State of the Field(s)?

The university I have taught at for thirty years (!) does not have PhD programs (except in sciences and music, for various historical reasons). Over the years, though, I have been asked to serve as an external member on PhD committees of, or even co-supervise, quite a number of students whose home department did not have sufficient expertise in their desired area of research. Since 2004, 18 such folks have successfully defended their dissertations, and I thought it might possibly be interesting to share the range of disciplines:

  • Philosophy = 4
  • Political Theory = 6
  • Religion = 3
  • Asian Studies / Chinese = 5

To some degree, of course, this is going to reflect my idiosyncratic interests. But I found myself wondering if the breakdown here points to anything more general. Are fewer people studying topics related to Confucianism in philosophy departments than in political theory or Asian studies? Or are political theory programs less likely than others to be able to support a dissertation on a Confucian topic without external help? Or … but rather than continuing to speculate by myself, I thought I’d open this up to see whether you all out there have ideas.

On-Line Book Workshop on Kim, Confucian Constitutionalism

Elena Ziliotti has organized an online book symposium on Sungmoon Kim’s recent book Confucian Constitutionalism (OUP, 2023) by inviting several philosophers and political theorists. Please see
https://philevents.org/event/show/121478
for details and to RSVP. The event is Thursday, April 18 beginning at 2:30pm Amsterdam time.

CFP: Proposed Journal of Social and Political Philosophy issue on Common Sense

In Eclipse of Reason (1947), Max Horkheimer provides a fundamental analysis of the ambivalences of the (Western) concept of reason and showcases what a dialectical understanding of reason could look like. The special issue of JSPP “Eclipse of Common Sense” proposes an analogous treatment of the concept of common sense. The issue will revisit the conceptual foundations and premises of common sense (analytical function); explore its ambivalent normative character (evaluative function); and suggest ways out of this impasse that are inherent (critical function). In a first step, authors will address from a conceptual and a historical perspective a series of parameters or intellectual constants at the core of the term’s conceptual content. Second, other papers will scrutinize the concept’s foundation for democratic societies and test the term’s political applicability by examining its emancipatory promises in regard to promoting core democratic values, e.g., inclusivity, plurality, and visibility. Third, some will draw attention to the dangers underlying every attempt to universalize the supposed qualities of a particular and contextually dependent, Western, type of common sense and extrapolate different ways to reconceptualize the term as well as different practices that help overcome it’s political-social shortcomings.

Anyone interested in submitting a paper dealing with an East Asian approach or approaches to common sense should contact Paul Patton prp@unsw.edu.au

Deadline for Submissions: December 31, 2024.

OUP Highlights Korean Women Philosophers

This March, Oxford Universty Press is focused on ‘Women in the History of Philosophy’ and have made the following chapter Introduction | Korean Women Philosophers and the Ideal of a Female Sage: Essential Writings of Im Yungjidang and Gang Jeongildang | Oxford Academic (oup.com) free to read. Congrats to the editors/translators, P. J. Ivanhoe and Hwa Yeong Wang!

How much historical context when teaching topically?

A colleague recently wrote to me saying that he was:

…inspired by the topical discussion in the Neo-Confucianism book you co-authored and so I decided to structure my course on Neo-Confucianism according to a thematic/topical discussion instead of the usual historical or thinker structure. However, how does one mitigate the pitfalls of sacrificing historicity? Specifically, how much context or historicity should I provide?

I would love to hear any thoughts that folks out there have, either as it relates to teaching Neo-Confucianism or any other relevant subject. Justin Tiwald and I share some thoughts here about why we prefer to teach in a thematic way, and have collected a few teaching ideas here, but I am sure there are some great ideas out there. Please share!

CFP: Special Issue on Resemblance

Call for papers: special issue on resemblance in the Asian Journal of Philosophy

Guest editors: Ben Blumson (NUS, Singapore), Malcolm Keating (Smith College, USA)

The nature of similarity (or resemblance) and our epistemic access to it have been important topics in both contemporary philosophy and historical traditions, including, for example, Indian and Medieval European philosophical traditions. This collection of papers in the Asian Journal of Philosophy brings together philosophers across these traditions working on related questions.

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