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!
I am very happy to announce the 2nd Rutgers Workshop on Chinese Philosophy, which will be held on Friday, April 11, on the topic “Xunzi on Authority.” Four scholars of Chinese philosophy will present papers, each followed by a critical commentary from a member of the Rutgers University Philosophy Department. Attendance (including lunch) is free but requires an advance RSVP so that we know how much food to get. Please read on for details!
PJ Ivanhoe and the Center for East Asian and Comparative Philosophy at City University of Hong Kong have been awarded a John Templeton Foundation Grant for a project on “Eastern and Western Conceptions of Oneness, Virtue, and Human Happiness.” For more information, check out their website. Congratulations!
Shame is an important idea in Confucianism, as several blog readers and contributors have noted. From the following review, it sounds like the position of this book’s authors might resonate well with Confucian perspectives in several respects (though the perspective of the reviewer might come even closer!).
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
Julien A, Deonna, Raffaele Rodogno, and Fabrice Teroni, In Defense of Shame: The Faces of an Emotion, Oxford University Press, 2012, 268pp., $55.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780199793532.
Reviewed by Jason A. Clark, Institute for Cognitive Science, University of Osnabrueck
Scott Barnwell’s essay “The Evolution of the Concept of De 德 in Early China,” has been published, as Sino-Platonic Paper 235. (Direct link to PDF here.) Congratulations, Scott! Here’s the first paragraph:
The present research paper explores the semantic space occupied by the ancient Chinese concept of De 德 over time. As Confucius observed in the epigraph, few people seemed to understand it in his day and many still do not today. In this paper, we will examine the various connotations conveyed by the word in the earliest written material — bronze inscriptions from the eleventh century B.C.E. — to the Han Dynasty (漢, 202 B.C.E. – 220 C.E.): roughly the first one thousand years. As it is a research paper, there will be no sustained argument defending some thesis, as is expected in a philosophy paper. It is rather a comprehensive, exploratory, educational tour of the semantic field of De in early Chinese literature. The critical reader should adjust his expectations accordingly.
I am happy to report that the book that Michael Slote and I have been editing, Virtue Ethics and Confucianism, will see the light of day before too many more months pass. Routledge now has a webpage for the book which includes its cover, table of contents, and so on, and it can even be pre-ordered. For those of you who are neither independently wealthy nor buyers for academic libraries (i.e., virtually anyone reading this), please be assured that a more reasonably-priced paperback edition will be forthcoming in a couple more years.
Virtues: Intellectual and Moral — An International Workshop
April 2, 2013, 4:15–6:30pm, Wesleyan University, Russell House (350 High Street, Middletown, CT)
Three philosophers based in Taiwan will present papers exploring different aspects of intellectual and practical virtue, each paper followed by comments from a member of the Wesleyan Philosophy Department, with general discussion at the end. The event is free and open to all. Please contact Lynn Higgs with any questions.
One key to successful comparative philosophical research is locating an area in where there is sufficient overlap between different traditions’ approaches that each can see the other as generating relevant challenges or questions, stimulating new ways of framing issues, and so on. I would argue that the “virtue ethics” paradigm has been successful in just this way, bringing together an increasing number of Anglophone and Sinophone philosophers and philosophical projects in fruitful fashion, as judged by the interesting, explicitly work that is being generated by Anglophone scholars (including those with little prior background in Chinese and Chinese philosophy) and some Sinophone thinkers (including those with little prior background in Western philosophy).
Another possible area of overlap and mutual stimulus — though it remains to be seen whether it will generate a similar level of fruitfulness — is virtue epistemology; Michael Chien-kuo Mi and colleagues at Soochow University in Taiwan have been collaborating with Ernie Sosa of Rutgers University and some other Western-trained philosophers in this endeavor.
What I mainly wanted to call attention to here, though, is a third area. The recent APA conference featured a panel (sponsored by the APA Committee on the Status of Asian and Asian-American Philosophers and Philosophies) on “Asian/Comparative Views of the Embodied and Enactive Mind.” Drawing on Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism, as well as on various streams of philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and phenomenology, the panelists (Bongrae Seok, Matthew MacKenzie, and Bradley Park) made it eminently clear that there is a major area of overlap and many opportunities for mutual stimulus and learning. I was also struck by the fact that a successful NEH Summer Institute was held last summer on this topic; looking at the range of participants and faculty, it is again clear that there is a lot of room for exciting growth in this area of comparative philosophy.
This article should be of interest to many. (Thanks to Patrick O’Donnell for the pointer!) Comments welcome.
In case you are not tired of thinking about the issues raised by Henry Rosemont’s and Roger Ames’s defense of “role ethics,” I’d like to offer one more perspective on the matter. Rosemont and Ames see Confucian role ethics as a full-scale replacement to the current moral theories on offer, which in their writings seem to be consequentialism, Kantian deontology, and Aristotelian virtue ethics. As Bill Haines suggested in a comment to a previous post on this subject, some readers of Aristotle find the version of Aristotle that is rejected by Rosemont and Ames to be a caricature, but I am going to set that issue to the side and look at the possible value of recasting the ideas and values driving Confucian role ethics as a version of a broad notion of virtue ethics. Continue reading →