Category Archives: China

Postdoc at Zhejiang University

A Two-year Postdoctoral Program in Zhejiang University (Fall 2021, Hangzhou, China)

The Department of Philosophy in Zhejiang University, in collaboration with the English Department of Zhejiang University City College, is looking for a young postdoctoral research scholar (below 35) who is specialized in the study of Christianity in China in the early modern period, comparative religion, and/or Chinese religion(s). The scholar should have a good command of Chinese, English and some command of other Asian or European languages, such as Japanese, French etc. Highly motivated to do research, the scholar should collaborate with other scholars and hold a good publication record in top-tier journals. Excellent interpersonal, oral and written communication skills are also expected. The annual stipend is approximately $45,000 (270,000-290,000RMB), with accommodation and other employment benefits provided. For further details, please contact Dr. Amy Yu Fu at fuy@zucc.edu.cn (subject: post-doc)

Year-end Review from Berggruen China Center

Sent by the The Berggruen Research Center, Peking University:

The year has been challenging but not without inspiration. The Center’s first book, Intelligence and Wisdom: AI Meets Chinese Philosophers, was published by CITIC Press Group in February and has sold over 6300 copies. In March, while promoting the book, we moved all the Centers activities online. We hosted two workshops on “AI Narratives in China”, a collaboration with Cambridge Universitys Leverhulme Center, which explores the effects of local culture and historical narratives on the reception of AI in China. We also held three closed-door workshops for our “Facial Recognition and Privacy” program, which focuses on how facial recognition policies can best reflect cultural values and social practices. The Berggruen Seminar series was relaunched online in July, and we have since hosted four events: “Confucian Common Sense Meets the AI Revolution”, “What Should Care Robots Care About?”, “Digital Personality”, and “AI, Emotion, and Ethics”.

We also launched a new online public program, the Global Thinkers series, which featured Jared Diamond at its inaugural event on risk management in coping with the global pandemic.

In October, the Center launched a new online product, Ruin, which brings together translated articles from Berggruen Institute’s journal Noema and other original contributions sourced locally. We hope that Ruin becomes a public square for creative thinkers where innovative ideas are recognized, debated, enriched, and propagated. We also launched an account on video platform Bilibili, attracting more than 40,000 views over three live streamed events.

The Center welcomed a new cohort of Fellows this year: Bai Shunong, Professor of Biology at Peking University; Duan Weiwen, Professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Hao Jingfang, science fiction author and researcher; and Lu Qiaoying and Sabastian Sunday Grève, Assistant Professors at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Peking University.

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Article of Interest: Batsch, “The Rationality Wars”

Readers may be interested in: Shadi Bartsch, “The Rationality Wars: The Ancient Greeks and the Counter-Enlightenment in Contemporary China,” History & Theory 59:4 (2020). Here’s the abstract:

Amid contemporary discussions about the relationship of logic to knowing, an entirely different conversation about the moral status of rationality is taking place between Chinese and Western thinkers. Although most would agree that deductive thought has been a highly privileged feature of the Western philosophical tradition since Plato (for good or bad), the question of its role in Confucian thought is less clear—and considerations of this topic tend to be highly charged. In turn, the question of whether the West has been tarred by a Weberian descent into a merely instrumental form of rationality has emerged as a hot topic in Chinese scholarship. However, the question merely supplies a way of engaging in cross‐cultural comparisons that are political rather than genuinely philosophical in nature. This article explores the sparring over terminology and concepts that characterizes this recent trend in scholarship. Ultimately, it suggests that instead of Chinese scholars appropriating the ideas of Western authors in order to raise anti‐Western specters of spiritual derangement, both traditions would be better off discarding this outdated and essentializing terminology in the first place.

CEACOP Workshop: Modern Confucianism between Philosophy and Sociology

The Center for East Asian and Comparative Philosophy (CEACOP) at the City University of Hong Kong is organising a workshop on 10 Dec in which Prof. Ralph Weber and his team will present their projects on 20th century Confucianism. Please find the event poster here with information about how to register. All are welcome!

New CCT Issue on Chen Jiaying

Ralph Weber and Xu Zhenxu have guest edited a volume of Contemporary Chinese Thought on the philosophy of Chen Jiaying. Here is the link: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/mcsp20/51/3-4. The Abstract begins: “The thought of Chen Jiaying offers a possibility of philosophy in China that is not confined to the mere expression of ancient Chinese tradition nor the simple transplanting of Western philosophy.”

Confucianism as Virtue Ethics in the Sinophone World

Almost 15 years ago when I spent a year in Beijing, much of it spent writing Sagehood, there was relatively little engagement with the idea that Confucian ethics might be helpfully understood through the lens of “virtue ethics.” Quite a lot has changed since then in the Chinese-speaking philosophical world. (OK, that’s an understatement; I’m confining myself to the question of virtue ethics for today.) Consider these 2020 articles:

  • Tang Wenming 唐文明, “美德伦理学、儒家传统与现代社会的普遍困境——以陈来《儒学美德论》为中心的讨论 [Virtue Ethics, The Confucian Tradition, and the Universal Predicament of Modern Societies—Taking Chen Lai’s Confucian Virtue Theory as Focus]” (On-line publication on 《儒家网》 here)
  • Yang Guorong 杨国荣, “德性、知识与哲学进路——由黄勇新著《当代美德伦理——古代儒家的贡献》引发的若干思考 [Virtue, Knowledge, and the Philosophical Road Ahead—Some Thoughts Prompted by Huang Yong’s Contemporary Virtue Ethics—Contributions from Ancient Confucianism]” (On-line publication on 《儒家网》 here)

Each of these essays, in turn, reacts to a fairly recent book-length publication, also in Chinese, exploring the subject in depth. (Details on the contents of Chen Lai’s book are here; Huang Yong’s are here.)

You might reasonably expect given what I’ve written so far that I’d now go on to explain and engage with the details of Prof. Tang and Prof. Yang’s take on virtue ethics and Confucianism. Alas, it’s all I can do right now to find time to share this much! Perhaps after classes are over….

CEACOP On-Line Conference on Confucian Pluralism

The Center for East Asian and Comparative Philosophy (CEACOP) at the City Univeristy of Hong Kong will host an on-line conference on “The Problem of Pluralism in Confucian Political Theory” on October 23-24, with an outstanding line-up of young scholars. More information is available here.

Three upcoming on-line talks via Rutgers

I’d like to bring to your attention three upcoming talks at Rutgers Center for Chinese Studies. They are open to the public, but registration is required. Click on the titles to get more info and to register:
1. Civility and Manners in These Times: Early Confucian Strategies and Sensibilities (Amy Olberding, University of Oklahoma), Thursday, October 22, 04:30 – 06:00pm EDT
2. Beaconism and the Trumpian Metamorphosis of Chinese Liberal Intellectuals (Yao LIN, Yale Law School), Friday, October 30, 01:00pm EDT
3. Translating Tianxia: Confronting Sinophobic Narratives and Reimagining Cosmopolitan Ideals (Joseph Harroff, Rutgers University), Wednesday, November 18, 01:00pm EDT