Routledge has recently published Ping-cheung Lo and Sumner B. Twiss’s wide-ranging edited volume, Chinese Just War Ethics: Origin, Development, and Dissent. Its contents are below. Continue reading “New Book: Lo and Twiss, eds., Chinese Just War Ethics”
An announcement from Thomas Michael:
Beijing Normal University is again offering its Summer Philosophy program; this year, it is on the theme of Daoism. The program runs from July 10 to July 25, 2017, and the deadline for submitting application materials is April 23rd, 2017. Please see here for the brochure, here for the Facebook link and application, and read on for more information.
Dag Herbjørnsrud has written a fascinating entry at the Journal of the History of Idea blog, which begins as follows…
A remarkable example of how ideas migrate across so-called cultural borders and change minds in unknown ways happened in the German city of Bremen on October 8, 1930. There, Martin Heidegger gave a speech based upon his masterwork Being and Time (1927). Afterwards, he and several of Bremen’s citizens gathered at the home of a wholesaler. During the evening, Heidegger suddenly turned to his host and asked, “Mister Kellner, would you please bring me the Parables of Zhuangzi? I would like to read some passages from it.”
Pristine Affluence: Daoist Roots in the Stone Age, by Livia Kohn, is now available for pre-order. For more information, please see below.
The latest issue of the Journal of Daoist Studies (vol 10, 2017) has been published. Details are available here.
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
Date: Monday December 12, 4.15-6.15
Place: Room 5382, CUNY Graduate Center.
Speaker: Irena Cronin, UCLA
Title: The 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.
Kim-chong Chong has published Zhuangzi’s Critique of the Confucians: Blinded by the Human (SUNY, 2016), which looks fascinating. Details here.
Creativity and Diversity: 11th International Conference on Daoist Studies
Nanterre, Paris, France, May 17-20, 2017
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”
Springer is having a one-day sale on the e-Book version of the Dao Companion to Daoist Philosophy: regularly $269.00, today it can be purchased for $19.99. Click here for the deal (as well as more information on the book).
Update: The sale’s over 🙁
Creativity and Diversity: 11th International Conference on Daoist Studies
Nanterre, Paris, France, May 17-20, 2017
I have recently learned about the “Greater China Summer Workshop Program in Chinese Studies” to be held this summer in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Beijing, organized and sponsored by the Sinological Development Charitable Foundation. Information on the Foundation and its goals, as well as about the program, are available on its website, here. The program aims to introduce Chinese Studies (focusing on Early Confucianism and the Hundred Schools; Buddhism and Daoism; and Neo-Confucianism). There are a limited number of Sponsorships (full financial support) available, plus a self-pay option. The application deadline is April 1, 2016.
Livia Kohn to speak tomorrow at the University of Bridgeport; see here:
The latest issue of Asian Philosophy has been published, with several articles on Daoism, among other things. See here.
My review of Brook Ziporyn’s two-volume study of Chinese philosophy through the lens of “coherence” has now been published, and should be available to those with access to Dao. Here’s the first paragraph of the review:
The book Meditation and Culture: The Interplay of Practice and Context has been published by Bloomsbury Academic.
Monday, November 16, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
China Humanities Seminar: Laozi the Existentialist: Martin Buber’s Transformation of the Daodejing
Speaker: Jonathan Herman, Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Georgia State University
Sponsored by the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies
K262, Bowie-Vernon Room, CGIS Knafel, 1737 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA
Scott Bradley has published a stimulating adaption/reflection of the Inner Chapters of Zhuangzi. Details are here; read on for Brook Ziporyn’s endorsement.
Apparently Oxford University Press has started a “Philosopher of the Month” feature, and July belongs to Lao Tzu. Perhaps not the deepest analysis, but nice to be included. (Thanks to Eric Hutton for passing this on.)
From Livia Kohn:
The Journal of Daoist Studies has several openings for an academic paper, no more than 10,000 words, to be published in the next issue: vol. 9, Feb. 2016.
Please send to “email@example.com” soon, if possible before August 1.
Scott Barnwell revisits one of our favorite topics:
Off and on over the past 18 months I’ve been working on a new essay for my blog series “Classical Daoism – Is There Really Such a Thing?” The essay is on Wuwei 無為 and whether it could be considered a defining feature of a group or tradition we call (early) Daoism. I’ve got some thoughts I hope some may feel like addressing. As far as I can tell, wuwei does not have just one meaning or usage. I think there are a few different uses and would like to know if others would differentiate them as I do.
A new article by Bryan W. Van Norden at The National Interest.
Today seems to be Daoism Day here at Warp, Weft, and Way. A new book:
Edited by Jeffrey L. Richey
Routledge – 2015 – 268 pages
A cool podcast, “Daoism as Liberation from the Chains of Western Philosophy,” by a former student of mine, Jesse Brenner. Check it out!
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
12:00 PM to 1:30 PM
The Seduction of Daoist Philosophy: What Was Lost on the Way to Understanding the Daoist Religion?
Room 202, Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Avenue
James Robson – Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University
Daoism Excavated: Cosmos and Humanity in Early Manuscripts
by WANG Zhongjiang, translated by Livia Kohn
paperback, 230 pages
June 1, 2015
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has added some great new content related to Chinese philosophy, some of it discussed here. The latest is a new article on the Zhuangzi by Chad Hansen. (One of these days I hope I will finish my own article on “Chinese Social and Political Philosophy”….) Congratulations, Chad.
Three Pines Press proudly announces the second volume in our new series
Contemporary Chinese Scholarship in Daoist Studies
Rediscovering the Roots of Chinese Thought: Laozi’s Philosophy
by CHEN Guying, translated by Paul D’Ambrosio
paperback, 150 pages, bibliography, index
available January 1, 2015
prepublication special: US $22.50
ORDER NOW: www.threepinespress.com<http://www.threepinespress.com/>
A blog reader asked: I just found Laozi’s having the following quote attributed to him (on several quote-collecting websites):
“Marriage is three parts love and seven parts forgiveness of sins.”
Do you have any idea whether this is actually from a *text* attributed to him, and if so, which? (None of the sites I have found gives one.) If not, would you mind asking about this on the blog?
An important new book is now available from Indiana University Press:
Heaven and Earth Are Not Humane: The Problem of Evil in Classical Chinese Philosophy
Komjathy, Louis. 2014. Daoism: A Guide for the Perplexed. New York: Bloomsbury Academic. 250 pages.
According to Lydia Kohn: A different, yet very successful approach to Daoism by topic rather than chronology or lineage, this consists of nine chapters: Tradition, Community, Identity, View, Personhood, Practice, Experience, Place, and Modernity. Highly insightful, meticulously researched, the book is extremely well written and combines a strong historical understanding with a deep involvement in contemporary practice. It opens Daoism in a new and amazing way.
Nothingness in Asian Philosophy – Routledge 2014
by Douglas Berger (editor) & Jeeloo Liu (editor)
From the Description at Amazon:
“A variety of crucial and still most relevant ideas about nothingness or emptiness have gained profound philosophical prominence in the history and development of a number of South and East Asian traditions—including in Buddhism, Daoism, Neo-Confucianism, Hinduism, Korean philosophy, and the Japanese Kyoto School. These traditions share the insight that in order to explain both the great mysteries and mundane facts about our experience, ideas of “nothingness” must play a primary role.”
Huaiyu Wang writes as follows (anyone interested please respond directly to him at firstname.lastname@example.org):
I am pleased to announce the tentative schedule for the following two panels for the Eastern APA meeting in Philadelphia. I would like to invite chairs for the two panels below and a commentator for each paper. (Please note that two papers have commentators already.)
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.
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”
Joseph Adler’s new book on Zhu Xi’s appropriation of Zhou Dunyi, including substantial translations of Zhou’s writings and Zhu’s commentaties thereon, is now available. Congratulations, Joseph!
The Dao Companion to Classical Chinese Philosophy has been published (Amazon link). Read on for more information. Continue reading “New Dao Companion Volume Published”
I have recently learned that Professor Zhan Shichuang 詹石窗 of Sichuan University is founding an English-language academic journal, Frontiers of Daoist Studies. Anyone interested in submitting work can contact Zhang Lijuan 张丽娟, a postdoctoral fellow in the Institute of Religious Studies, who represents the Editorial Office of the journal.
The preliminary schedule for the 9th International Conference on Daoist Studies, to be held at Boston University from May 29, June 1, 2014, is now available at the Conference website. It’s an impressive line-up!
I just finished reading Mark Saltveit’s book The Tao of Chip Kelly. For anyone curious about the book, I’m posting an informal review here.
The Tao of Chip Kelly is an enjoyable read on the leadership and coaching strategies of Philadelphia Eagle’s head coach, Chip Kelly. The book presents lessons on leadership from Kelly’s coaching career, the majority of which are drawn from his four seasons at the University of Oregon. While Saltveit’s introduction claims the book is aimed towards management strategy, the book is accessible to anyone and potentially of interest to anyone interested in team strategies, football, or contemporary applications of ideas drawn from Laozi or Zhuangzi. Continue reading “Book Review – The Tao of Chip Kelly by Mark Saltveit”
Three Pines Press proudly announces the publication of Zhuangzi: Text and Context, by Livia Kohn, to appear in January 2014. (330 pages; Paperback:$35.95; prepublication special: $28.50 plus S & H.) For details and to order, please go to http://threepinespress.com/
We are also happy to present the table of contents for the next issue of the Journal of Daoist Studies (vol. 7), to be published in February 2014. For details, please see below.
Friend of the blog, Scott Barnwell, shares part 4.3 of his extensive study of classical Daoism.
You will find a lengthy PREVIEW below — footnote links send you to the article posted on his own blog. Comments are welcome here; please address comments to Scott.
Mysticism, Self-Cultivation and Longevity
Steve Bokenkamp and Terry Kleeman will offer their NEH Summer Seminar on reading Daoist texts again next summer, July 14 to August 1, in Boulder, CO.
The second volume of Brook Ziporyn’s new work on li and coherence in pre-Neo-Confucian Chinese thought has been published. See below for summary and Table of Contents for both volumes.
Alan Levinovitz, recently of the Chicago Divinity School and now on the faculty at James Madison, wrote his dissertation on the idea of play in Zhuangzi. So it is quite appropriate that he managed to secure an interview with the elusive author of that work. Enjoy!
I received this information from the publisher of these books, and pass it on for your information:
Call for Reviews – Dao De Jing: A Complete Commentary by Zhankui Liu
A free copy will be sent to the reviewer by the publisher (Awakening Light Press) for these titles:
Language: Simplified Chinese
Publisher: Awakening Light Press
A forthcoming book:
Steve Coutinho, An Introduction to Daoist Philosophies (Columbia University Press, November 2013)
Steve Coutinho explores in detail the fundamental concepts of Daoist thought as represented in three early texts: the Laozi, the Zhuangzi, and the Liezi. Readers interested in philosophy yet unfamiliar with Daoism will gain a comprehensive understanding of these works from this analysis, and readers fascinated by ancient China who also wish to grasp its philosophical foundations will appreciate the clarity and depth of Coutinho’s explanations.
A major conference on Daoism is returning to Boston next year. For information on registration and paper submission, see below.
Daoism: Tradition and Transition
9th International Conference on Daoist Studies
Boston University, May 30- June 1, 2014
For the last ten years, the series of international conferences on Daoist Studies has been instrumental in enhancing the study, application, and awareness of Daoism throughout the world. The only major Daoist conference series, it follows a tradition that began in Boston (2003) and continued through Mt. Qingcheng (2004), Fraueninsel in Bavaria (2006), Hong Kong (2007), Mt. Wudang (2009), Los Angeles (2010), Mt. Nanyue (2011), and Ammersee Lake near Munich (2012). In honor of its great success and as a tribute to Boston University for the initial conference, the 9th International Conference on Daoist Studies will take place once again at Boston University.
Over on Love of All Wisdom, Amod recently posted three Zhuangzi meditations in which our readers may be interested. Go have a look!
Here are the links:
Friend of the blog, Mark Saltveit writes:
I’m about to publish a major book called “The Tao of Chip Kelly: Lessons from America’s Most Successful Coach”, about the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. One of the chapters explores how Kelly’s football coaching and management style is, in my opinion, “a near-perfect implementation of Taoist principles,” though I have no reason to believe Coach Kelly has ever heard of Zhuangzi. To me, he’s Butcher Ding discovering (reinventing?) Tao through attentive immersion in his craft.
The book is written for a popular audience, but if anyone is interested in reading the chapter on Tao (3,300 words) and offering thoughts, please email me mark saltveit at gmail, no spaces. I don’t think I should post it publicly. For that matter, anyone interested in reading the whole thing is welcome to a near-final PDF (111 pages).
marksaltveit@gmail,.com – (503) 997-1963 – @taoish
“The Tao of Chip Kelly: Lessons from America’s Most Successful Coach” (Portland: Palindromist Press) will be released June 22, 2013. More details at www.thetaoofchipkelly.com
Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture on Confucian and Daoist views of agency April 12 @5:45pm
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
As many of you know, there are more and more excavated texts making their presence known in our field. Beijing University is in possession of a bamboo-strip version of the Laozi / Daode Jing that they date to the Western Han; a full transcription is available here; just scroll down past the pictures.
[Guest poster and friend of the blog, Mark Saltveit, posts an extended response to Donald Sturgeon’s “Daoist Nazi Problem” below.]
Can There Be a Nazi Dao?
By Mark Saltveit
Of all the religious philosophies, Daoism is the one most concerned with practical, daily life. Seeking and practicing the pure, perfect way to do something is itself a spiritual practice, a small Dao that may lead you to the Big Dao. That’s why there are so many books with titles like “The Tao of Tool Crafting” and “The Tao of Large Animal Husbandry.”
Last October, Donald Sturgeon wrote a piece on Warp Weft and Way that raises a fascinating question: does every task, no matter how “wrong” or unDaoish, have its own Dao? Specifically, can there be such a thing as “The Dao of Nazism”?
This is one of the few topics I have some actual academic knowledge about. I studied the Nazis for a while as an undergraduate, in my multidisciplinary social science major at Harvard. (After a year, it got too grim, and I changed my focus to a much cheerier topic – the Vietnam War.)
I think the short story is that, if you choose to pursue Nazism, there are some less effective and more effective ways to pursue it; the more effective ways might be considered a sort of Dao of Nazism. However, both the goals of Nazism and the techniques you would use to pursue it inevitably corrode your ability to act in Dao, so it would prove quickly self-defeating. Continue reading “Daoist Nazi Problem – a response”
An on-line review of Diana Lobel. The Quest for God and the Good: World Philosophy as a Living Experience (New York Columbia University Press, 2011). Confucianism and the Daode Jing make brief appearances in the review, as does the reviewer’s skepticism about Chinese and Indian philosophy as philosophy (note her scare quotes).
Friend of the blog, Scott Barnwell, has posted part 4.2 of his work on whether there really was such a thing as classical Daoism, over on his Baopu blog. Here’s a snippet. Feel free to comment here or there.
In what follows I will often translate Tian as “the heavens” to specify the referent as the sky above, including the sun, moon, stars and planets and sometimes as “Nature” to widen the referent to include the earth and imply the natural, dynamic forces at work in the universe.
We may now ask, who (or what) was believed to have created the heavens and earth? An excavated text called the “Chu Silk Manuscript” (Chu Boshu 楚帛書) contains the earliest evidence of a myth involving Baoxi 雹戲 (a.k.a. Fuxi 伏羲) and Nüwa女媧, who, in a time described as “indistinct and dark”(夢夢墨墨), gave birth to four children, who helped separate above and below (上下), that is, the heavens and the earth. Eventually, after thousands of years had passed the sun and moon were somehow born. Later myths tell of Nüwa creating living things (out of already existing materials); for example, the late-Han Shuowen Jiezi 說文解字 records that (Nü)Wa was an “ancient female deity that transformed (=made) the myriad things” (古之神聖女，化萬物者也).
Aside from this text, it would appear that some of the authors of the Laozi and Zhuangzi were the first to attempt a “non-mythological” answer…
Friend of the blog, Mark Saltveit, writes:
Hello. I have a new project that may be interesting to readers of WW&W: http://www.taoish.org, a place for irreverent spirituality. My focus is on manifestations of contemplative religion/philosophy in the modern West, primarily Daoism of course but not limited to that.
My current post might be especially interesting to your followers: an analysis of one line of chapter 10 of the Daodejing by Steve Bokenkamp of Arizona State. http://www.realchange.org/taoish/mirror-mirrormirror/
(Earlier, I reposted his classic 1993 Daoism FAQ, which is pretty fun. http://www.realchange.org/taoish/authoritative-answers-to-questions-about-taoism/ )
This is a guest post by David Chai of the University of Toronto. Please address all questions or comments to him.
In thinking of a topic to share with all of you, I found myself repeatedly returning to the subject of a new course I am teaching this semester: Neo-Confucianism. While gathering materials for the course I came across an article by Donald Blakeley (“The Lure of the Transcendent in Zhu Xi” History of Philosophy Quarterly, 21.3 (2004): 223-240). The paper discusses whether qi and li should be read as transcendent or immanent. After surveying a variety of contemporary theories, Blakeley argues that “a modified definition of transcendence” is needed such that “that there is independence and self-sufficiency in certain respects but not in others.” (232-233) His conclusion is that “li transcends qi in that any material formations depend upon li. Qi is in a dependent relation to li in this respect and li is independent from qi in this respect. Li, in being what it is as li, is independent from the ongoing affairs in the field of qi. But qi transcends li in that any material formations depend upon qi; li is in a dependent relation to qi in this respect and qi is independent from li in this respect.” (233)
For me, his argument is not convincing for several reasons. First is his need to modify the traditional meaning of transcendence. Second is his very use of transcendence to describe Zhu Xi’s li. From a Daoist perspective, li comes across as being very close to natural law. While Dao is transcendent, its fa, or li, is immanent. For li to possess the same transcendental qualities as Dao would be to deny Dao its own existential nature. So, my question is can li be understood as Blakeley so wishes without the need to modify what is meant by transcendent? If so, how would this play-out in terms of qi’s connection to Dao? On a more fundamental level, can we say Zhu Xi is espousing a cosmogonist doctrine involving qi and li or is he merely putting forth one that is pseudo-cosmological? If the former, then I’d have material with which to conduct a soteriological comparison with Zhuangzi; if the latter, then I am unclear as to the advantages his qi-li dyad holds over the wu-you pairing seen in the texts of Lao-Zhuang.
Long-time friend of the blog, Scott Barnwell, has posted his fourth installment exploring the question of whether there really is such a thing as “classical Daoism,” over on his blog, Bao Pu. Here are a couple of paragraphs; go over and check it out. Discuss there or here, as you wish — if here, please address all comments to Scott.
The purpose of this 4th essay is to explore these two texts to see what similarities and differences exist. If we understand a “school of thought” (modern Chinese: Xuepai ??) to refer to a system or complex of beliefs, ideas, values and methods, would the various authors of the Laozi and Zhuangzi constitute such a school, as is commonly believed? Or were they two different schools of thought with only slight overlap, perhaps a Laoist school and a Zhuangist school? Is there a “family resemblance” that exists between these two texts that does not between them and others, such as the Mengzi, Mozi, Hanfeizi or Yijing? Jia ?, which commonly meant “house” or “family,” has suggested to Harold Roth that Sima Tan’s use of it “implies that he thought of his six groups as having an important lineage dimension in which masters and disciples functioned according to a family model.” By positing a lineage of masters and disciples (= teachers and students) we come close to the idea of a school (of thought) as well, although whether the contributors to the Laozi and Zhuangzi were two branches of one lineage remains to be seen.
We’ve already explored the nature of ancient Chinese texts and some possible scenarios of how the texts came to be in the earlier essays, especially the 3rd one on Zhuangzi. We have hypothesized that the existence of the Laozi and Zhuangzi required some sort of lineage or group that had compiled and preserved (and added to) these texts, at least until the Han dynasty period where texts were sought out by regional rulers and the imperial government in order to preserve the classical legacy in various libraries. These groups need not have been large, and, further, we do not know if this lineage was unbroken, or whether decades went by where the texts sat neglected in boxes in people’s homes.