Bai Tongdong – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Pre-Qin Chinese Thought as a Modern Political Philosophy”, Nov.11 @ 5:30pm


Welcomes: TONGDONG BAI (Fudan University)
With responses from: VIREN MURTHY (University of Wisconsin Madison)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11th at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:

“Pre-Qin Chinese Thought as a Modern Political Philosophy”

ABSTRACT: In this paper, I will deal with the issue of the legitimacy of Chinese philosophy as a philosophy first.  With the definition of philosophy as a systematic reflection on fundamental human problems that transcend time, place, and a particular people, I will argue that there is a philosophical dimension in traditional Chinese thought.  I will also explain and defend the ways Chinese philosophy expresses its systematic reflections.  I will also respond to the criticism that the elucidation and systematization effort in dealing with Chinese philosophy makes Chinese philosophy lose its significance.  Moreover, I will argue that comparative philosophy should be problem-oriented, and the problems with which the pre-Qin thinkers dealt resemble those in early European modernity.  Thus, not only is Chinese philosophy a philosophy, but it is a modern political philosophy.  Through the analysis of the nature of pre-Qin philosophy, I also hope to direct the readers to a reevaluation of the nature of modernity, and of the relevance of pre-Qin philosophy to today’s world.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 5:30-7:30 pm
Rm. 101, 80 Claremont Ave, Columbia University


December 2: ALEXUS MCLEOD (University of Connecticut)



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