The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Chinese Philosophy Methodologies, edited by Sor-hoon Tan, is due to be published later this week. Details are here, and I’ll paste the very rich Table of Contents below. This is another in the Bloomsbury Research Handbooks in Asian Philosophy series, on which more is available here. So far, the only other title concerned with Chinese philosophy is The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Chinese Philosophy and Gender, edited by Ann-Pang White, which appeared earlier this year; see further below for its Table of Contents, and more details here. The series also contains several books focusing on the philosophies of India.
The latest issue of Confluence: Online Journal of World Philosophies, has just been released. It contains about 300 pages of articles, including a symposium led by Jonardon Ganeri on the question, “Is reason a neutral tool in comparative philosophy?” Near the end of the issue is a short survey article I wrote about the competing role ethical and virtue ethical interpretations of early Confucianism.
The current issue of Comparative and Continental Philosophy (issue 7:2) has some excellent, provocative material on the methodology of comparative philosophy. I particularly recommend:
- Amy K. Donahue & Rohan Kalyan, “Introduction: On the Imperative, Challenges, and Prospects of Decolonizing Comparative Methodologies”
- David Haekwon Kim, “José Mariátegui’s East-South Decolonial Experiment”
My new book introducing the basic concepts and problems of comparative philosophy is now available in paperback on Amazon. A while back, I wrote on this blog about some of the topics that are discussed in the book (here and here).
The hypothesis that I want to put forward here is that the conception of the “philosophical” underlying this state of affairs does not correspond to a timeless Platonic form, but that it is instead a construction undertaken in a specific cultural context, at a specific historical moment, for some very specific reasons, not all of which have to do with the love of wisdom. The time is the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century. The place is northern Europe, chiefly, though not exclusively, Prussia and Hanover.
Continue reading “Rewriting the story of philosophy”
From Yong Huang, Editor of Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy
Call for Papers for a special issue of Dao on Chinese and Comparative Philosophy: Theoretical and Methodological Reflections
In conjunction with our academic sponsor, Association of Chinese Philosophers in America, which is going to celebrate its 20th anniversary, Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy, which will have its own 15thbirthday, plans to publish a special issue (or special topic, depending upon the number of finally accepted papers; if more than enough papers are finally accepted, some space may be reserved for this theme in the immediately following issue), on the theme “Chinese and Comparative Philosophy: Theoretical and Methodological Reflections.” The inaugural issue of our journal was featured by an article of this nature by Robert Neville: “Two Forms of Comparative Philosophy.” Now, after 15 years of publication of quality articles and book reviews in Chinese and comparative philosophy, it is time for us to reflect on this issue again.
[Dear readers: I am happy to present the following invited guest post from Dr. Elisa Freschi of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Dr. Freschi (BA +MA in Indology and Tibetology, BA in Philosophy, PhD in South Asian Studies) has worked on topics of Classical Indian Philosophy and more in general on comparative philosophy, epistemology, philosophy of religion, philosophy of language and on the re-use of texts in Indian philosophy (about which she has just finished editing a volume). She is a convinced upholder of reading Sanskrit philosophical texts within their history and understanding them through a philosophical approach. She has worked at the Austrian Academy of Sciences since September 1, 2012, with a Lise Meitner project on Epistemology of Sacred Texts in Vedāntadeśika’s Seśvaramīmāṃsā. For more information about her work see here.]
No matter whether one focuses on Classical Chinese philosophy (as probably most readers of this blog) or on Classical Indian philosophy (like myself), one works on something which is different than oneself. I will contend that this feeling is useful also if one focuses on contemporary Chinese, or Indian (or Tibetan and so on) philosophy, or on Classical, Medieval, Modern Western philosophy, since it alerts one to a key factor, namely the difference between oneself and one’s object of study.
The Gongsunlongzi and Other Neglected Texts: Aligning Philosophical and Philological Perspectives
Conference, August 27–29, 2014
Convenors: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Behr, Dr. Lisa Indraccolo, Dr. Rafael Suter
Organization: Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies – Sinology and URPP Asia and Europe
- Museum Rietberg, Park-Villa Rieter, Lecture Hall, Seestrasse 110, 8002 Zurich (August 27, 2014)
- Room KO2 F-174, University of Zurich, Main Building, Karl Schmid-Strasse 4, 8006 Zurich (August 28–29, 2014)
Registration required – Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Gongsunlongzi is one of the few early Chinese received texts dealing with problems of logic and epistemology. Unfortunately, philological inquiries suggest that most probably huge parts were only composed during the Chinese Medieval period (3rd–7th centuries AD). Philosophical studies on the text usually take its authenticity for granted and consider the Gongsunlongzi as if it actually were a Warring States text (453–221 BC). Philological evidence speaking against this widely shared assumption tends to be ignored. Yet, the materials included in the received text are rather heterogeneous and any information about the context or reading instructions are lacking. As a consequence, any interpretation heavily relies on the premises of the reader. A more accurate philological study might not only provide a clearer picture of the process of composition of the Gongsunlongzi and the dating of the different textual layers that compose the text, but might also provide useful information about the context and valuable clues for its interpretation. The workshop aims at bringing together several scholars both in philosophical and philological studies, sharing an interest in the Gongsunlongzi. By contributing their complementary expertise, it is hoped that the workshop will provide ideal conditions for developing a more comprehensive perspective on the text, yielding new insights on the Gongsunlongzi and shedding light on the modalities in which questions of logic and epistemology were addressed in early and medieval China.
A session at the recent APA Pacific on “Multicultural Epistemology” (featuring Jason Stanley and Edouard Machery, among others) has got me thinking about culturally variant intuitions. Recent evidence from experimental philosophy has indicated that respondents in East Asian countries tend to have different reactions than their Western counterparts to cases such as “The Magistrate and the Mob,” or Kripke’s Gödel scenario. A recurring question at the APA session concerned what these differences ought to mean for philosophers working in the given areas. Stanley argued that rather than refuting a prevalent methodology that begins from philosophers’ intuitions about cases, cultural variances simply provide us with a wider data set to be explained. Machery in turn presented his research-in-progress suggesting that cross-cultural intuitions about Gettier cases exhibited far more similarity than previous work by experimental philosophers has suggested. Continue reading “Culturally Variant Intuitions”
Philosophy of the Past: Early Chinese Philosophy in Context
Tom Mazanec, Kay Duffy
On a chilly late-winter morning, as the sun pierced through leafless tree branches and the dotted snowscape melted into auguries of spring, a small band of scholars met in Princeton University’s Jones Hall to discuss methods for studying early Chinese philosophy. Organized by two Princeton graduate students, Mercedes Valmisa and Sara Vantournhout, the conference drew approximately twenty-five attendees to hear four main presentations and several hours of lively debate. Martin Kern (Princeton) served as moderator for presentations by Carine Defoort (KU Leuven), Jane Geaney (University of Richmond), Mark Csikszentmihalyi (University of California, Berkeley), and Paul Goldin (University of Pennsylvania) on topics ranging across a wide variety of early texts, employing four distinct methodologies.
As a follow-up to some of the issues raised at NECCT 2, Bryan Van Norden has posted some thoughts on his little-used personal blog: “On the Historical Composition and Dating of Texts.” Here is his conclusion:
We cannot start slicing and dicing a text into sections belonging to different authors or different eras simply [because] we notice in it theoretical tensions, evidence of editing, the use of one word in multiple senses, or heterogeneity of subject matter. I worry when I see what appears to me, at least, to be the quick jump to the conclusion that a text is historically composite before any substantial effort has been made to engage the plausibility of philosophical explanations of the text as a coherent whole. In short, we intellectual historians are admittedly sometimes too quick to jump over textual issues in our excitement to get to systematic philosophical interpretation. However, you cannot address this problem by leaping to the conclusion that a text is historically composite every time you encounter a passage that you don’t immediately know how to reconcile with what you thought you understood before.
Bryan says that he’s unlikely to be able to answer any comments posted on his blog, but anyone who’d like to comment over here is more than welcome to do so.