12th Annual Midwest Conference on Chinese Thought
The University of Chicago
March 11-12, 2016
The Midwest Conference on Chinese Thought was created to foster dialogue and interaction between scholars and students working on Chinese thought across different disciplines and through a variety of approaches. Submissions are invited for papers on any aspect of Chinese thought, as well as papers dealing with comparative issues that engage Chinese perspectives.
This year’s conference will be held on Friday, March 11 and Saturday, March 12 at the University of Chicago. Our keynote speaker will be Chad Hansen, Chair Professor of Chinese Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Hong Kong.
Professor Hansen will discuss classical Chinese ethical naturalism, which elaborates dao (ways, paths) as its focal normative metaphor. Extending his career-long argument that Daoist texts ground normativity in emergent natural contexts, he will present a broadly Zhuangist response to the is-ought problem and moral anti-realism. Modern science does not dispel the mystery of natural ways, but only demarcates more clearly their boundaries. Natural ways include normatively-laden social practices, and seeing those practices as part of nature does not rule out our finding, choosing, constructing and following them correctly. Such a stance does render normative relativism likely and skepticism a constant threat, but this fact need neither paralyze us nor undermine our free and easy pursuit of dao in a rich and complex natural context.