Author Archives: Steve Angle

New Book: New Life for Old Ideas

As a student of Don Munro and one of the contributors to the book, I am very happy to announce that CUHK Press has published Yanming An and Brian J. Bruya, eds., New Life for Old Ideas: Chinese Philosophy in the Contemporary World: A Festschrift in Honour of Donald J. Munro.

The publisher’s blurb: “Over five decades, Donald J. Munro has been one of the most important voices in sinological philosophy. Among other accomplishments, his seminal book The Concept of Man in Early China influenced a generation of scholars. His rapprochement with contemporary cognitive and evolutionary science helped bolster the insights of Chinese philosophers, and set the standard for similar explorations today. In this festschrift volume, students of Munro and scholars influenced by him celebrate Munro’s body of work in essays that extend his legacy, exploring their topics as varied as the ethics of Zhuangzi’s autotelicity, the teleology of nature in Zhu Xi, and family love in Confucianism and Christianity. Essays also reflect on Munro’s mentorship and his direct intellectual influence. Through their breadth, analytical excellence, and philosophical insight, the essays in this volume exemplify the spirit of intellectual inquiry that marked Donald Munro’s career as scholar and teacher.”

Vedal at Columbia Neo-Confucianism Seminar

The next session of the Columbia Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies (University Seminar #567) will convene on November 1st, from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the main board room of the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University.
The speaker will be Nathan Vedal, who will be sharing his book chapter titled “Script, Antiquity, and Mental Training: Metaphysical Inquiry into the History of Writing.” This will be part of his new book The Culture of Language in Ming China. If you plan on attending and would like a copy of the paper, please contact Chuyu Tian, Rapporteur for the Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies, at

Job at UT Austin

The Department of Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin invites applications for a faculty position in Asian Humanities at either the assistant (tenure-track) or associate (tenured) level with a regional specialization in either China or Japan, to begin August 2020. We seek applicants with research interests in literature, intellectual history, visual culture, or other fields in the humanities, focusing on premodern, modern, or contemporary periods. The successful candidate will be expected to engage in scholarly research, to teach two courses per semester, to supervise students at the undergraduate, M.A., and Ph.D. levels, and to contribute to the intellectual life and service needs of the department and the university.

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New article: Jiang & O’Dwyer, “The Universal Ambitions Of China’s Illiberal Confucian Scholars”

T. H. Jiang & Shuan O’Dwyer, “The Universal Ambitions Of China’s Illiberal Confucian Scholars,” has been published in the on-line journal Palladium. It begins:

Amid today’s talk of a coming civilizational clash between China and the West, it is easy to find philosophical experts on China holding forth on the cultural contours of Sino-Western civilizational difference. “China has always been and always will continue to be a communitarian society,” some have insisted; and its Confucian ethos is not a doctrine like America’s liberal individualism, but is instead the “ongoing narrative of a specific community of a people, the center of an ongoing ‘way’ or Dao.”

Such explanations amount to orientalist fantasies. How an industrialized society like modern China, transformed by both Communism and market reforms could still be defined by primordial cultural characteristics is not explained. Moreover, far from being a continuous, deeply organic narrative of the Chinese people, Confucianism is a diverse set of doctrines that have been ideologically contested, marginalized, reinvented and imposed as state dogmas at different times in Chinese history. This point holds for a brand of illiberal, statist Confucianism being promoted today in some of China’s leading universities, a brand whose future is still uncertain, but whose proponents hold out great hopes for its adoption into Chinese Communist Party orthodoxy. Moreover, this reinvented nationalist Confucianism is not without precedent in the modern history of East Asia; over a century ago, Japanese scholars educated in Europe were the pioneers of such a reinvention. This precedent, its cross-cultural inspirations, and its present day historical parallels in contemporary Chinese intellectual life merit examination, in view of the claims made by scholars for the cultural centrality of Confucianism in a morally renewed, globally rising China….

New Book: Johnson, Watsuji on Nature

Title: Watsuji on Nature: Japanese Philosophy in the Wake of Heidegger

Author: David W. Johnson (Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Boston College)

Publisher: Northwestern University Press

Publisher URL: (a brief description of the book can be found here)

The publisher also shared the information that you can order the paperback edition of Watsuji on Nature at a 25% discount at using the code NUP19 at checkout.

New PEA Soup Discussion: Dai Zhen on Shu

The second in blog PEA Soup’s series of discussions of cross-cultural normative philosophy has been posted: Tobias Fuchs begins it with a precis and questions related to Justin Tiwald’s 2009 essay “Is Sympathy Naïve? Dai Zhen on the Use of Shu to Track Well-Being.” Join in the discussion here. And don’t feel shy about adding comments related to Dai’s historical opponents or about exegetical issues — everything is fair game!

Columbia Neo-Confucianism Seminar: Ng, Qing Philosophy

The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies will convene on Friday, Oct 4th, from 3:30 to 5:30pm, in the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University.

Our speaker will be On-Cho Ng, who will be presenting his paper “Qing Philosophy”. Please contact Chuyu Tian, Rapporteur for the Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies, if you would like a copy of the paper in advance.

CFP: AAPT Conference

The American Association of Philosophy Teachers is a community of faculty, teachers, and grad students who are passionate about teaching and learning in philosophy, and every two years we have a conference with sessions focused entirely on that. Sessions are interactive and hands on, and a great way to connect with colleagues who enjoy talking and sharing ideas about teaching. 

We are inviting proposals for our 2020 workshop/conference, to be held at Otterbein University (Ohio, USA) July 22-25, 2020. Please see the CfP. Proposals due January 17, 2020.

We are interested in proposals in all areas of teaching and learning in philosophy, though are particularly interested in (among other things):

  • Teaching in non-traditional settings
  • Professional issues connected to teaching
  • Diversity and Inclusion in our classrooms and discipline
  • High-impact diversity practices” in teaching philosophy courses

Questions can be sent to Christina Hendricks ( or to the Program Chair, Jane Drexler (