I just got back yesterday from a very stimulating and enjoyable Pacific APA meeting in Vancouver (what a great city, by the way). I’ve been trying to catch up a bit with work so I haven’t had much time to blog. Let me just paste here a report from the ACPA Vice President, Jeeloo Liu, of her impressions from the meeting, but also of her call for topics to organize papers around for next years Pacific APA. You can, of course, send them directly to Prof. Liu, or send them to me, or suggest them in the comments section of this post.
ACPA Newsletter April 12, 2009
I just returned from the APA Pacific Division meeting held in Vancouver and wish to give you a report and my reflection as it relates to the future direction of the ACPA. I arrived mid-day of Friday, so could only report on the second of our ACPA sessions (the first session is the Dao annual best essay award to Erin Cline). This second session was chaired by Professor Chung-ying Cheng, with three speakers: Yiu-ming Fung from Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, Manyul Im of Fairfield University and Sin-Yee Chan of the University of Vermont. Fung’s paper employs two notions in contemporary Western metaphysics, ‘realization’ and ‘supervenience’, to reconstruct Wang Yangming’s metaphysics into a coherent view. Manyul Im’s paper aims to give a consequentialist reading to Mencius’ moral theory. Sin Yee Chan’s paper compares and analyzes Mozi’s, Laozi’s and Xunzi’s views on human desire, with an effort to delineate an intellectual thread in the development of their ideas. All three papers were innovative and seriously composed, and they challenge us to read these philosophers in a different light. The three commentators, Yujian Zheng of Lingnan University, Dan Robins of Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, and Hagop Sarkissian of City University of New York – Baruch College, have also done an excellent job in raising interesting questions for further discussion. I should congratulate the session organizer, Tongdong Bai, for finding such high-quality commentators. The session was well attended (with about 15 people in the audience) and there were many questions from the floor. Professor Cheng kept good control of time for each talk and discussion, so that we were able to finish the session by 10 pm. Even though it was late in the evening, many people stayed in the room to continue the discussion. A number of us went out to have a late dinner at a nearby Chinese restaurant until close to mid-night.
Another major event I wish to report on is the exciting mini-conference on Neo-Confucian moral psychology from a comparative approach. This is the first time the APA has a mini-conference on Chinese philosophy, and we should thank Eric Schwitzgebel (on the APA program committee) for accepting the initial proposal into the main program. Justine Tiwald, along with the planning committee (Philip J. Ivanhoe, Stephen Angle, Yong Huang, Eric Schwitzgebel, Pauline Lee), is instrumental in making this event possible. With their careful planning, the inception of the theme for this conference, the invitation of speakers and guest commentators, as well as the final execution of program on site, the mini-conference was an absolute success in every way. The main focus of the mini-conference is the comparative study of Neo-Confucian moral psychology. By leading off dialogues on such topics as moral perception, moral education, authenticity, anger, moral intuition, self-love and altruism, the speakers jointly open up many new directions for further comparative study on Neo-Confucianism. The commentators, with or without background in Neo-Confucianism, are experts on Western ethics and moral psychology. There were many issues that were highly connected; hence, the discussion was intense and focused. It is simply a wonderful experience to see so many people coming together to discuss Chinese philosophy. All sessions were well attended — even the last session Sunday morning drew about 30-40 people in attendance. Everyone I talked to remarked several times about how wonderful this mini-conference was.
If you wish to take a look at the abstracts/drafts of these presented papers, you can go visit the site: http://apa-pacific.org/minis/ncmp/papers.html (Please bear in mind that the papers are work-in-progress and should not be cited in any way without the author’s permission.)
Now the real issue. Both Tongdong Bai and I were greatly inspired by the quality of the mini-conference, and we would like to work with our close associates in the future to have group sessions similar to the format of this mini-conference. We have discussed this idea with Prof. Cheng from the ISCP as well as with Steve Angle and Justin Tiwald from ISCWP, and they all agreed that this focused format is something we should work together to promote. I think the APA Pacific Division meeting is the best occasion for our focused group session, because most people are not there for job interviews and the Pacific meeting is usually more well-attended by those scholars from the other side of the Pacific. We are going to try to come up with interesting topics before we send out our CFP for the Pacific meeting, and we invite you to suggest new topics that you think will have a wide appeal.
April 13, 2009
Vice President/Treasurer of the Association of Chinese Philosophers in North America
Department of Philosophy
California State University, Fullerton
Fullerton, CA 92834