Category Archives: Neo-Confucianism

Teaching The Yi Jing (I Ching) in a Course on Neo-Confucianism

Over at, which is the companion website for Justin Tiwald and my book Neo-Confucianism: A Philosophical Introduction, I have posted some reflections on how I taught the Yi Jing (Book of Changes) in the context of my recent course on Neo-Confucianism. We even performed a divination! Take a look, and comments/questions either there or here are most welcome.

Feature review of books on Ming thought

The latest Journal of Asian Studies (Volume 77 / Issue 2, May 2018, pp 500 – 506) contains a feature review titled “The Lively World of Ming Dynasty Thought” by Katherine Carlitz, covering three recent books on Ming thought:

  • Symptoms of an Unruly Age: Li Zhi and Cultures of Early Modernity. By Rivi Handler-Spitz. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2017. xiii, 239 pp. ISBN: 9780295741505 (cloth, also available as e-book).
  • Li Mengyang, the North-South Divide, and Literati Learning in Ming China. By Chang Woei Ong. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center, 2016. xi, 354 pp. ISBN: 9780674970595 (cloth).
  • Confucian Image Politics: Masculine Morality in Seventeenth-Century China. By Ying Zhang. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2017. xvi, 306 pp. ISBN: 9780295998534 (cloth, also available as e-book).

Song Reviews Ivanhoe, Oneness

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2018.05.05 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Philip J. Ivanhoe, Oneness: East Asian Conceptions of Virtue, Happiness, and How We are All Connected, Oxford University Press, 2017, 188 pp., $39.95, ISBN 9780190840518.

Reviewed by Bin Song, Washington College

At the center of East Asian philosophical traditions lies a conception of oneness signifying that “we — and in particular our personal welfare or happiness — are inextricably intertwined with other people, creatures, and things,” which Ivanhoe calls the “oneness hypothesis.” (1) While drawing upon the writings of East Asian, especially neo-Confucian, thinkers to elucidate the conception of oneness, this book aims to show how these traditional views “can guide us in constructing contemporary versions of the oneness hypothesis.” (3) In an era when human civilization is constantly alarmed by ecological crisis and societal disintegration, this book has great appeal particularly to those who are willing to employ comparative philosophy to tackle these menacing issues.

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Weekly Articles of Interest (7 May 2018)

Only one article (outside of the standard journals) came to my attention this week:

Hagop Sarkissian, “Neo-Confucianism, experimental philosophy and the trouble with intuitive methods,” British Journal for the History of Philosophy (2018). Abstract below and here; available for free download here (NOTE: if you have free access to this journal through your institution, please access it that way, saving the 50 free downloads for those without institutional access).

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Free download of article on Wang Yangming

Larry Israel has published an article with Asian Philosophy, titled “The Transformation of the Wang Yangming Scholarship in the West, ca. 1960-1980: A Historical Essay.”  He asked me to post this because Routledge makes 50 eprints freely available here, and he didn’t know what to do with them, or if they would be of any interest. Feel free to download!

Confucianism and “Reacting to the Past”

I have recently learned of the “Reacting to the Past” pedagogy (see here), which seems fascinating, and in fact they have two modules directly related to Confucianism:

If anyone has experience with either of these, or with Reacting to the Past in general, please share your thoughts in the comments (or email me directly if you prefer). I gather that these “games” are mainly aimed at history classes, but I wonder how they would work in a philosophy class?

CFP Trier Conference on Zhu Xi

Call for Papers: International Conference on “Zhu Xi and Zhu Xi Studies”

In order to commemorate the 888th anniversary of the famous Chinese thinker Zhu Xi, the Institute of Sinology at Trier University (Germany) will host an international conference on Zhu Xi and “Zhu Xi Studies” (Zhuzi xue 朱子學).

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New Book: Song, trans., Ru Meditation: Gao Panlong (1562-1626 C.E)

Bin Song’s annotated translation of Gao Panlong (1562-1626 C.E)’s writings on Ruist (Confucian) meditative practice of quiet-sitting has been published. The book can be purchased at on for the book’s description and reviews: 

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New Book: Choi, Death Rituals and Politics in Northern Song China

Oxford has published Mihwa Choi’s book, Death Rituals and Politics in Northern Song China. According to the Oxford website, it:

  • Offers a new explanation of the 11th-century revival of Confucianism
  • Examines the roles of debates on death rituals within court politics
  • Moves beyond the consideration of Confucianism as a mainly intellectual movement

Sounds fascinating! See more here.

Angle at BU, Oct 27

I will be speaking at Boston University on Friday, October 27, at 3pm, sponsored by the Boston University Confucian Association. My title is “Neo-Confucianism as Philosophy,” and there will be three respondents to the lecture — Robert Neville, Yair Lior, and Lawrence Whitney — as well as an opportunity for general discussion. I am very much looking forward to this! Details are here.