones; filmmaker Stanley Nelson; radio hosts Diane Rehm and Krista Tippett; and the historical organization the American Antiquarian Society. The National Humanities Medals will be presented in conjunction with the National Medals of Arts at a White House ceremony on Monday, July 28, 2014.

The National Humanities Medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened our citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities.

More info here.

July 25, 2014 Posted by | Academia | no comments

ISCWP Call for Papers for APA Pacific Division Meeting April 2015

The International Society for Comparative Studies of Chinese and Western Philosophy (ISCWP) plans to sponsor one or two panels at next year’s Pacific Division Meeting of APA (American Philosophical Association), which will take place at Westin Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver from April 1 to April 5, 2015. We hereby invite submissions.

Our Goal: We would like to encourage submissions of proposals of individual papers and panels. We encourage papers or panels that promote in-depth engagement between Chinese and Western philosophy. The submissions will be reviewed by all the three members of the board.When we select papers, we normally try to find papers that have common theme to form a panel. You may have a better chance to be accepted if you submit a panel proposal which already has a common theme.

Eligibility: We continue to welcome non-ISCWP members to propose papers to be included on an ISCWP-sponsored panel, or even propose a panel that is related to the ISCWP’s aims, so please feel free to send this notice to philosophers who might be interested even if they are not ISCWP members yet.

Please send all submissions by September 14, 2014.

1. To submit a paper proposal, please provide a 250-300 word abstract. The abstract needs to include the presenter’s name, institutional affiliation, paper title, and email address.

2. To submit a panel proposal, please provide an overall abstract of  the panel topic of 250-300 words, including due justification. It must include the following for each chair, speaker, and commentator on your panel:

  • name as it is to appear in print
  • affiliation
  • email address
  • paper title and abstract (for presenters)

3. You may submit a partial panel proposal – the earlier the better – and ask for help in filling it out. We may help you build panels based on partial panel proposals received early in the process.

4. The board will review the submissions and announce the result by October 14, 2014. The new board members:

http://www.iscwp.org/boards.html

5. Address all submissions and inquires to:

Prof. Guoxiang Peng, Vice-President of ISCWP
peng_gx@126.com 
(There is an underscore between “peng” and “gx”)

July 15, 2014 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Conference, ISCWP | no comments

Announcement: 2014 Term of the “Beijing Roundtable on Contemporary Philosophy”

 

Please find attached detailed information about the upcoming 2014 Term of the  “Beijing Roundtable on Contemporary Philosophy”  on the topic of “Mohist Logical Thought and Development of Contemporary Philosophy”

Academic Organizer: International Society for Comparative Studies of Chinese and Western Philosophy
Host & Co-sponsor: Center for Comparative Philosophy, Institute of Foreign Philosophy & Center for Analytic Philosophy, Peking University, Beijing, China
Co-sponsor: Center for Comparative Philosophy, San Jose State University, USA
Time: 28th June 2014, Saturday, 1 – 5 pm
Location: Room 227, Old Chemistry Building, Peking University, Beijing
Full information in the PDF here: 2014 Beijing Roundtable_program_2014-6-7 version

 

June 14, 2014 Posted by | Comparative philosophy, Conference, ISCWP | no comments

Daoist Philosophy: Enigmatic Texts | Thursday May 29th, 4-6pm | Segal Theatre, CUNY Graduate Center

The Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy is thrilled to co-sponsor this event, featuring several distinguished scholars. Details below:

Daoist Philosophy: Enigmatic Texts

Thursday May 29th, 4-6pm | Segal Theatre, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 5th Ave, NYC

Daoist philosophy has been highly influential in East Asian thought, and is becoming increasingly so in the West.  Yet its texts are often inscrutable. Most notably, they frequently seem to express themselves in contradictions and paradoxes. In this meeting, a number of world experts discuss how to understand this.

Participants: Continue reading “Daoist Philosophy: Enigmatic Texts | Thursday May 29th, 4-6pm | Segal Theatre, CUNY Graduate Center”

May 7, 2014 Posted by | Conference, Daoism, Taoism | no comments

Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture by Ted Slingerland: “Trying Not to Try: Cooperation, Trust, and the Paradox of Spontaneity” on Friday, May 9 @5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes: EDWARD SLINGERLAND (University of British Columbia)

With responses from: MICHAEL BROWNSTEIN (New Jersey Institute of Technology)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion department on Friday, May 9, 2014 at 5:30PM for his lecture called:

“Trying Not to Try: Cooperation, Trust, and the Paradox of Spontaneity”

Abstract: Many early Chinese thinkers had as their spiritual ideal the state of wu-wei, or effortless action.  Continue reading “Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture by Ted Slingerland: “Trying Not to Try: Cooperation, Trust, and the Paradox of Spontaneity” on Friday, May 9 @5:30pm”

April 15, 2014 Posted by | Comparative philosophy, Confucianism, Daoism, Lecture | no comments

Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture by Joseph Chan: “Confucianism and Democracy: Uneasy Marriage or Productive Partnership?” on Friday, April 18th @5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY
 
Welcomes: JOSEPH CHAN (University of Hong Kong)
With responses from: WARREN FRISINA (Hofstra University)
 
Please join us on Friday, April 18 at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:
 
“Confucianism and Democracy: Uneasy Marriage or Productive Partnership?”
 
Abstract: Since the very beginning, Confucianism has been troubled by a serious gap between its political ideals and the reality of societal circumstances. Continue reading “Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture by Joseph Chan: “Confucianism and Democracy: Uneasy Marriage or Productive Partnership?” on Friday, April 18th @5:30pm”

April 1, 2014 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Confucianism, Contemporary Confucianism, Lecture, Political Theory | one comment

Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture on “Śāstravid: A New Electronic Research Tool for Studying Indian Philosophical Texts” THIS FRIDAY March 28th @5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY
and
THE COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF RELIGION
welcome:

 JAN WESTERHOFF (University of Oxford)

Please join us on
Friday, March 28 at 5:30PM 

Continue reading “Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture on “Śāstravid: A New Electronic Research Tool for Studying Indian Philosophical Texts” THIS FRIDAY March 28th @5:30pm”

March 26, 2014 Posted by | Indian Philosophy, Lecture | no comments

Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture on causation in Madhyamaka philosophy THIS FRIDAY March 7th @5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes: MARK SIDERITS (Seoul National University)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion department on Friday, March 7, 2014 at 5:30pm for his lecture called:

Causation, ‘Humean’ Causation and Emptiness

ABSTRACT: Continue reading “Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture on causation in Madhyamaka philosophy THIS FRIDAY March 7th @5:30pm”

March 5, 2014 Posted by | Buddhism, Comparative philosophy, Lecture | no comments

ISCWP Newsletter, Volume 12, Issue 1

Greetings!  Many of you will have received the latest ISCWP Newsletter.  For those who are not on the ISCWP membership list, you can find out about the the society’s activities and events by following the link above and looking through recent newsletters, which are all available there.

If any readers are not members of the ISCWP and would like to join, please click here to be taken to the membership form online, where you can apply for membership.

Hagop Sarkissian
Secretary and Treasurer
ISCWP

 

February 4, 2014 Posted by | ISCWP | no comments

Reminder: Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture on Truth and Argument in Ancient Chinese Philosophy Dec 6 @5:30pm

(A reminder about this upcoming lecture this Friday, December 6.)

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes:

BRYAN VAN NORDEN (Vassar College)

With responses from:

TIMOTHY CONNOLLY (East Stroudsburg University)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion department on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 5:30 for his lecture called:

“Truth and Argument in Ancient Chinese Philosophy”

ABSTRACT:

Most informed students of comparative Chinese-Western philosophy would agree with the following four claims: 

  1. Chinese philosophy is almost always concerned with truths that have ethical and social implications, whereas Western philosophy is sometimes concerned with purely theoretical puzzle-solving.
  2. Nonetheless, historically speaking, most Western philosophers have in fact been motivated to philosophize by ethical and social concerns.  The trend toward theoretical puzzle-solving is largely characteristic of some 20th century philosophy, particularly in the English-speaking world.
  3. Aristotle invented the first form of formal, deductive logic in the West, whereas Chinese philosophers were much more interested in the complexities of ordinary language arguments.
  4. Nonetheless, philosophers in both China and the West give philosophical arguments – and sometimes structurally similar philosophical arguments – without needing to use formal logic.

Controversy remains, though, over the proper way to understand the role of “truth” in Chinese philosophy. Continue reading “Reminder: Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture on Truth and Argument in Ancient Chinese Philosophy Dec 6 @5:30pm”

December 4, 2013 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Lecture | no comments

Louis CK and Mengzi

This clip (below) from Louis CK’s most recent interview on Conan made a splash on social networks.  The whole thing is pretty funny, but the first minute or so reminded me of Mencius 1A7.

Part of what prevents the king in 1A7 from becoming a genuine king in that passage is his disconnect from his subjects.  He feels the suffering of the ox and this tugs at his sprout of compassion.  By contrast, he doesn’t see the suffering of his subjects, so he feels no sympathy for them and fails to treat them benevolently.

Louis CK raises the same general issue for children today and cellphone use. Continue reading “Louis CK and Mengzi”

November 18, 2013 Posted by | Confucianism, Emotions, Mencius, Moral Psychology | no comments

Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture on Truth and Argument in Ancient Chinese Philosophy Dec 6 @5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes:

BRYAN VAN NORDEN (Vassar College)

With responses from:

TIMOTHY CONNOLLY (East Stroudsburg University)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion department on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 5:30 for his lecture called:

“Truth and Argument in Ancient Chinese Philosophy”

ABSTRACT:

Most informed students of comparative Chinese-Western philosophy would agree with the following four claims:  Continue reading “Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture on Truth and Argument in Ancient Chinese Philosophy Dec 6 @5:30pm”

November 18, 2013 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Lecture | 10 comments

Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture on meditation and the mind sciences this Thursday

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY SEMINAR ON COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Invites you to attend an upcoming event at PRINCETON UNIVERSITY hosted by the PRINCETON BUDDHIST STUDIES WORKSHOP

Welcoming: GEORGES DREYFUS (Williams College)

Please join us at Princeton University’s 1879 Hall, Room 137, on Thursday, November 14th, for his lecture called:  “Taking Meditation Seriously (But Not Too Much)”

ABSTRACT: Continue reading “Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture on meditation and the mind sciences this Thursday”

November 13, 2013 Posted by | Buddhism, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Lecture, Philosophy of Mind | no comments

ISCWP Newsletter, Volume 11, Issue 2

Greetings!  Many of you will have received the latest ISCWP Newsletter.  For those who are not on the ISCWP membership list, you can find out about the the society’s activities and events by following the link above and looking through recent newsletters, which are all available there.

If any readers are not members of the ISCWP and would like to join, please click here to be taken to the membership form online, where you can apply for membership.

Hagop Sarkissian
Secretary and Treasurer
ISCWP

 

August 29, 2013 Posted by | ISCWP | no comments

Against Empathy

The following article in this week’s New Yorker by Yale psychologist Paul Bloom has been circulating in social networks:

The Baby in the Well: The Case Against Empathy

Despite what many of us on this blog might initially wonder, the title of the paper does not refer to Mencius’s famous thought experiment.  (Instead, it refers to the famous case of an actual child in a well that led to a worldwide media circus in the 1980s.)  Nonetheless, the article may be of interest to those of us working in Confucian ethics and moral psychology.

Continue reading “Against Empathy”

May 13, 2013 Posted by | Emotions, Ethical Theory, Mencius, Moral Psychology | 3 comments

Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture on Free Will in Indian Philosophy TOMORROW April 26 @5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes JOERG TUSKE,  Department of Philosophy, Salisbury University

With responses from David Nowakowski , Department of Philosophy, Princeton University

Please join us at Columbia University Department of Religion on March 22, 2013 at 5:30pm for his lecture entitled

Free Will in Indian Philosophy

ABSTRACT: Recent discussions of free will in Indian Philosophy have mainly focused on the problem in the context of Buddhist Philosophy. Buddhist philosophers reject the existence of the self and the question is whether they also reject the existence of free will. The answers to this question vary from philosophers who claim that Buddhists have to be determinists to philosophers who argue for some form of compatibilism with regards to Buddhist Philosophy. In my talk I will focus on free will in at least one of the non-Buddhist schools of Indian philosophy, the Navya-Nyāya school. I will argue that while the philosophers of this school believed in the existence of a self, it would not be accurate to label them with one of the Western positions on free will. In fact the whole concept of free will is problematic in the context of Indian philosophy. This also has consequences for the Buddhist positions and how we classify them. Continue reading “Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture on Free Will in Indian Philosophy TOMORROW April 26 @5:30pm”

April 25, 2013 Posted by | Indian Philosophy, Lecture | no comments

Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture on Confucian and Daoist views of agency April 12 @5:45pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes intrepid Warper & Wefter MANYUL IM,  Department of Philosophy, Fairfield University

With responses from Michael Brownstein, Department of Philosophy, New Jersey Institute of Technology

Please join us at Columbia University Department of Religion on April 12, 2013 at 5:45pm for his lecture entitled

Spontaneity, Deliberation, and Valuing in Early China

ABSTRACT: Continue reading “Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture on Confucian and Daoist views of agency April 12 @5:45pm”

April 6, 2013 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucianism, Daoism, Lecture | no comments

Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture on Confucian ethics March 22 @5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes ANDREW LAMBERT,  Department of Philosophy, Wester New England University

With responses from Warren Frisina, Dean of Honors College, Associate Professor of Religion, Hofstra University

Please join us at Columbia University Department of Religion on March 22, 2013 at 5:30pm for his lecture entitled

A Confucian Account of Ethical Obligation?

ABSTRACT: The Confucian doctrine of the five cardinal relationships is often taken as a defining feature of the Confucian tradition, with its emphasis on family life and relationships. However, objections arising from more modern ethical ideals threaten to undermine the doctrine, or at least render it irrelevant to contemporary ethics. I present three such objections.

In seeking to deflect the objections, I suggest a different way of understanding the purpose and effects of the five relationships doctrine. Instead of seeing the doctrine as a constellation of concrete practical norms and duties pertaining to individuals occupying certain social roles and positions, I suggest we understand the five relationships doctrine as a kind of training device, which cultivates a certain kind of personal sensibility. This is a sense of obligation to engage with and find a basis for familiarity with those people encountered in the subject’s local social world.

I argue that when understood in this way, the discourse of the five cardinal relationships is not subject to the three common objections noted above, and presents a distinctive form of ethical obligation.

I finish by locating this account of ethical obligation within a larger moral vision, thereby suggesting this is a genuine form of ethical obligation rather than mere etiquette or psychological conditioning.

Time: 5:30-7:30 pm
Place: Rm. 101 in the Department of Religion 80 Claremont Avenue
http://goo.gl/maps/zfUKH

PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE:
http://www.cbs.columbia.edu/cscp/

March 16, 2013 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucianism, Ethical Theory, Lecture | one comment

Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture on the Bhagavad Gita TODAY March 1 @5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes SANDEEP SREEKUMAR (The City University of New York, Baruch College)

With responses from Gary Ostertag, Director of the Saul Kripke Center at The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Please join us at Columbia University Department of Religion today (March 1, 2013) at 5:30pm for his lecture entitled

The Elimination of Moral Agency: The Trajectory of Krishna’s Argument in the Gita Continue reading “Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture on the Bhagavad Gita TODAY March 1 @5:30pm”

March 1, 2013 Posted by | Indian Philosophy, Lecture | no comments

Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture on the Bhagavad Gita March 1 @5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes SANDEEP SREEKUMAR (The City University of New York, Baruch College)

With responses from Gary Ostertag, Director of the Saul Kripke Center at The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Please join us at Columbia University Department of Religion on February 15, 2013 at 5:30 for his lecture entitled

The Elimination of Moral Agency: The Trajectory of Krishna’s Argument in the Gita

ABSTRACT: I argue here that, seen as a whole (which it rarely is), what appears to be the normative-ethical argument in the Gita is either nothing of the kind or a very odd specimen of the kind, inasmuch as what happens in it is that human moral agency, in the standard sense, is progressively undercut and finally eliminated. Krishna
  • (a) starts off with the usual description of human action oriented towards a particular consequence,
  • (b) moves to the elimination of that consequence and the substitution of other higher-level consequences,
  • (c) analyses those higher-level consequences and strips them of all individual human implications,
  • (d) proceeds to transform human actions themselves into impersonal events, and
  • (e) finally, dissolves the human agent himself into a matrix of causal determinations.
This line of argument, once isolated, must yield certain results: it must say that it is not normativity but strict necessity that governs what we take to be human actions, and it must say that, once this is recognized, moral duties cease to have normative force. And behold, this is exactly what Krishna does say in the end. What we have, as a result, is the elimination of ethics from the world properly grasped and the installation of a form of determinism.
What I now argue is that this manoeuvre is not merely an eliminative metaethical one; it swivels back and re-enters the domain of everyday human moral action and there plays a motivating role. After all, what all this has been in aid of is getting Arjuna to do his duty. There seems to be something like a psychological paradox that this presents: at least so far as the Gita is concerned, the view seems to be that we are likelier to perform our moral duties well not merely if we detach ourselves from the self-regarding consequences of such performance but also if we think that those duties are not really duties in the way that we generally understand them and, moreover, that it is not we who are performing them (or, indeed, any actions) at all.

Time: 5:30-7:30 pm
Place: Rm. 101 in the Department of Religion 80 Claremont Avenue
http://goo.gl/maps/zfUKH

PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE:
http://www.cbs.columbia.edu/cscp/

February 22, 2013 Posted by | Indian Philosophy, Lecture | no comments

Chinese Philosophy – Map of the Profession (Put yourself on the map–literally!)

Dear friends and colleagues,

Some time ago I began making a map of scholars working in Chinese philosophy in New England (i.e. Northeast US).  I then started fanning out to other sections of the U.S., and quickly realized that it would be much better to make this a collaborative effort.  So I would like to crowdsource this project, and have you all contribute to it!  Note: You will need a Google ID / Gmail account to edit the map.  Here is the link:

Chinese Philosophy – Map of the Profession

You can see the current list of scholars in the left hand pane.

We’d like to expand the map to include all academics (faculty and graduate students) as well as independent scholars, working anywhere on the planet.  Here are some instructions on how to add yourself–or someone you know in the field–to the map.  The process should take only a few minutes. Continue reading “Chinese Philosophy – Map of the Profession (Put yourself on the map–literally!)”

February 21, 2013 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Profession | 7 comments

Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture this Friday (02/15) @5:30pm

(Note: This talk was rescheduled owing to the blizzard last week.)

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes JONATHAN C. GOLD (Princeton University)

With responses from Robert Wright, Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, and prize-winning author of such books as The Evolution of God, Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, The Moral Animal, and Three Scientists and Their Gods: Looking for Meaning in an Age of Information.

Please join us at Columbia University Department of Religion on February 15, 2013 at 5:30 for his lecture entitled,

Accepting the Conditions: The Ethical Implications of Vasubandhu’s Buddhist Causal Theory

ABSTRACT: Continue reading “Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture this Friday (02/15) @5:30pm”

February 12, 2013 Posted by | Buddhism, Comparative philosophy, Lecture | no comments

ISCWP Newsletter, Volume 11, Issue 1

Greetings!  Many of you will have received the latest ISCWP Newsletter.  For those who are not on the ISCWP membership list, you can find out about the the society’s activities and events by following the link above and looking through recent newsletters, which are all available there.

If any readers are not members of the ISCWP and would like to join, please click here to be taken to the membership form online, where you can apply for membership.

Hagop Sarkissian
Secretary and Treasurer
ISCWP

January 29, 2013 Posted by | ISCWP, Profession | no comments

New website for the ISCWP

Hi everyone,

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I wanted to announce a new website for the International Society for Comparative Studies of Chinese and Western Philosophy:

www.iscwp.org

Check it out.  If you’re not yet a member, click her to find out more on how to join the society, or click here to read more about our recent conferences and activities.

Oh–and if you already have a link to the our old website on another site or blog, we’d appreciate it if you could update your links.

Hagop

October 4, 2012 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, ISCWP, Profession | no comments

ISCWP Newsletter Volume 10, Issue 1

Greetings!  Many of you will have recently received the latest ISCWP Newsletter.  For those who are not on the ISCWP membership list, you can find out about the the society’s activities and events by following the link above and looking through recent newsletters, which are all available there.

If any readers are not members of the ISCWP and would like to join, please send me a statement including the following contents: your name, academic affiliation (if applicable), research/interest areas, contact information, and your desire to become a member of the ISCWP.

Hagop Sarkissian
Secretary and Treasurer
ISCWP

February 2, 2012 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学 | no comments

ISCWP Newsletter 9.2

Greetings!  Many of you will have recently received the latest ISCWP Newsletter.  For those who are not on the ISCWP membership list, you can find out about the the society’s activities and events by following the link above.

If any readers are not members of the ISCWP and would like to join, please send me a statement including the following contents: your name, academic affiliation (if applicable), research/interest areas, contact information, and your desire to become a member of the ISCWP.

Hagop Sarkissian
Secretary and Treasurer
ISCWP

September 1, 2011 Posted by | ISCWP | no comments

I am virtuous, and I hate you.

Actually, both parts of that conjunction are false: I am far from virtuous, and I probably don’t hate you.  (Really I don’t.)  But say I were virtuous: what would be the problem with me hating some people?  Would feeling hatred toward some individuals detract from my overall moral standing?  And forget about poor old un-virtuous me.  What about someone who, by all accounts, really was virtuous–Confucius.  Would it detract from his moral standing if he hated some people?

Continue reading “I am virtuous, and I hate you.”

June 14, 2011 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucianism, Confucius | 62 comments

Translate This!

I’m sure many of us have this practice: You see a new translation of a text that is near and dear to you, and the first thing you do is pick it up and flip to those handful of passages that you think are crucial in understanding the text to see how the translator has parsed them.  (I can’t be the only one, right?)

One such passage (for me, anyway) is 1.12 in the Analects.  Here it is:

有子曰:「禮之用,和為貴。先王之道,斯為美;小大由之。有所不行,知和而和,不以禮節之,亦不可行也。」

Here are two ways of understanding the first part of this passage. Continue reading “Translate This!”

February 6, 2010 Posted by | Confucianism | 32 comments

Teaching Yang Zhu

In my Classical Chinese Philosophy class I like to include some discussion of why Yang Zhu was seen as such a powerful adversary for Mengzi and the Confucians, but given the paucity of texts the task is not an easy one. Continue reading “Teaching Yang Zhu”

November 23, 2009 Posted by | Daoism, Pedagogy | 25 comments