Introducing the WWWOPY awards!

It is often remarked that too many papers are published, too few read. This is likely true of our own area of interest here at Warp, Weft, and Way–Chinese philosophy.

One way to call more attention to published research and, more importantly, have it read and incorporated into ongoing debates, is to highlight exceptional work. The most widely known yearly distinction for philosophy papers is the Philosopher’s Annual (motto: “an attempt to pick the ten best articles of the year”). Alas, it is unlikely anything concerning Chinese philosophy will be nominated for, let alone receive, this distinction in the foreseeable future. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy does choose one article per year for distinction, which has been terrific; but its candidate pool is limited to articles published in that journal. This leaves out several other journals that publish important research, not to mention the numerous anthologies and companion volumes that remain important vehicles for cutting edge research in our field. And as mainstream, non-specialist journals begin to accept more papers in Chinese philosophy, some papers may be overlooked as a result.

But we need not sit idly by while meritorious articles go unrecognized. Hence, we announce the Warp, Weft, and Way Outstanding Papers of the Year (or WWWOPY) Awards. Continue reading

Christopher Gowans – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Self-Cultivation Philosophy as an Interpretive Framework: The Critique of Desire” Feb 24 at 5:30pm

Welcomes: CHRISTOPHER GOWANS (Fordham University)
With responses from: BRYAN VAN NORDEN (Vassar College)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24th at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:

Self-Cultivation Philosophy as an Interpretive Framework: The Critique of Desire

ABSTRACT: I will explain and defend a concept of self-cultivation philosophy and argue that it is a valuable interpretive framework for comprehending, comparing and assessing several central philosophical traditions in ancient Greece, China and India (and for envisioning one form philosophy could take today). Continue reading

Irene Cronin (UCLA): The Notion of Accepted Contradiction in Early Chinese Daoism. 12 Dec 2016 at CUNY Graduate Center

FALL 2016 Logic and Metaphysics Workshop

DateMonday December 12, 4.15-6.15

Place: Room 5382, CUNY Graduate Center.

Speaker: Irena Cronin, UCLA

TitleThe Notion of Accepted Contradiction in Early Chinese Daoism

Abstract: Although the representation of the Dao differs a little between the representative Early Chinese Daoist works Zhuangzi and Dao de jing, the differences are one of degree, rather than “substance”.  In Zhuangzi, the common man as possible master craftsman, whether it be as a cook, woodmaker, or fisherman, or other kind of craftsman, has the capability of understanding and embracing the Dao (although these occurrences would be relatively rare), while in Dao de jing, it is only the Sage, a rare man of extreme ability that can do so; all others do not have this capability and have minor, shadowy and totally indeterminable experiences of the Dao, and are “condemned” to live an ignorant and almost animal-like existence, finding solace in creature comforts.

Continue reading

Alexus McLeod – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “The Madman of Chu: The Problem of Mental Illness and Self-Cultivation in Early Chinese Texts”, Dec. 2 @ 5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes: ALEXUS MCLEOD (University of Connecticut)
With responses from: ANDREW MEYER (Brooklyn College, CUNY)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2nd at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:

The Madman of Chu: The Problem of Mental Illness and Self-Cultivation in Early Chinese Texts

ABSTRACT: In Confucian and Zhuangist texts of the Pre-Han and Han period, we see characters described as “crazy, mad” (狂 kuang), and find descriptions or discussions of madness or mad persons—most prominently the infamous Jieyu, “Madman of Chu”. I argue that madness is seen by Confucians and Zhuangists as a kind of moral deformity that moves one outside of the boundaries of ritual and society and thus full personhood—a fact that leads the Confucians to shun mad people, and the Zhuangist to praise them.  Madness is seen not as a 病 bing (disorder, illness), but instead as based on a cultivated choice.   Continue reading

Bai Tongdong – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Pre-Qin Chinese Thought as a Modern Political Philosophy”, Nov.11 @ 5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes: TONGDONG BAI (Fudan University)
With responses from: VIREN MURTHY (University of Wisconsin Madison)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11th at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:

“Pre-Qin Chinese Thought as a Modern Political Philosophy”

ABSTRACT: In this paper, I will deal with the issue of the legitimacy of Chinese philosophy as a philosophy first.  With the definition of philosophy as a systematic reflection on fundamental human problems that transcend time, place, and a particular people, I will argue that there is a philosophical dimension in traditional Chinese thought.  I will also explain and defend the ways Chinese philosophy expresses its systematic reflections.  I will also respond to the criticism that the elucidation and systematization effort in dealing with Chinese philosophy makes Chinese philosophy lose its significance.  Moreover, I will argue that comparative philosophy should be problem-oriented, and the problems with which the pre-Qin thinkers dealt resemble those in early European modernity.  Thus, not only is Chinese philosophy a philosophy, but it is a modern political philosophy.  Through the analysis of the nature of pre-Qin philosophy, I also hope to direct the readers to a reevaluation of the nature of modernity, and of the relevance of pre-Qin philosophy to today’s world. Continue reading

Eric Schwitzgebel – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Death and Self in the Incomprehensible Zhuangzi”, THURSDAY Oct.13 @ 5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes: ERIC SCHWITZGEBEL (University of California Riverside)
With responses from: CHRISTOPHER GOWANS (Fordham University)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on *THURSDAY*, OCTOBER 13th at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:

“Death and Self in the Incomprehensible Zhuangzi”

ABSTRACT: The ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi defies interpretation. This is an inextricable part of the beauty and power of his work. The text – by which I mean the “Inner Chapters” of the text traditionally attributed to him, the authentic core of the book – is incomprehensible as a whole. It consists of shards, in a distinctive voice. Despite repeating imagery, ideas, style, and tone, these shards cannot be pieced together into a self-consistent philosophy. This lack of self-consistency is a positive feature of Zhuangzi. It is part of what makes him the great and unusual philosopher he is, defying reduction and summary.  In this talk, I will look at Zhuangzi’s inconsistent remarks about death and the self. Continue reading

Columbia Neo-Confucian Seminar: Hagop Sarkissian “Experimental Philosophy and the Confucian Philosophical Tradition: A Brief History and Comparison.” Friday, September 30 @ 3:30pm

The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies (University Seminar #567) will convene Friday, September 30, 2016 from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University.

Hagop Sarkissian (City University of New York, Baruch College | Graduate Center) will present his paper

“Experimental Philosophy and the Confucian Philosophical Tradition: A Brief History and Comparison.”

ABSTRACT: Continue reading

Tao Jiang – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Between Philosophy and History: The Challenge of Authorship to Classical Chinese Philosophy in the Western Academy”, Sep.23 @ 5:30pm

THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY

Welcomes: TAO JIANG (Rutgers University)

With responses from: ESKE MØLLGAARD (University of Rhode Island)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23rd at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:

“Between Philosophy and History: The Challenge of Authorship to Classical Chinese Philosophy in the Western Academy”

 ABSTRACT: The tension between philosophical and historical inquiries has been a perennial problem. Within the modern academy, the disciplines of philosophy and history are protected by their respective institutional norm and practice, without much need for interaction. However, Chinese philosophy, situated between Sinology and philosophy in the western academy, has encountered extraordinary challenges from both Sinologists (most of whom are historians) and (Western) philosophers. At the root of the difficulty facing Chinese philosophy lies its very legitimacy, torn between the historicist orientation of Sinology and the presentist orientation of mainstream contemporary Western philosophy. Such divergent disciplinary norms have put scholars of Chinese philosophy in a difficult position. On the one hand, they have to defend the philosophical nature, or even the philosophical worthiness, of classical Chinese texts in front of contemporary Western philosophers whose interests tend to be more issue-driven and in the philosophical integrity of ideas, rather than the historicity of ideas. At the same time, these scholars of Chinese philosophy, when dealing with Sinologists, need to justify the basic premise of their philosophical approach to the classics due to the historical ambiguity and compositional instability of these texts. Continue reading

Call for Abstracts: Fifth Northeast Conference on Chinese Thought (NECCT)

We hereby request submissions of abstracts for the Fifth Northeast Conference on Chinese Thought (NECCT), to be held at the University of Bridgeport (Bridgeport, CT) on Saturday and Sunday, November 5-6, 2016.

Interested scholars should send an abstract of no more than one single-spaced page, plus a current CV, to Manyul Im (manyulim@bridgeport.edu) and Hagop Sarkissian (hagop.sarkissian@baruch.cuny.edu) no later than June 30, 2016. All files should either be in Word or .pdf format. Please make the subject line of the email read as follows: NECCT 2016 Submission.

The goals of the conference are twofold:  Continue reading

Columbia Neo-Confucian Seminar: Brook Ziporyn “Zhu Xi on the Consciousness and Unconsciousness of the Mind of Heaven and Earth” this Friday, April 22 @ 3:30pm

The next session of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies (University Seminar #567) will convene Friday, April 22, 2016 from 3:30 to 5:30pm in the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University.

Brook Ziporyn (University of Chicago) will present his paper “Zhu Xi on the Consciousness and Unconsciousness of the Mind of Heaven and Earth: Cross-Cultural Considerations of Ontological Theism and Atheism.”

All are welcome to attend. Copies of his paper and other information are available from the organizers: Ari Borrell , Tao JiangOn-cho Ng, or Deborah Sommer.