Justin Tiwald and I are very happy to announce the publication of our jointly-authored book, Neo-Confucianism: A Philosophical Introduction (Polity, 2017). Advance copies of the book have begun to appear, it will be generally available in the UK soon, and available in the US in another six weeks or so.
Justin and I have also prepared a website, Neo-Confucianism.Com, to support the book and to promote the study of Neo-Confucianism more generally. That site has its own blog (plus lots of other stuff, including sample syllabi and the Chinese texts corresponding to all the translated material in the book), though I expect that when we post things there, we will also announce it here. If anyone has ideas about what other material we can include at Neo-Confucianism.Com, please just let one of us know!
Bin SONG has published a translation and commentary on Zhu Xi’s poem, “Exhortation for Adapting Breath 調息箴,” at Huffington Post. Take a look!
Larry Israel wrote to share information on two articles he’s recently published on Wang Yangming. We are always happy to pass on this kind of news!
https://muse.jhu.edu/article/626973 “The Renaissance of Wang Yangming Studies in the People’s Republic of China,” Philosophy East and West, vol. 66, no. 3 (July 2016): 1001-1019. Takes the story up to 2014.
link to cambridge.org A new journal launched by Cambridge, the Journal of Chinese History – Israel, G.L. (2016) ‘WANG YANGMING IN BEIJING, 1510–1512: “IF I DO NOT AWAKEN OTHERS, WHO WILL DO SO?”’ Journal of Chinese History, pp. 1–33.
The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies (University Seminar #567) will convene Friday, November 11, 2016 from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University.
Peng Guoxiang of Zhejiang University will present the paper “Reading as a Spiritual and Bodily Exercise: The Religious Dimension of Zhu Xi.” A copy of the paper is available from the organizers (see below).
Continue reading “Peng at Neo-Confucianism Seminar this Friday”
I am happy to announce that Philip J. Ivanhoe’s Three Streams: Confucian Reflections on Learning and the Moral Heart-Mind in China, Korea, and Japan (Oxford University Press, 2016) has been published. See here and here, and a summary follows.
Continue reading “New Book: P.J. Ivanhoe, Three Streams”
Prof. Dr. Eric NELSON (Division of Humanities, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology):
The Debate between Neo-Confucianism and Buddhism in Jeong Dojeon and Gihwa
Nov. 30, 2016; 18:00-20:00. More information here.
Continue reading “Lecture in Berlin: Nelson on Neo-Confucianism and Buddhism”
With apologies for not posting this sooner, here is the Call for Abstracts for the “Second Conference on Middle Period Chinese Humanities.” The deadline is tomorrow, October 1, 2017. I attended the first such conference, and though I may have been the only card-carrying philosopher there, I learned a great deal and recommend the second conference highly to anyone interested in Tang-Ming philosophy (or intellectual history, etc., etc.).
I’ve long been interested in Alice Crary’s work — her 2007 book is reviewed here — in part because of intriguing resonances between her ideas and some aspects of Neo-Confucianism that I find most attractive, such as the need to “discern patterns” in an “already moral world.” These issues come out even more strongly in her latest book, Inside Ethics, which is reviewed here. Rejecting an “ethically indifferent metaphysic” seems to me to be starting off in the right direction!
In 2014, the first “Conference on Middle Period Chinese Humanities” was convened at Harvard, gathering together scholars working on the period covering the Tang through the Ming dynasties in all fields. I had the good fortune to attend, and found it very stimulating — if somewhat short of philosophers. The second such conference has now been announced, to be held at Leiden University, September 14-17, 2017. Those interested in participating are asked to submit an abstract of 300 to 500 words (in English or Chinese) and a CV by October 1, 2016 to: email@example.com. Those whose abstracts are accepted will be notified by December 1, 2016. For more information, see here.
The University Committee on Asia & the Middle East (UCAME) is pleased to share the great news that the Tang Prize Committee, in a press conference from Taiwan earlier today, announced William Theodore de Bary, Professor Emeritus of Columbia University, the sole recipient of the 2016 Tang Prize in Sinology for his “pioneering contributions in Confucian studies.” Founded in 2012 by Samuel Yin who was inspired by the Nobel Prize, the award includes a cash prize of US$1.24 million, as well as a separate grant of approx. US$311,000 for awardees in each of its four categories: Sinology, Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, and Rule of Law. The inaugural winner of the Tang Prize in 2014 was Prof. Yu Ying-shih. This year’s award ceremony will take place in Taipei on September 25.
Continue reading “Wm. Theodore de Bary awarded the 2016 Tang Prize in Sinology”
Rivi Handler-Spitz, Pauline Lee, and Haun Saussy have translated and edited a book of translations by the great late-Ming dynasty iconoclast Li Zhi, and the book has now been published by Columbia University Press. It is beautifully produced and a great contribution to anyone seeking to teach about the culture and philosophy of Li’s crucial era. Congratulations! (Pauline Lee’s own book on Li Zhi was previously announced here on the blog.)
At my invitation, my former student Dylan Awalt-Conley has agreed to make the following short essay public as a Guest Post. Please address any questions or comments to Dylan.
Neo-Confucianism and Physicalism
© 2016, Dylan Awalt-Conley
Despite general enthusiasm for engaging with the Neo-Confucian imaginary in a serious philosophical way, there seem to be some widely held reservations against its use in scientific contexts. Yet I believe that much of the intuitive incompatibility between the Cheng-Zhu metaphysic and a scientific framework comes from a sense of ‘science’ that is constrained by an implicit ontological reductionism. If we are willing to take Neo-Confucianism seriously, then the ontology invoked by concepts like li and qi can provide an experimentally sound alternative to physicalism, complete with new ways of thinking and working scientifically.
Continue reading “Awalt-Conley, Neo-Confucianism and Physicalism”
I have just started reading Larry Israel’s book Doing Good and Ridding Evil in Ming China: The Political Career of Wang Yangming (Brill, 2014), and it looks excellent. Larry posted something about it on the Readers’ Discussion section of the site, but it deserves a main post!
Jennifer Eichman’s important study of late-Ming thought and practice is about to be published:
A Late Sixteenth-Century Chinese Buddhist Fellowship: Spiritual Ambitions, Intellectual Debates, and Epistolary Connections (Brill, 2016)
For more details, see here. Congratulations, Jennifer!
Many of you know me as a scholar of Chinese philosophy. But I also have research interests that I pursue through the methods of experimental philosophy, which seeks to investigate philosophical questions through the methods of the empirical sciences (in my case, experimental psychology).
I’m co-organizing this workshop with Joshua Knobe and Kevin Tobia (Yale), which will concern (as its name implies) questions at the intersection of history of philosophy and experimental philosophy. It seems that many of the questions that have arisen recently in debates about experimental philosophy have also been discussed in other periods in the history of philosophy, including general issues surrounding armchair and experimental approaches to philosophy. We thought it would be helpful to hold a workshop in which scholars working in the history of philosophy could discuss these issues.
In my presentation, I will be outlining the ways in which this basic dynamic has played out in some periods in the history of Chinese philosophy. Continue reading “Experimental Philosophy Through History – February 2, 2016 at NYU”
There will not be a December 2015 meeting of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies this year. Below, however, is a tentative schedule for our Spring 2016 semester. Note that to avoid scheduling conflicts with the AAS, our April session is not on the first Friday of the month.
- Friday, February 5, 2016. Pierce Salguero, Penn State Abingdon. “Chinese Buddhist Notions of the Body.”
- Friday, March 4, 2016. Peter Zarrow, University of Connecticut.
- Friday, April 22. Brook Ziporyn, University of Chicago.
Our sessions usually meet from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. Papers will be circulated in advance.
All are welcome to attend. Please feel free to forward this message to interested colleagues. Please also join us after the seminar for dinner at a location to be announced.
The University of Hawaii Press has published Charles Muller’s translation: Korea’s Great Buddhist-Confucian Debate: The Treatises of Chong Tojon (Sambong) and Hamho Tuktong (Kihwa). More information is available below, and here.
Continue reading “Muller Translates Korean Buddhist-Confucian Debate”
Harvard University Press has published Jaeyoon Song’s important new book on Song dynasty political thought and the role of the classics (in particular, the Zhou Li) in shaping politics. Congratulations, Jaeyoon!
Jaeyoon Song, Traces of Grand Peace: Classics and State Activism in Imperial China (Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series 98)
Over the past year, Edward Chung has published two significant books on Korean Confucianism, one a translation and one an overview. Please read on for details.
Continue reading “Two Books on Korean Confucianism”
I just received my copy (as a contributor; not sure it is yet available for order) of David Jones and Jinhe Li, eds., Returning to Zhu Xi: Emerging Patterns within the Supreme Polarity (SUNY, 2015). It looks splendid! Congratulations, David and Jinhe.
The Journal of Confucian Philosophy and Culture has been published by the by the Institute of Confucian Philosophy and Culture (ICPC) at Sungkyunkwan Univesity (SKKU) in Korea since 2001. The Journal publishes articles in English and in Chinese; PDFs of all issues are available on-line here. There is a lot of high-quality content here, with a particular focus on Chinese and Korean Neo-Confucianism.
In addition, the journal welcomes English-language submissions (which will be double-blind reviewed). For more details, see here.
Two upcoming lectures at Taiwan’s Academia Sinica may be of interest to folks in the area:
Thursday, Oct 29, 10:00 a.m., 安靖如 (Stephen C. Angle), “將宋明理學當作哲學來教 (Teaching Neo-Confucianism as Philosophy),” 中國文哲研究所二樓會議室
Friday, Oct 30, 2:30 p.m., 許紀霖, “新天下主義與東亞的普遍性,” 中研院人社中心一樓中庭會議室 (Register here: http://www.rchss.sinica.edu.tw/conf/20151030/)
The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies (Seminar #567) will convene Friday, October 2, from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University.
John A. Tucker of East Carolina University will present the paper “Yamazaki Ansai’s Discussion of Ren: Heartfelt Ethics and Historical Exemplars.” All are welcome to attend. Please join us after the seminar for dinner at a location to be announced. If you have any questions, contact one of our organizers: Ari Borrell (firstname.lastname@example.org), Tao Jiang (email@example.com), or Deborah Sommer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
SUNY Press has published Catherine Hudak Klancer’s new book, Embracing Our Complexity: Thomas Aquinas and Zhu Xi on Power and the Common Good. Congratulations, Catherine!
Chenyang Li and Franklin Perkins (eds.), Chinese Metaphysics and Its Problems, Cambridge University Press, 2015, 242 pp., $95.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781107093508.
Reviewed by Joseph A. Adler, Professor Emeritus of Asian Studies and Religious Studies, Kenyon College
Read on-line at NDPR.
Continue reading “Adler reviews Chinese Metaphysics and Its Problems”
Henry Rosemont’s review of Barry Allen’s new book on Chinese epistemology, Vanishing Into Things (Harvard University Press, 2015), has just been published at NDPR. Looks terrific!
Jaeyoon Song’s important study of Song dynasty political thinking, Traces of Grand Peace: Classics and State Activism in Imperial China, now has a webpage and is scheduled for publication in November. Congratulations, Jaeyoon!
An interesting-sounding lecture that touches on the possible “new life” to be found in the Neo-Confucian compendium, Reflections on Things at Hand; June 18th at Taiwan Normal University:
主講人：朱浤源教授 （中央研究院 近代史研究所）、呂榮海律師 （蔚理法律事務所）
主持人：潘朝陽教授 （國立臺灣師範大學 東亞學系）
地 點：臺師大誠大樓九樓 政治學研究所多功能會議室
The Cambridge History of China: Volume 5. The Five Dynasties and Sung China, 960–1279 AD, Part 2 has been published. Part 1 contained overviews of each reign; this volume looks at the period topically, including important contributions to the periods intellectual history by Peter Bol and Hoyt Tillman. See “inside the book” with Amazon here.
The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies will convene Friday, April 3, 2015 from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. Chi-keung Chan 陳志強, a Ph.D candidate at The Chinese University of Hong Kong who is currently a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Boston University, will present the paper “A Confucian Theory of Immorality: From Classical Confucianism to Neo-Confucianism.” The main paper is in Chinese and is titled 《陽明與蕺山過惡思想的理論關聯－廉論「一滾說」的理論意涵》. Copies of the paper, as well as an English summary and some additional recent work on that subject in English by the presenter, are available from the organizers. All are welcome to attend. If you have any questions, contact one of our organizers: Ari Borrell (email@example.com), Tao Jiang (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Deborah Sommer (email@example.com).
I’ll be discussing some of Justin Tiwald’s and my work-in-progress at next week’s Neo-Confucianism seminar; hope to see some of you there! Here’s the official announcement:
The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies (Seminar #567) will convene Friday, March 6, 2015 from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. Steve Angle will present the paper “Varieties of Knowing,” which is a draft of Chapter 5 of a forthcoming work (co-written with Justin Tiwald) titled Neo-Confucianism: A Philosophical Introduction. All are welcome to attend. Please contact Deborah Sommer (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like a copy of the paper.
You may have noticed this information in my recent post about the NAKPA, but in case you didn’t, here is the official poster for the Korean and Comparative Philosophy and History of Philosophy conference that will be held at City University of Hong Kong, Dec. 12-13, 2014.
I am excited to note the publication of Yong HUANG’s Why Be Moral? Learning from the Neo-Confucian Cheng Brothers, the fruit of many years of research. The SUNY Press site is here, and Amazon is here. Here is the editorial description:
Yong Huang presents a new way of doing comparative philosophy as he demonstrates the resources for contemporary ethics offered by the Cheng brothers, Cheng Hao (1032–1085) and Cheng Yi (1033–1107), canonical neo-Confucian philosophers. Huang departs from the standard method of Chinese/Western comparison, which tends to interest those already interested in Chinese philosophy. While Western-oriented scholars may be excited to learn about Chinese philosophers who have said things similar to what they or their favored philosophers have to say, they hardly find anything philosophically new from such comparative work. Instead of comparing and contrasting philosophers, each chapter of this book discusses a significant topic in Western moral philosophy, examines the representative views on this topic in the Western tradition, identifies their respective difficulties, and discusses how the Cheng brothers have better things to say on the subject. Topics discussed include why one should be moral, how weakness of will is not possible, whether virtue ethics is self-centered, in what sense the political is also personal, how a moral theory can be of an antitheoretical nature, and whether moral metaphysics is still possible in this postmodern and postmetaphysical age.
Versions of some of the chapters have been published or presented at conferences over the years, so Huang’s general approach is well-known. Now that we have a full, book-length presentation, there is sure to be renewed attention paid to Huang’s important arguments as they concern ethics, the goals and methodology of comparative philosophy, and the interpretation of the Cheng brothers. Discussion welcome!
The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies will convene Friday, November 7 from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University.
Zach Berge-Becker of Columbia University will present the paper “Imagined Seclusion: The Construction of Su Shi’s (1037-1101) Literary Persona at Huangzhou.” A copy of the paper can be obtained by contacting the organizers.
All are welcome to attend. Please join us after the seminar for dinner at a location to be announced.
Continue reading “Berge-Becker at Columbia Neo-Confucianism Seminar”
I will be in London next week, and among other things, giving a talk at LSE in the Political Philosophy Seminar series on Tuesday, 24 June at 4pm, in the Old Building, Graham Wallas Room (5th floor; ask for directions at reception). The title is “Neo Confucian ‘Civil Society’?” It’s open to all; please come by if you are interested!
Hagop Sarkissian’s review of Virtue Ethics and Confucianism (Routledge, 2013) has been published at NDPR. Comments on the review or the book itself are welcome! I will also paste the review below. Thanks, Hagop!
Continue reading “Review of Virtue Ethics and Confucianism at NDPR”
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!
Continue reading “New book on Zhou Dunyi and Zhu Xi”
The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies will convene Friday, April 4 from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. Ari Borrell will present “A Selected Translation of Zhu Xi’s Critique of Adulterated Learning (Zaxue bian雜學辨).” Copies of his paper and the original Chinese text are available from the organizers..
All are welcome to attend. Please join us immediately after the seminar for dinner at a location to be announced. If you have any questions, you may contact one of our organizers: Ari Borrell , Tao Jiang, On-cho Ng, or Deborah Sommer.
The latest issue of the Research Newslatter of the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy at the Academia Sinica has a special section on my 2009 book Sagehood. The issue (and all articles), including my reply to the various perspectives offered, is available here. I will also paste the Table of Contents below. My thanks to Fabien Heubel and Kai Marchal for organizing and editing this issue!
Continue reading “Taiwanese Journal Discussion of Sagehood”
The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies (Seminar #567) will convene Friday, February 7, 2014 from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the Komoda Room of the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. We will have two presenters (copies of the papers are available from the organizers):
- Elizabeth Woo Li. Her paper is titled “‘Rites as Principles’ (li ji li 礼即理): A Fundamental Concept in Confucian Theories of Ethics and Politics.”
- P. J. Ivanhoe. His paper is titled “New Old Foundations for Confucian Ethical Philosophy: Itō Jinsai 伊藤仁斎 (1627-1705), Dai Zhen 戴震 (1722-1776), and Jeong Yakyong 丁若鏞 (1762-1836).”
All are welcome to attend. Please join us immediately after the seminar for dinner at Columbia Cottage restaurant, which is located on the corner of Amsterdam and 111th Streets.
The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies will convene Friday, December 6, 2013 from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the Komoda Room of the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University.
Our presenter is Ellen Neskar of Sarah Lawrence College. Her paper is titled “Dreams, Court Cases, and Confucians.” Please contact the organizers for a copy.
Continue reading “Neo-Confucianism Seminar this Friday”
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In this rare firsthand account of an individual’s pursuit of sagehood, the early Ming dynasty scholar and teacher Wu Yubi chronicles his progress and his setbacks, as he strives to integrate the Neo-Confucian practices of self-examination and self-cultivation into everyday life. In more than three hundred entries, spanning much of his adult life, Wu paints a vivid picture, not only of the life of the mind, but also of the life of a teacher of modest means, struggling to make ends meet in a rural community. Read more…
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The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies will convene Friday, October 4, 2013 from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the Komoda Room of the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University.
Our presenter is Gopal Sukhu of the Department of Classical Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures at Queens College, City University of New York. His paper is titled “Repossessing the Exorcised: Zhu Xi and the Songs of Chu.” You might also like to consult his new book, The Shaman and the Heresiarch: A New Interpretation of the Li Sao (SUNY, 2012).
Continue reading “Columbia Neo-Confucianism Seminar this Friday”
Please be informed that Penn State University will be hosting an International Symposium on “Reading, Textual Production, and Literati Culture in Late Imperial China,” May 31-June 1, 2013. The event is cosponsored by the Asian Studies Program and Confucius Institute at Penn State University, and the Department of Chinese Culture at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. It is open to the public and anyone interested is welcome to attend. For information, please contact On-cho Ng <email@example.com>.
Continue reading “Conference on Late Imperial Chinese Reading and Textual production”
As Chris has recently reminded us, ctext is a terrific resource, both in terms of its textual coverage and the many innovative features that Donald has added to it. Currently it has some very useful coverage of the Song-Ming era, but for anyone looking for more texts from Neo-Confucian authors, I can recommend the Hong Kong Society of Humanities site (click on the 宋明哲學經典 link), which I have just added to our list of resources.
The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies will convene on Friday, May 3, 2013, from 3:30 to 5:30pm. We will meet in the Board Room of the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. Please note the earlier starting time.
Our presenters for this session (listed here in alphabetical order) are Agnes Chalier and Tom Selover. Dr. Chalier’s paper is titled “Scientific Variations: Research on History and Philosophy of Science in Europe and China.” A copy of her paper is attached (actually, if you’re reading this on-line, contact one of the organizers for a copy). Dr. Selover’s paper is titled “Neo-Confucian Principle(s) in the Thought of Sun Myung Moon (1920-2012).” His paper will be distributed as soon as it is available.
Continue reading “This Week’s Neo-Confucianism Seminar at Columbia”
The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies will convene on Friday, April 12 (the second Friday of the month, a departure from our usual first-Friday format), from 3:30 to 5:30pm. We will meet in the Komoda Room in the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University.
We will have two presenters for this session (listed here in alphabetical order).
- Theresa Kelleher of Manhattanville College will present the paper “Looking at the Quotidian Dimensions of Neo-Confucianism: Excerpts from the Journal of Wu Yubi (1392-1469).”
- Zhou Zehao of York College will present the paper “Confucius and the Cultural Revolution: A Brief Comparison of the Two Anti-Confucian Campaigns during the Cultural Revolution.”
Copies of their papers will be distributed soon. All are welcome to attend. Please feel free to forward this message to interested colleagues. Please join us after the seminar for dinner at the Columbia Cottage restaurant, which is located on the corner of Amsterdam and 111th Streets.
A number of scholars in our field have suggested that the model of connoisseurship is helpful in understanding Confucian moral education and the nature of the Confucian moral exemplar (the junzi or sage). Eric Hutton’s “Moral Connoisseurship in the Mengzi” (in Liu and Ivanhoe, eds., Essays on the Moral Philosophy of Mengzi, 2002) is a classic essay; more recently, Hagop Sarkissian (“Confucius and the Effortless Life of Virtue,” History of Philosophy Quarterly 27:1 ) and P.J. Ivanhoe (“McDowell, WANG Yangming, and Mengzi’s Contributions to Understanding Moral Perception,” Dao ) have also developed related ideas.
I’m going to excerpt here a bit from an essay of mine that is currently unpublished, part of a volume that will eventually wend its way through the review process and see the light of day. My concern in the essay is to further develop some comparisons between Neo-Confucians and contemporary psychological literature that I began in Sagehood and continued in “A Productive Dialogue? Contemporary Moral Education and Zhu Xi’s Neo-Confucian Ethics,” Journal of Chinese Philosophy (2011). In particular, I refine the idea of “active moral perception” introduced in Sagehood, and as part of that process, find myself arguing against the idea that moral exemplars are best understood as people who have honed their sensitivities to moral reasons or moral properties in a connoisseur-like way. My target here is not, at least explicitly, the interpretations of Kongzi and Menzi suggested in the essays cited above, but rather to argue that a common-sense idea (supported by recent psychological research) of what moral exemplars are like, and what they do, actually fits very well with key elements of Wang Yangming’s picture. I’d love feedback!
Continue reading “Moral Exemplars and Moral Connoisseurs”
Call for papers
Constructing and Interpreting the Daotong (Transmission of the Way) in the Perspective of Chinese and Korean Neo-Confucianism
International conference organised by:
– The Centre of Chinese Studies (CEC, ASIEs, Inalco),
– The Centre of Korean Studies (CECO, ASIEs, Inalco)
– The Institute of Confucian Philosophy and Culture (Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul)
The organising committee is pleased to invite colleagues and Ph.D students interested in Neo-Confucianism to submit abstracts for this international conference regarding the construction and (re-)interpretations of the Daotong. Its objective is to re-examine the process through which Neo-Confucian discourse was legitimated by promoting the notion of Transmission of the Way, both in Chinese and Korean contexts.
Continue reading “CFP–Constructing and Interpreting the Daotong”
RE: February 1, 2013 Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies
Dear seminar members and friends,
The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies will convene on Friday, February 1, 2013, from 3:30 to 5:30pm. We will meet in the Board Room on the first floor of the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. Please note the earlier starting time.
We will have two presenters for this session (listed here in alphabetical order).
Jennifer Eichman will present the paper “Mind Cultivation: Theoretical and Practical Considerations.”
Richard Stichler will present the paper “Human Nature and Cultures of War.”
All are welcome to attend. Please feel free to forward this message to interested colleagues. Please join us after the seminar for dinner at the Columbia Cottage restaurant, which is located on the corner of Amsterdam and 111th Streets.
If you have any questions or would like a copy of the papers, please contact one of our organizers: Yong Huang, (firstname.lastname@example.org), Tao Jiang (email@example.com), On-cho Ng (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Deborah Sommer (email@example.com>). Our new rapporteur this year is Yang Liu (firstname.lastname@example.org) of Columbia University.
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.
The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies will convene on Friday, December 7 from 3:30 to 5:30pm. We will meet in the Board Room on the first floor of the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. Please note the earlier starting time.
Our presenter for this session is Jaeyoon Song of McMaster University. The title of Dr. Song’s paper is “The Zhouli and Li Gou’s Constitutional Agenda.” A copy of the paper is available; please contact any of the organizers for a copy. Please note that it is slightly different than the copy sent out earlier and supersedes the earlier version.
All are welcome to attend. Please feel free to forward this message to interested colleagues. Please join us after the seminar for dinner at the Columbia Cottage restaurant, which is located on the corner of Amsterdam and 111th Streets.
If you have any questions, you may contact one of our organizers: Yong Huang, (email@example.com), Tao Jiang (firstname.lastname@example.org), On-cho Ng (email@example.com), or Deborah Sommer (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). Our rapporteur this year is Liu Peng (firstname.lastname@example.org) of Columbia University.
Wm. Theodore de Bary, among the most influential scholars of Confucianism in the United States, will be discussing a paper titled “Neo-Confucianism and the Core Curriculum” at the Columbia Neo-Confucianism Seminar on Friday, October 5. These seminars are open to any interested parties; contact the organizers for a copy of the paper (which should be read in advance). Details follow. (Also, note that the organizers are soliciting ideas for future sessions this year.) Continue reading “DeBary at Oct 5 Neo-Confucianism Seminar”
I’ve just received a copy of the new Johnston and Wang translation of Daxue and Zhongyong from the Chinese University of Hong Kong Press (distributed in the US by Columbia University Press). Since there are quite a few translations of these texts around, and it doesn’t seem that one can get a Table of Contents or much information from the CUP or Amazon websites, I thought I’d share a bit about the volume here.
Continue reading “New Book: Daxue and Zhongyong: Bilingual Edition”
Christian Soffel and Hoyt Cleveland Tillman, Cultural Authority and Political Culture in China: Exploring Issues with the Zhongyong and the Daotong during the Song, Jin and Yuan Dynasties. Stuttgart, Germany: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2012. ISBN 978-3-515-10134-9.
Although the book covers a considerable spectrum of thinkers, especially during the Song, special attention is given to Wang Bo in the Southern Song and Hao Jing in the Yuan. In addition to exploring how the Zhongyong and the Daotong were used to shed light on views of cultural authority, the volume shows the complexity of Zhu Xi’s influence and its limitations in the 13th century — even among those who have been regarded as major followers of his teachings.