Chinese and Comparative Philosophy in Singapore: Events in 2013

2013 is turning out to be a busy time for Chinese and Comparative Philosophy in Singapore. Apart from those of us who are part of the local scene (for instance, Sor Hoon Tan and myself at the National University of Singapore, Alan Chan and Chenyang Li at the Nanyang Technological University), we also have Franklin Perkins visiting NTU (for the academic year 2012/13), and Roger Ames at NUS (for 2013 Spring).

Some of the up-coming events are as follow:

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Talk: In Defense of Habit: Cognitive Science and Confucian Virtue Ethics

By Edward Slingerland, Thursday 14 March

Resource Room (AS3 0523), Department of Philosophy, National University of Singapore

Very briefly: The talk will argue that the early Confucian emphasis on moral spontaneity, moral emotions, and the inculcation of virtuous habits is based upon a model of human cognition that is much more empirically defensible than traditional deontology and utilitarianism. Confucian virtue ethics involves a kind of “time-delayed cognitive control” that presents a clever way of getting around the limits of human cognitive control abilities, embedding higher-level desires and goals in lower-level emotional and sensory-motor systems.

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Public Lecture: “Confucian” China in a Changing World Order: The Dynamics of Intergenerational Transmission

By Roger T. Ames, Wednesday 20 March, 2013, 6-7:30pm

Lecture Theatre 12, National University of Singapore

Very briefly:  Culture not only has legs, but indeed is quite literally embodied and reproduced by each succeeding generation. The lecture will use the term xiao 孝—family reverence—to explore cultural transmission within living family lineages, and the term ru 儒 to pursue an understanding of the changing cultural landscape as it is conserved and reconfigured across the centuries.

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Workshop: Justice and the Ethics of Dialogue and Debate

Sor-Hoon Tan, Arindam Chakrabarti, Ralph Weber and Chuan-fei Chin

Tuesday 26 March, 2013, 10am to 4pm

Conference Room 2 (UT 25-03-06), EduSports, U-town, National University of Singapore

Very briefly: The papers investigate the topic of justice by combining both epistemic and ethico-political perspectives, drawing on the writings of various philosophers (from Abhinavagupta and Dharmakirti to Peter Strawson, from Wittgenstein to Hanfeizi) and various philosophical traditions (e.g. the Marxist, Aristotelian and Confucian traditions).

* * * * *

Conference: Conceptions of Reality: Metaphysics and Its Alternatives in Chinese Thought Conference

29-30 March, 2013

School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University

(I’ll add more information when I have it.)

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Joint 2013 Meeting of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy and The Australasian Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy

Hosted by Department of Philosophy, National University of Singapore.

Monday 8 July – Thursday 11 July, 2013

National University of Singapore

(The Call for Papers had been posted earlier on this site.)

* * * * *

So if you are in this part of the world, do drop by to visit.

In addition to the one-off events, various advanced courses are also on going in the second (i.e., Spring) semester of academic year 2012/13 both at NUS and NTU.

Roger Ames is running a seminar “A Revisionist Reading of the Mencius” at Philosophy, NUS. The main burden of the seminar concerns responsible cultural comparisons and the importance of laying clear the interpretive context for interpreting a Classical Chinese philosophical text such as the Mencius. Ames’ goal is to articulate “the process cosmology and an exploration of the corollaries that follow from the primacy of vital relationality as underlying philosophical assumptions” to the ideas in the text.

Brook Ziporyn is conducting a comparative philosophy seminar with the topic of Comparative Critiques of Moral Dualism (“the view that good and evil are mutually exclusive”), by examining different ways in which the ambiguity of values is explored and with what consequences and premises in each case. The main texts read include selections from Zhuangzi, Tiantai Buddhism, Nietzsche and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

(Though Ames and Ziporyn’s classes are nominally honors level undergraduate seminars, they are well attended by graduate students from NUS and NTU, and some external visitors. Both Yuet-keung Lo and myself have also been regular at Ames’.)

Over at the other end of Singapore, Franklin Perkins is teaching a graduate seminar “Chinese Philosophy from Excavated Texts” at NTU. The aim is to bring the recently excavated texts “into the context of English language studies of Classical Chinese philosophy”, especially the study of such texts as the Daodejing, Mencius and Liji. The relevant excavated material includes those from Guodian, the Shanghai Museum collection, and some from Mawangdui. A major topic will concern early Chinese debates on cosmogony, and self-cultivation, and the link between them.

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