When I was in Taiwan last week, friends there recommended that I should look at the new book 《公民儒學》 (Civic Confucianism) by Norman Teng 鄧育仁, recently published by National Taiwan University Press. Professor Teng, who received his PhD a number of years ago from Southern Illinois University, is now a researcher at the Academia Sinica; I had a chance to meet him and talk with him at length about his book and future research projects while I was there. The book is fascinating. He proposes that in this age of democratic pluralism, a “civic philosophical 公民哲學” approach should be to seek serious dialogue among philosophical traditions, in the spirit of egalitarian democracy. In particular, he is interested in how we should think about Confucians and Confucianism in a pluralistic, democratic society like Taiwan. His book combines a number of innovative methodological approaches (e.g., paying special attention to the ways that early Confucians use narrative reflection and the reframing of premises, rather than explicit deductive logic, which techniques can then be applied in the present day as well) in order to explore a particular means of developing a form of democratic Confucianism today. He draws extensively on John Rawls in some chapters; that, plus his emphasis on a rootedness in the actual experience of Taiwan’s democratic society, suggests some very interesting comparisons between Teng’s work and that of Sungmoon Kim (whose work on modern Confucian democracy is rooted in the experience of South Korea). In any event, well worth serious attention for those of us thinking about the future of Confucianism.
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!
Some information for professors (U.S. citizenship) who might be interested.
I met today with the executive director of Fulbright Taiwan and the chair of the Department of Philosophy at National Taiwan University, where I am currently doing a teaching Fulbright. Both of them expressed the sentiment that this is a good association and that the U.S.-Taiwan relationship would be well-served by continuing it. Fulbright depends on the initiative of applicants, however, rather than putting out calls for participation. So they can only accommodate a philosopher if a philosopher applies. A special interest was expressed for political philosophy, especially related to the potential democratization of China. (I’m teaching American Pragmatism and Comparative Moral Psychology–at the graduate level.) They both thought it would be a good idea to get the word out on this blog.
The fascinating new(ish) website and project, Thinking China, is well worth a look. Part of a broader project called The China Story, it aims to document contemporary Chinese thinking on a range of subjects, and offers information and links to resources on several intellectuals already. The following discussion of its goals is quite compelling — and interestingly connected to some recent discussions on this blog: Continue reading →
The three-day conference and book symposium “Virtue and Luck: Virtue Theory and Chinese Philosophy” has now concluded, and I thought I might offer a summary and some thoughts. The idea that linked together the three quite distinct days’ activities was “virtue,” East and West, in ethics and in epistemology, pro and con. Continue reading →