Category Archives: Books of Interest

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.”

New Book: Treatise on Awakening Mahāyāna Faith

Oxford University Press has published a second translation in the Oxford Chinese Thought series, which is the Treatise on Awakening Mahāyāna Faith, a translation of the Dasheng qixin lun 大乘起信論. We are very pleased to make widely available this scholarly translation of one of the most influential texts in East Asian Buddhism. This is the product of years of careful work by John Jorgensen, Dan Lusthaus, John Makeham, and Mark Strange. A short description follows below the fold.

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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: http://www.nupress.northwestern.edu/content/watsuji-nature (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 nupress.northwestern.edu using the code NUP19 at checkout.

New edited collection on role ethics

Routledge has published a collection of essays on role ethics edited by Tim Dare and Christine Swanton, which includes two essays on early Confucian ethics. More information is here.

The publisher’s description is as follows:

Although our moral lives would be unrecognisable without them, roles have received little attention from analytic moral philosophers. Roles are central to our lives and to our engagement with one another, and should be analysed in connection with our core notions of ethics such as virtue, reason, and obligation.

This volume aims to redress the neglect of role ethics by confronting the tensions between conceptions of impartial morality and role obligations in the history of analytic philosophy and the Confucian tradition. Different perspectives on the ethical significance of roles can be found by looking to debates within professional and applied ethics, by challenging existing accounts of how roles generate reasons, by questioning the hegemony of ethical reasons, and by exploring the relation between expertise and virtue. The essays tackle several core questions related to these debates:

What are roles and what is their normative import?
To what extent are roles and the ethics of roles central to ethics as opposed to virtue in general, and obligation in general?
Are role obligations characteristically incompatible with ordinary morality in professions such as business, law, and medicine?
How does practical reason function in relation to roles?
Perspectives in Role Ethics is an examination of a largely neglected topic in ethics. It will appeal to a broad range of scholars in normative ethics, virtue ethics, non-Western ethics, and applied ethics interested in the importance of roles in our moral life.

New Book: Lambert, trans., Li Zehou, A History of Classical Chinese Thought

Andrew Lambert’s translation of Li Zehou’s A History of Classical Chinese Thought (中国古代思想史论) has just come out with Routledge. More information is here.

The publisher’s description:

Li Zehou is widely regarded as one of China’s most influential contemporary thinkers. He has produced influential theories of the development of Chinese thought and the place of aesthetics in Chinese ethics and value theory. This book is the first English-language translation of Li Zehou’s work on classical Chinese thought. It includes chapters on the classical Chinese thinkers, including Confucius, Mozi, Laozi, Sunzi, Xunzi and Zhuangzi, and also on later eras and thinkers such as Dong Zhongshu in the Han Dynasty and the Song-Ming Neo-Confucians.

The essays in this book not only discuss these historical figures and their ideas, but also consider their historical significance, and how key themes from these early schools reappeared in and shaped later periods and thinkers. Taken together, they highlight the breadth of Li Zehou’s scholarship and his syncretic approach—his explanations of prominent thinkers and key periods in Chinese intellectual history blend ideas from both the Chinese and Western canons, while also drawing on contemporary thinkers in both traditions. The book also includes an introduction written by the translator that helpfully explains the significance of Li Zehou’s work and its prospects for fostering cross-cultural dialogue with Western philosophy.

A History of Chinese Classical Thought will be of interest to advanced students and scholars interested in Chinese philosophy, comparative philosophy, and Chinese intellectual and social history.

New Book: O’Dwyer, Confucianism’s Prospects


SUNY Press has published Shaun O’Dwyer, Confucianism’s Prospects: A Reassessment. SUNY’s website is here.

The publisher’s blurb: In Confucianism’s Prospects, Shaun O’Dwyer offers a rare critical engagement with English-language scholarship on Confucianism. Against the background of historical and sociological research into the rapid modernization of East Asian societies, O’Dwyer reviews several key Confucian ethical ideas and proposals for East Asian alternatives to liberal democracy that have emerged from this scholarship. He also puts the following question to Confucian scholars: what prospects do those ideas and proposals have in East Asian societies in which liberal democracy and pluralism are well established, and individualization and declining fertility are impacting deeply upon family life? In making his case, O’Dwyer draws upon the neglected work of Japanese philosophers and intellectuals who were witnesses to Japan’s pioneering East Asian modernization and protagonists in the rise and disastrous wartime fall of its own modernized Confucianism. He contests a sometimes Sinocentric and ahistorical conception of East Asian societies as “Confucian societies,” while also recognizing that Confucian traditions can contribute importantly to global philosophical dialogue and to civic and religious life.

New translation of Xinyu 新語

Just a quick announcement that Elisa Levi Sabattini and I are about to publish a new translation of Xinyu:

https://brill.com/view/title/56294?rskey=msXfbz&result=1

Also watch out for my new book on classical Chinese philosophy, forthcoming from Princeton University Press.  Since I’m not ashamed of self-promotion, I’ll be posting with details in due course.