CFP: 2024 Meeting of the Northeast Conference on Chinese Thought

We are pleased to announce that the 2024 meeting of the Northeast Conference on Chinese Thought (NECCT) will be held on November 2-3 at Baruch College, City University of New York. This annual meeting is an opportunity for scholars of Chinese thought (broadly construed) from across the northeast US (also somewhat broadly construed) to gather and share their research. As we are interested in generating interdisciplinary discussions, we welcome work of any disciplinary/methodological orientation that bears on Chinese thought. 

  • When: Saturday, November 2-Sunday, November 3, 2024
  • Where: Baruch College, CUNY, New York, NY
  • Format: Approximately fifteen thirty-minute slots. We ask that presenters plan for a twenty-minute presentation and allow for a ten-minute Q&A.
  • Meals, Travel, and Accommodations: Presenters will be provided with lunch and dinner at the conference. Presenters are expected to pay for their own travel and accommodations.
  • Submissions: Please email your paper proposals by July 31st to with the subject line “NECCT 2024 Submission”. The paper proposal should be a one-page document with a title and abstract. It should be anonymized for review. We expect to have the schedule finalized by August 15th.

We are grateful for the generous financial support of CUNY Graduate Center and the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences at Baruch College. 

Please direct any questions about the conference to Hagop Sarkissian ( or Wenqing Zhao ( 

We look forward to hearing from you!

NECCT Organizing Committee:
Stephen Angle (Wesleyan University)
Mick Hunter (Yale University)
Andrew Lambert (CUNY College of Staten Island)
Ellen Neskar (Sarah Lawrence College)
Thomas Radice (Southern Connecticut State University)
Hagop Sarkissian (CUNY Graduate Center/Baruch College CUNY)
Christopher Yang (Brown University)
Wenqing Zhao (Baruch College, CUNY)

DECEMBER 1st: “Mind the Gap: Methodological Pluralism in Comparative Philosophy”–Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy


Welcomes you to an IN-PERSON meeting:

Stephen Angle (Wesleyan University): « Mind the Gap: Methodological Pluralism in Comparative Philosophy  »

With responses from Katja Vogt (Columbia University)

ABSTRACT: Despite the political polarization that characterizes many of our societies and much of the world, comparative philosophy — which depends on crossing various kinds of boundaries — is intellectually and professionally doing reasonably well. Exciting new work continues to appear and venues for publication and discussion (print and digital, in person and on-line) are proliferating. Another thing that is proliferating, though, is names for what it is we are doing. Are comparative, cross-cultural, intercultural, blended, and fusion philosophy all the same thing? What do they share and where do they diverge, and why? Can we identify a distinctive project of comparative philosophy and say why it is important? Based on a broad survey of approaches, in this essay I offer answers to these questions. I maintain that whenever we do philosophy by drawing on at least two significantly different traditions of philosophy, we are doing comparative philosophy. Unpacking some of the key words in this definition will enable me to clarify some persistent confusions as well as to stress the constitutive gamble that lies at the heart of all comparative philosophy. I identify three different ways to do comparative philosophy well—Comparison Philosophy, Rooted Global Philosophy, and Emergent Intercultural Philosophy—and argue that which method to choose depends both on the values that motivate one’s inquiry and on the pragmatic situation that frames one’s work.

DATE: December 1st, 2023
TIME: 5:30 pm EST
LOCATION: Philosophy Hall, Room 716, Columbia University, 1150 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10027

Oct 27–Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy: David Wong  (Duke University) “Zhuangzi on Not Following the Leader”


Welcomes you to an IN-PERSON meeting:

David Wong  (Duke University): «Zhuangzi on Not Following the Leader»

With responses from Christopher Gowans (Fordham University)

ABSTRACT: I begin with identifying Confucian metaphors of leadership for the way the mind (or the heart-mind) should lead the whole person. I then discuss how the Daoist text Zhuangzi criticizes this conception of the mind’s leadership as too fixed and rigid–unresponsive to the fluidity and unpredictability of the world. The text suggests as an alternative a way that the whole embodied person can fluidly respond to the world. This alternative ties into some contemporary work, scientific and philosophical, of how the whole person and not just the deliberating mind processes information from the world. I end by discussing how the critique of the fixed and rigid mind can suggest alternative models of political governance that distribute and integrate guidance throughout the body politic.

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Sept 15–Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy: Jing Hu  (Concordia University) “War and Shame—Debate on the Appropriate Response to Insults between the Confucians and their Interlocutors”


Welcomes you to an IN-PERSON meeting:

Jing Hu  (Concordia University): « War and Shame –A Debate on the Appropriate Response to Insults between the Confucians and their Interlocutors »

With responses from Nalei Chen (New York University)

ABSTRACT: What is an appropriate response to humiliating treatments such as insults? This question is not only relevant to today’s discourse but has also piqued the curiosity of thinkers in classical Chinese philosophy. The Warring States period debate regarding whether one’s inner sense of shame can shield one from insulting situations and from experiencing shame is frequently presented as a one-sided narrative that focuses on the Confucian texts. Meanwhile, the views of their rival thinkers, such as the Daoist, legalist, or much-neglected Songzi (3rd century BCE), are rarely the focus of attention. This paper brings Songzi, a key player in the debate of emotions as responses to external triggers, into the picture and restores the historical intellectual discourse over the topic of what constitutes an appropriate response to humiliating situations such as insults. More importantly, I point out the philosophical significance of this debate, namely how Songzi prompts Xunzi to respond to an ambiguity within the Confucian doctrine: The early Confucians appear to think that an individual’s internal virtues can isolate and shield one from hostile external stimuli while also maintaining that the external environment impacts one’s moral cultivation and moral life in significant ways. Xunzi’s strategic move, I argue, is to give credit to both an inner sense of shame and the function of external stimuli in inducing negative emotions, thus making an important philosophical concession compared to Confucius and Mencius.

DATE: September 15, 2023
TIME: 5:30 pm EST
LOCATION: Philosophy Hall, Room 716, Columbia University, 1150 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10027

Note Regarding Donations: Due to COVID-19, donations are only accepted through Columbia University’s secure online giving form, Giving to Columbia.

Accessibility Statement: Columbia University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. The University Seminars participants with dis- abilities who anticipate needing accommodations or who have questions about physical access may contact the Office of Disability Services at 212.854.2388 or Disability accommodations, including sign-language interpreters, are available on request. Requests for accommodations must be made two weeks in advance. On campus, seminar participants with disabilities should alert a Public Safety Officer  if they need assistance accessing campus.





March 17, 2023–Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy–Wenqing Zhao (Whitman College): « From Conceptual Misalignment to Conceptual Engineering: A Case Study on Emotion from Chinese Philosophy »


Welcomes you to an IN-PERSON meeting:

Wenqing Zhao (Whitman College): « From Conceptual Misalignment to Conceptual Engineering: A Case Study on Emotion from Chinese Philosophy »

With responses from Andrew Lambert (College of Staten Island, CUNY)

ABSTRACT: Conceptual misalignment is a pervasive phenomenon in the studies of Non-Western philosophy and the History of Philosophy (NW&HP). However, conceptual misalignment is often undetected, unsuspected, or seen as a hurdle that NW&HP materials need to overcome to contribute to contemporary discussions. Specifically, conceptual misalignment refers to the following: In the process of crystalizing NW&HP materials, a linguistic coordination of concepts is formed between the speaker, i.e., NW&HP, and its context of contemporary anglophone philosophy. However, in philosophically meaningful ways, the original NW&HP concept and its anglophone counterpart misalign. This misalignment is particularly intricate and hard to detect when it comes to emotion concepts, as they are thought to involve phenomenal and/or intentional features. Through investigating the concept of emotion in Chinese philosophy, I propose a refocusing on conceptual misalignment as a method of cross-cultural comparative and history of philosophy. Moreover, I argue that conceptual misalignment is an important resource for contemporary conceptual engineering and amelioration projects.

DATE: March 17th, 2023
TIME: 5:30 – 7:30 pm EST
LOCATION: Philosophy Hall, Columbia University, 1150 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10027 Continue reading

David Wong’s new ‘Moral Relativism and Pluralism’ available for free download until Jan 20

Readers of this blog might be interested in David Wong’s new Moral Relativism and Pluralism by Cambridge University Press. It is available to download for free directly from CUP until January 20. If you’re interested, don’t delay!

It’s part of the Cambridge Elements series (specifically, Elements in Ethics), so it’s meant to be a succinct yet authoritative guide to the topic. Here is a summary of the book:

The argument for metaethical relativism, the view that there is no single true or most justified morality, is that it is part of the best explanation of the most difficult moral disagreements. The argument for this view features a comparison between traditions that highly value relationship and community and traditions that highly value personal autonomy of the individual and rights. It is held that moralities are best understood as emerging from human culture in response to the need to promote and regulate interpersonal cooperation and internal motivational coherence in the individual. The argument ends in the conclusion that there is a bounded plurality of true and most justified moralities that accomplish these functions. The normative implications of this form of metaethical relativism are explored, with specific focus on female genital cutting and abortion.


Friday Oct 14, Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy: Sin yee Chan – «How to nurture compassion?—Some lessons from Asian philosophical traditions»


Welcomes you to an IN-PERSON meeting:

Sin yee Chan (University of Vermont) « How to nurture compassion?—Some lessons from Asian philosophical traditions »
With responses from Timothy Connolly (East Stroudsburg University)

ABSTRACTRecent philosophical discussions on compassion focus on the value and the nature of compassion as an emotion. Ancient Asian philosophical traditions such as Confucianism and Buddhism, however, emphasize compassion as a character trait that should be nurtured. This paper examines the insights drawn from these traditions to help inform the nurturing of compassion. For example, is empathy a necessary tool?  What is the role of love and care?  Does self-reflection contribute to the process?

DATE: October 14th, 2022
TIME: 5:30 – 7:30 pm EST
LOCATION: Faculty House, Columbia University, 64 Morningside Dr, New York, NY 10027

Dinner will be kindly offered by the Columbia University Seminars. 

RSVP is required for dinner. Please email Lucilla with eating requirements at 

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Job Opening: The City University of New York, Baruch College

The Department of Philosophy at Baruch College, CUNY, is seeking applicants for an Assistant Professor position, tenure track. The position will involve teaching introductory-level undergraduate courses as well as elective courses in the applicant’s area of expertise. We are seeking a philosopher with a strong research profile.

Area of Specialization: Non-Western Philosophy OR Value Theory
Area of Competence: Philosophy of Mind & Psychology (preferred)

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MARCH 25, 2022: Li Zehou on the ‘Deep Structures of Confucianism’ (Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy)


Presents: Li Zehou on the ‘Deep Structures of Confucianism’

Lead Presenter: Andrew Lambert (College of Staten Island, CUNY)
Discussants:  Robert A. Carleo III (East China Normal University), Emma Buchtel (Hong Kong Education University)

ABSTRACT: Contemporary Chinese intellectual Li Zehou’s cross-cultural methodology blends traditional Confucian thought with thinkers such as Kant and Marx. This seminar addresses the question of culture and its role in Li’s thought. Li has made several claims about how a settled cultural tradition influences the subjects within it. One such claim concerns the existence of ‘deep structures’ of Confucianism, as outlined in this preparatory reading. The idea is that culture, history, and social practice (collectively, a tradition) shape human psychology (including the formation of concepts, emotions, and values) in ways not always apparent to the subject. Within the Chinese tradition, Confucianism constitutes such a deep structure, and its effects cannot be captured by textual studies alone, nor studies of material culture. Rather, the deep structure is articulated in terms of an emergent shared subjectivity. Such traditions can evolve and ultimately dissolve; nevertheless, their effects are deep-rooted. This seminar meeting will aim to identify the parameters of Li’s ambitious theoretical framework and its plausibility, and to explore connections with current work in related fields, such as cultural and empirical psychology.

DATE: March 25, 2022
TIME: 6:30 – 8:00 pm EST

This seminar will take place via Zoom (please scroll down for the full invitation).

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Book Symposium–Tao Jiang’s Origins of Moral-Political Philosophy in Early China

Date: 4 February 2022 (Friday)
Time: 09:00 (HKT-Hong Kong Time)
***PLEASE NOTE: For those in North America, this will be 8:00pm EST on Thursday, February 3***
Venue: Online (This talk will be held via Zoom–registration required–see below.)
Moderator: Sungmoon Kim, City University of Hong Kong

This book symposium comprises a précis of Tao Jiang’s Origins of Moral-Political Philosophy in Early China (Oxford University Press, 2021) together with three critical commentaries on different aspects of the book by Karyn Lai, Hui-chieh Loy, and Hagop Sarkissian, and the author’s replies.

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