Author Archives: hagop sarkissian

David Wong’s new ‘Moral Relativism and Pluralism’ available for free download until Jan 20

Readers of this blog might be interested in David Wong’s new Moral Relativism and Pluralism by Cambridge University Press. It is available to download for free directly from CUP until January 20. If you’re interested, don’t delay!

It’s part of the Cambridge Elements series (specifically, Elements in Ethics), so it’s meant to be a succinct yet authoritative guide to the topic. Here is a summary of the book:

The argument for metaethical relativism, the view that there is no single true or most justified morality, is that it is part of the best explanation of the most difficult moral disagreements. The argument for this view features a comparison between traditions that highly value relationship and community and traditions that highly value personal autonomy of the individual and rights. It is held that moralities are best understood as emerging from human culture in response to the need to promote and regulate interpersonal cooperation and internal motivational coherence in the individual. The argument ends in the conclusion that there is a bounded plurality of true and most justified moralities that accomplish these functions. The normative implications of this form of metaethical relativism are explored, with specific focus on female genital cutting and abortion.

 

Friday Oct 14, Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy: Sin yee Chan – «How to nurture compassion?—Some lessons from Asian philosophical traditions»

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes you to an IN-PERSON meeting:

Sin yee Chan (University of Vermont) « How to nurture compassion?—Some lessons from Asian philosophical traditions »
With responses from Timothy Connolly (East Stroudsburg University)

ABSTRACTRecent philosophical discussions on compassion focus on the value and the nature of compassion as an emotion. Ancient Asian philosophical traditions such as Confucianism and Buddhism, however, emphasize compassion as a character trait that should be nurtured. This paper examines the insights drawn from these traditions to help inform the nurturing of compassion. For example, is empathy a necessary tool?  What is the role of love and care?  Does self-reflection contribute to the process?

DATE: October 14th, 2022
TIME: 5:30 – 7:30 pm EST
LOCATION: Faculty House, Columbia University, 64 Morningside Dr, New York, NY 10027

Dinner will be kindly offered by the Columbia University Seminars. 

RSVP is required for dinner. Please email Lucilla with eating requirements at lm3335@columbia.edu. 

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Job Opening: The City University of New York, Baruch College

The Department of Philosophy at Baruch College, CUNY, is seeking applicants for an Assistant Professor position, tenure track. The position will involve teaching introductory-level undergraduate courses as well as elective courses in the applicant’s area of expertise. We are seeking a philosopher with a strong research profile.

Area of Specialization: Non-Western Philosophy OR Value Theory
Area of Competence: Philosophy of Mind & Psychology (preferred)

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MARCH 25, 2022: Li Zehou on the ‘Deep Structures of Confucianism’ (Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy)

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Presents: Li Zehou on the ‘Deep Structures of Confucianism’

Lead Presenter: Andrew Lambert (College of Staten Island, CUNY)
Discussants:  Robert A. Carleo III (East China Normal University), Emma Buchtel (Hong Kong Education University)

ABSTRACT: Contemporary Chinese intellectual Li Zehou’s cross-cultural methodology blends traditional Confucian thought with thinkers such as Kant and Marx. This seminar addresses the question of culture and its role in Li’s thought. Li has made several claims about how a settled cultural tradition influences the subjects within it. One such claim concerns the existence of ‘deep structures’ of Confucianism, as outlined in this preparatory reading. The idea is that culture, history, and social practice (collectively, a tradition) shape human psychology (including the formation of concepts, emotions, and values) in ways not always apparent to the subject. Within the Chinese tradition, Confucianism constitutes such a deep structure, and its effects cannot be captured by textual studies alone, nor studies of material culture. Rather, the deep structure is articulated in terms of an emergent shared subjectivity. Such traditions can evolve and ultimately dissolve; nevertheless, their effects are deep-rooted. This seminar meeting will aim to identify the parameters of Li’s ambitious theoretical framework and its plausibility, and to explore connections with current work in related fields, such as cultural and empirical psychology.

DATE: March 25, 2022
TIME: 6:30 – 8:00 pm EST

This seminar will take place via Zoom (please scroll down for the full invitation).

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Book Symposium–Tao Jiang’s Origins of Moral-Political Philosophy in Early China

Date: 4 February 2022 (Friday)
Time: 09:00 (HKT-Hong Kong Time)
***PLEASE NOTE: For those in North America, this will be 8:00pm EST on Thursday, February 3***
Venue: Online (This talk will be held via Zoom–registration required–see below.)
Moderator: Sungmoon Kim, City University of Hong Kong

This book symposium comprises a précis of Tao Jiang’s Origins of Moral-Political Philosophy in Early China (Oxford University Press, 2021) together with three critical commentaries on different aspects of the book by Karyn Lai, Hui-chieh Loy, and Hagop Sarkissian, and the author’s replies.

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POSTPONED: Li Zehou on the ‘Deep Structures of Confucianism’ (Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy)

UPDATE: The Student Workers of Columbia University (SWC) went on strike as of November 3, 2021. The Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy respects the SWC’s decision to strike, and hopes that an agreement is reached quickly.

Until then, we have chosen to suspend our seminar meetings, including the previously scheduled meeting for Friday, November 12, in solidarity with the striking students. A revised schedule of meetings will be announced at the appropriate time. Original announcement (now edited), below. – HS

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THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Presents: Li Zehou on the ‘Deep Structures of Confucianism’

Lead Presenter: Andrew Lambert (College of Staten Island, CUNY)
Discussants:  Robert A. Carleo III (East China Normal University), Ryan Nichols (California State University, Fullerton), Emma Buchtel (Hong Kong Education University)

ABSTRACT: Contemporary Chinese intellectual Li Zehou’s cross-cultural methodology blends traditional Confucian thought with thinkers such as Kant and Marx. This seminar addresses the question of culture and its role in Li’s thought. Li has made several claims about how a settled cultural tradition influences the subjects within it. One such claim concerns the existence of ‘deep structures’ of Confucianism, as outlined in this preparatory reading. The idea is that culture, history, and social practice (collectively, a tradition) shape human psychology (including the formation of concepts, emotions, and values) in ways not always apparent to the subject. Within the Chinese tradition, Confucianism constitutes such a deep structure, and its effects cannot be captured by textual studies alone, nor studies of material culture. Rather, the deep structure is articulated in terms of an emergent shared subjectivity. Such traditions can evolve and ultimately dissolve; nevertheless, their effects are deep-rooted. This seminar meeting will aim to identify the parameters of Li’s ambitious theoretical framework and its plausibility, and to explore connections with current work in related fields, such as cultural and empirical psychology.

DATE: TBA
TIME: TBA

This seminar will take place via Zoom (please scroll down for the full invitation). Below you will find the link to join the meeting. Continue reading →

2021 Res Philosophica Conference: Globalizing Empirically-Informed Philosophy (Nov 18-19)

The Res Philosophica Conference is hosted by the Department of Philosophy at Saint Louis University. The themes are chosen by members of the Department, and the papers from the conference are published in a special issue of the journal.

2021 Conference: Globalizing Empirically-Informed Philosophy

The 2021 Res Philosophica Conference, titled Globalizing Empirically-Informed Philosophy, is organized by Helen De Cruz and will be held online on November 18 and 19th, 2021. Participants include Julianne N. Chung, Alexis Elder, Bryce Huebner, Nicholaos Jones, Edouard Machery, Ryan Nichols and Hagop Sarkissian.

The aim of this conference is to bring together scholars working on the intersections between empirically-informed philosophy and lesser taught philosophical traditions. Empirically-informed philosophy includes both experimental philosophy (philosophers who use experiments to address philosophical questions) and philosophy that draws on results from the sciences, such as psychology, archaeology, or biology. There is a nascent interest on how empirical approaches might bear on philosophical questions outside of the western tradition. For example, to what extent are philosophical intuitions stable across cultures? How can we empirically investigate concepts from Confucian philosophy, such as li and ren? The aim of this conference is to explore how these questions might be approached, to identify future avenues for research, and to examine potentially how the intersection of empirical approaches and non-western philosophical traditions might enhance pedagogical goals as well.

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OCTOBER 22, 2021: A Discussion of Fa (法) in the Shenzi–Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Presents: A Discussion of Fa (法) in the Shenzi

Lead Presenter: Eirik Lang Harris
Discussants:  Alejandro Bárcenas (Texas State University), Yutang Jin (Princeton University), Mercedes Valmisa (Gettysburg College)

ABSTRACT: The Shenzi Fragments, numbering a mere 3,000 or so characters in length, is all that remains of a work attributed to Shen Dao (ca. 350-275 BCE). While perhaps best known for his appearance in the Han Feizi as an advocate for positional power (勢 shi), he also makes an appearance in the Xunzi as one who is blinded by his focus on 法 fa (models, standards, laws).  We will examine the fragments that discuss fa in an attempt to come to a deeper understanding of the role that these fragments see for the fa, how they are to be determined, and why Shen Dao took them to be central to a strong, stable, and flourishing state. The selected fragments, in classical Chinese with English translations (Harris 2016), are included here as a PDF attachment. Please review the passages ahead of the meeting.

DATE: October 22, 2021
TIME: 7:00-8:30 pm

This seminar will take place via Zoom (please scroll down for the full invitation). Below you will find the link to join the meeting. There are two things we ask you to do before the meeting can start. First, you will need to sign in by typing your name in the chat. Subsequently, we will have to agree to the privacy policy for the meeting. The privacy policy provided by the Columbia University Seminars Office will be read aloud. To indicate your agreement, you will raise your virtual Zoom hand in the Participants panel. Continue reading →

MARCH 12, 2021: A Passage from Wang Yangming’s “Questions on the Great Learning

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

PresentsA Passage from Wang Yangming’s “Questions on the Great Learning”

Presenter: Harvey Lederman (Princeton University)
Discussants: Stephen Angle (Wesleyan University), Warren Frisina (Hofstra University), Xiaomei Yang (Southern Connecticut State University)

ABSTRACT: This session will follow the organization of those we had on Zhuangzi and Śāntideva from Fall 2020. A lead presenter will give some background on the text from which the passage below is derived–namely, Wang Yangming’s “Questions on the Great Learning” (大學問)–and introduce Wang’s notion of liangzhi (良知). The presentation will then discuss Wang’s understanding of “the extension of knowledge” (致知) and “making inclinations wholehearted” (誠意) from the Great Learning (大學) before giving a focused reading of the passage itself. According to this reading, a person has extended their knowledge if and only if they have made their inclinations wholehearted. Each of the discussants will then follow with some brief comments and questions before we open things up for Q&A.

DATE: March 12, 2021
TIME: 7:00-8:30 pm

Here is the passage:

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Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at Moravian College

The Modern Languages and Literatures Department at Moravian College invites applications for an ASIANetwork – Luce Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow. This two-year position will begin in August 2021; a Ph.D. is required by this date. This is a half-time teaching and half-time research position. The teaching load is 2/2 with the expectation that introductory and advanced courses will be offered. The successful applicant will be encouraged to teach comparatively about Asia. The field of specialization is open, but priority will be given to candidates who can teach courses on film or other visual cultures. We also will prioritize candidates with a proven record of motivating undergraduates to pursue further study of Asia. Candidates who can further Moravian’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are especially encouraged to apply.

Candidates should have a Ph.D. in Asian Studies, Asian American Studies, or have a disciplinary degree with research focused on Asia. Candidates should have demonstrated teaching effectiveness.

Deep respect for others is fundamental to the Moravian College community. Moravian College does not discriminate against any person based on actual or perceived race, color, sex, religion, ancestry, genetic information, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, marital status, age, veteran status, disability, use of guide or support animals and/or mechanical aids, or any other basis protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws. In compliance with the requirements of Title IX, Moravian College does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational program and activity, including employment.

Philosophers working on aesthetics in Asian contexts are encouraged to apply. International candidates are welcomed to apply. Please note that currently, Moravian College (unfortunately) does not sponsor work visas for international employees for 1-2 year positions such as this Postdoc. HR forces the College to list all jobs with “physical demands” that have bus drivers or security officers in mind, not a teaching postdoc position such as this. Pursuant to the ADA, Moravian College will provide reasonable accommodation(s) (see more in the ad).
More details here: