Category Archives: Asian Philosophy

A talk on Yogācāra Buddhist Philosophy at Rutgers tonight (April 21, 7-8:30pm EDT)

It’s a bit last minute, but readers of this blog might be interested in the following talk tonight:

Can Ultimate Reality Change? Controversies Regarding the Yogic Practice School’s Path to Awakening” (John Powers, Deakin University, Australia)

Abstract:

The Yogic Practice School (Yogācāra) is one of the two main traditions of Indian Buddhist philosophy. Its luminaries made significant contributions to epistemology and logic, and they developed a sophisticated vision of the path to awakening aimed at transforming pathological mental patterns and developing attitudes conducive to more skillful engagement with other beings and the world. One of the most important Yogācāra doctrines is the “three natures”: the imputational, the other dependent, and the ultimately real. The first refers to false notions imputed to the phenomena of experience; the second involves viewing phenomena as arising in dependence on causes and conditions, which is correct on the conventional level but mistaken from an ultimate perspective. The ultimately real nature is how sages view things: without the false overlay of the imputational and free from subject-object dichotomy. I will begin with an overview of the three natures and how they function within the Yogācāra soteriological system, and will then discuss how the third—the ultimately real—has largely been mistranslated and misconstrued by contemporary scholars who work on the tradition. This is more than just termininological quibbling because correct understanding of the ultimately real is crucial to the entire Yogācāra project, and it has ramifications for Buddhist practice more generally.

Bio:

John Powers is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities and Professor of Religion at Deakin University in Australia. He is the author of 18 books and more than 100 articles and book chapters, mainly on Buddhist philosophy and history of ideas, as well as environmental history, human rights, and gender, and propaganda. His books include A Bull of A Man: Images of Masculinity, Sex, and the Body in Indian Buddhism (Harvard, 2009) and Dignāga’s Investigation of the Percept and Its Philosophical Legacy (with Douglas Duckworth, David Eckel, Jay Garfield, Sonam Thakchoe, and Yeshes Thabkhas. Oxford, 2017).

Here’s the link to register: bit.ly/3sCe2JH

On-line Lecture: Tillemans, Methodology: Meditations of a philosophical Buddhologist

The Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia (IKGA) at the  Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, is hosting a series of lectures titled “Method and Region.”

The aim of this initiative is to reflect on the relationship between method and region. Here, methodcomprises the entire apparatus that enables us to conduct scholarly studies, including non-European theories and concepts. Region stands for what is contextually specific, such as language, history or thought. The full program is available here.

The first lecture in the series will be on Tuesday, 30 March, 18:00–19:30 CET:

Tom J.F. Tillemans (Emeritus – University of Lausanne) — Methodology: Meditations of a philosophical Buddhologist

Topic: There was a famous incident in the 1980s that sent shivers down spines, and probably still does. A prominent Princeton philosopher put a notice on his office door that philosophy students should just say “No” to the history of philosophy – Western and Eastern alike, I suppose. It may well be that the Princeton philosopher was a bit misinterpreted, but the echo of Nancy Reagan’s right-wing method to combat drug addiction – just say “No” – was unmistakable. I am going to turn the tables and look at some arguments by historians for nay-saying to philosophy, in particular those of historians of Asian thought and specialists in Buddhist Studies. Such arguments, too, don’t fare well. I will close with an instructive example from another field, linguistics, and will add a few morals to the story.

The lecture will be held online and is open to the public. To register, please write to office.ikga(at)oeaw.ac.at.

Upcoming lectures in the series Method and Region are:

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Opportunity: 2 Courses at Wesleyan next academic year

During Academic Year 2021-22, the Wesleyan philosophy department would like to fill two “per-course” (i.e., single course) teaching slots in Asian philosophy. This most likely will be one course in the fall of 2021 and one course in the spring of 2022, though we have some flexibility. We probably want to offer “Classical Chinese philosophy” in the fall and are wide open in the spring, but this  too could be negotiated.
Anyone who is interested should send me a cover letter describing what you would like to teach and something about your teaching experience, as well as a CV.
There is no hard deadline, but anyone who contacts me by February 15 is assured full consideration.
Wesleyan is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or other legally protected status. We welcome applications from women and historically underrepresented minority groups. Inquiries regarding Title IX, Section 504, or any other non-discrimination policies should be directed to: Alison Williams, VP for Equity & Inclusion, Title IX and ADA/504 Coordinator, 860-685-4771, awilliams@wesleyan.edu.

ToC: Asian Studies Vol 9 No 1 (2021): Special Issue: The Manifold Images of Asian History

Asian Studies Vol 9 No 1 (2021): Special Issue: The Manifold Images of Asian History

The full issue can be downloaded at the above link. Articles include “Confucian Humanism and the Importance of Female Education,” “The Problem of the Authenticity of the Aesthetic Concept qiyun shengdong: Xu Fuguan’s Analysis and Interpretation,” and many others.

Call for Papers for Midwest Conference on Chinese Thought (Virtual)

16th Annual Midwest Conference on Chinese Thought
Wright State University
30 April-1 May 2021
The Midwest Conference on Chinese Thought was created to foster dialogue and interaction between scholars and students working on Chinese thought across different disciplines and through a variety of approaches. Submissions are invited for papers on any aspect of Chinese thought as well as papers dealing with comparative issues that engage Chinese perspectives.


This year’s conference will be held virtually on Friday, April 30 and Saturday, May 1 and hosted by Wright State University. Our keynote speaker will be Robin R. Wang, Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University.

Professor Wang will present “Dao of Rou 柔 (Suppleness): Proprioceptive Knowledge and Its Epistemological Value in Early Daoism”:

Through Chinese intellectual history, early Daoism, a Dao-based and inspired teaching and practice, has been considered the philosophy of rou 柔 (suppleness, pliant, yielding, softness), which the Daodejing couples with water, the infant, and the feminine. A popular Chinese binary expression of culture, gen 根 (root/foundation) and hun 魂 (soul/spirit), takes Dao as the root of Daoist teaching and rou as a spirit of Lao-Zhuang. However, rou has often been understood only as de (德) moral virtue or shu (术) strategy, something more practical than conceptual. This talk will respond to this theoretical gap and argue for rou as a form of proprioceptive awareness or bodily knowledge that shapes a cognitive style and an epistemological stance to guide our rational effort, illumination, and well-being. More importantly, this rou style of knowing embodies the epistemic value, such as intellectual humility, openness, receptivity and resilience, for a cognitive success.
Similar to previous conferences, we anticipate selecting 12-16 papers for presentation. For consideration submit a 1-page abstract to Judson Murray at judson.murray@wright.edu by January 31, 2021 for blind review. For more information, visit the conference website here.

ToC: Asian Philosophy 30:4

The latest issue of Asian Philosophy (30:4) has been published. The Table of Contents:

Reconciling Confucianism with rule of law: Confucianisation or self-restraint?
Elton Chan

The spaciousness of self-awareness: A phenomenological account of self-reflexivity in Patañjali´s Yoga philosophy
Ana Funes Maderey

Is dharma-nature identical to ignorance? A study of ‘ji ’ in early Tiantai Buddhism
Jenny Hung

The inversion of values and the renunciation of desire and love: an investigation through Max Scheler and Wang Yangming
Yinghua Lu

Xunzi: Moral education and transformation
Xiufen Lu

The problem of evil in the Neo-Confucian context: Wang Yangming’s view on evil
Xiaomei Yang

New Book: Chung on Wang Yangming in Korea

Rowman & Littlefield has published Edward Chung, The Great Synthesis of Wang Yangming Neo-Confucianism in Korea. The author adds that for those colleagues who would like to purchase it at the author’s discount (30%), its special promotion code is LEX30AUTH20. The table of contents follows.

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Critical Theory From and Beyond the Margins: Public Online Workshop

CRITICAL THEORY FROM AND BEYOND THE MARGINS

24 OCTOBER 2020, SATURDAY | 10:00 AM TO 6:00 PM (UTC +8)
ZOOM MEETING- ID: 976 4344 1616 | PASSCODE: 241
HTTPS://UMAC.ZOOM.US/J/97643441616?PWD=BTJYBLH5NMTNSDFFA2NML285WDJLUT0924

Critical theory is a Western, and distinctly European, intellectual tradition that drew its normative resources from the social and political events that transpired in Europe over the course of the 20th century. It is relevant to ask the question whether, as a critical-practical
tradition, critical theory has anything to contribute outside the Western-European context, given the emergence of globalization and the issues that arose with it. For some, the Eurocentrism of critical theory is symptomatic of its very own crisis, one which challenges the universality of its normative claims, e.g., the abolition of social injustice. Is it possible for critical theory to overcome its Eurocentrism and, therefore, its own crisis? The irony is that critical theory is only able to defend the universality of its normative claims when it is able to
renew itself. If it is at all possible to renew critical theory, what does this renewal entail? The workshop will pursue these questions by expanding the scope of traditional critical theory, especially, but not exclusively, by drawing on critical perspectives on modern societies and
emancipation movements that have originated in Asia.

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Postdocs on “new narratives” in history of philosophy

The “Extending New Narratives in the History of Philosophy” project has announced two postdoc opportunities for scholars interested in working on neglected philosophers — including neglected Asian philosophers (male or female). The historical period of the grant is currently focused on is 1400-1940. Please see here for more information.