Warp, Weft, and Way

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

Confucius is Philosopher of the Month

Confucius is OUP’s Philosopher of the Month — which means that certain chapters and articles are available for free. More info is available here.

October 9, 2017 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucius | no comments

Paperback of Ni, Understanding the Analects

SUNY Press recently published the paperback version of Peimin Ni’s Understanding the Analects of Confucius: A New Translation of the Lunyu with Annotations.

October 9, 2017 Posted by | Analects, Books of Interest, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucius, Translation | no comments

Body and Cosmos in China: An Interdisciplinary Symposium in Honor of Nathan Sivin

The Department of East Asian Languages & Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania is delighted to announce an interdisciplinary symposium in honor of Nathan Sivin at Perry World House, 3803 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104, on Oct. 14-15, 2017.

The symposium is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required.  Just click here if you’d like to attend:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/body-and-cosmos-in-china-an-interdisciplinary-symposium-in-honor-of-nathan-sivin-tickets-37455848451.

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September 5, 2017 Posted by | Academia, Asian Philosophy, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Chinese Texts, Comparative philosophy, Conference, Confucianism, Confucius, Cosmology, Daoism, Events, Han Dynasty, History, History of Philosophy, Huainanzi, Human nature, Medicine, Metaphysics, Methodology, Mysticism, Nature, Philosophy in China, Religion, Taoism | one comment

New Book: Hunter, Confucius Beyond the Analects

Michael (“Mick”) Hunter’s new book, Confucius Beyond the Analects (Brill 2017) has now been published. Congratulations, Mick! More information is here and below.

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February 18, 2017 Posted by | Analects, Books of Interest, China, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucius | 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.”

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

APA Op-Ed Winners Include Van Norden, “Confucius on Gay Marriage”

The APA has announced the winners of its 2016 Op-Ed Contest — see here — and among them is Bryan Van Norden, writing on “Confucius on Gay Marriage.” Congratulations, Bryan!

August 25, 2016 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucius, Contemporary Confucianism | no comments

The Roots of a Reading

Here and there I have argued that Confucius did not think family virtue is the root of ren 仁; far from it. In defense of that claim I’ll now try to answer the question: how then do so many scholars think he did?

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August 5, 2016 Posted by | Analects, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucius, Filial piety, Roger Ames | 6 comments

Analects 1.6, and how Confucius envisioned moral progress

Confucius’ remark at Analects 1.6 is often cited to show that he thought proper moral development begins with filial piety and then extends that attitude to ever-larger groups of people (ever less intensely).  I shall argue that the remark does not display such a view.  Confucius did not in general envision moral progress as extension.

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July 29, 2016 Posted by | Analects, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucianism, Confucius, Education Models, Filial piety, Moral Psychology, Ritual, Roger Ames, Self-Cultivation, Virtue | 4 comments

Confucius on the family as model

Many hold that for Confucius the family is the model for organized political society in some sense; that Confucius regarded the norms for relations beyond the family as largely based on the norms for relations with kin.  Here I follow Joseph Chan in challenging that view.

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June 17, 2016 Posted by | Analects, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucianism, Confucius, Filial piety, Roger Ames, Role Ethics | 22 comments

The meaning of Analects 2.21

Someone said to Confucius, “Master, why don’t you engage in government?” The Master said, “The Book of Documents says, ‘Filial! But be filial, and a friend to your brothers, thus contributing to government.’ Why then do that other kind of ‘engaging in government’?”

或謂孔子曰:「子奚不為政?」子曰:「《》云:『孝乎惟孝、友于兄弟,施於有政。』是亦為政,奚其為為政?」

I’ll suppose for the sake of argument that the reported exchange is authentic, and argue that it is not significant evidence of Confucius’ views.  Confucius is not aiming to communicate his views here.

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May 27, 2016 Posted by | Analects, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Chinese Texts, Confucianism, Confucius, Filial piety, Politics, Roger Ames, Role Ethics | 7 comments

Is Analects 1.2 about family?

Here are some reasons to think that Youzi did not regard family as the root of humanity or of the Way.  (I used to think he did.)

Most of my argument focuses on defending a view held by Soothill, Leys, Chin, and maybe Lau and Slingerland: that by 弟 in Analects 1.2, Youzi meant elder-respect, a virtue commonly associated specifically with life outside the family.  It would follow that according to 1.2, only one of the two parts of the root of humanity is specifically a family virtue.  If 孝 and 弟 have something relevantly in common for Youzi, family isn’t it.

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May 16, 2016 Posted by | Analects, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Chinese Texts, Confucianism, Confucius, Education Models, Filial piety, Moral Psychology, Roger Ames, Role Ethics, Ruism, Self-Cultivation | 22 comments

Did Confucius think our virtues are contagious?

Did Confucius think that if one of us has general virtue, or some particular virtue such as courage or filial piety, that general or particular virtue will have a substantial tendency to spread directly to the people around her, even if she holds no government position?

Here I’ll survey Confucius’ statements in the Analects and conclude that the answer is No. Confucius probably did not hold that view.  (I gave the opposite reading in both my published papers on Chinese philosophy.)

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May 9, 2016 Posted by | Analects, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Chinese Texts, Confucianism, Confucius, Filial piety, Moral Psychology, Political Theory, Virtue | 23 comments

New Book: Traces of the Sage

James A. Flath, Traces of the Sage: Monument, Materiality, and the First Temple of Confucius, Honolulu, University of Hawai’i Press, 2016. 

Traces of the Sage is a comprehensive account of the history and material culture of the Temple of Confucius (Kong Temple) in Qufu, Shandong.

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May 2, 2016 Posted by | Books of Interest, China, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucianism, Confucius, Religion | no comments

Time-sensitive question re Confucius quote

A writer from National Geographic has contacted me with a question, and I wonder if anyone out there has a better answer than I have so far come up with. She is working on an article that uses a quote widely attributed to Confucius, and wants to confirm the attribution. It is: “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” One source that I found on-line suggests that this is based on Analects 16:19 (“孔子曰:「生而知之者,上也;學而知之者,次也;困而學之,又其次也。困而不學,民斯為下矣!」”; ctext here.). This is indeed a listing of three ways of acquiring understanding or wisdom, but the rest doesn’t match very well.

Does anyone have any ideas? There are tons of Confucius quotations in other texts, and maybe this is one of them? Or maybe a loose/early version of that Analects passage? The writer’s deadline is 2pm EST tomorrow! Thanks for any help, which I will pass on.

March 14, 2016 Posted by | Analects, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucius | 9 comments

Genius of the Ancient World: Buddha, Socrates, Confucius

A new three-part series from BBC Four. The first two episodes, on Buddha and Socrates, are available online. Just from watching the first few minutes, it seems like there is a heavy influence of Jaspers’ “Axial Age” theory. If you’ve seen the full episodes already, let the rest of us know what you think!

August 20, 2015 Posted by | Buddhism, Comparative philosophy, Confucius, Popular Culture | no comments

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