Category Archives: Chinese philosophy – 中國哲學 – 中国哲学

Sino-Hellenic Environmental Philosophy (online workshop)

We are pleased to announce the following online event to be held on 9-12th December, 2021. Full programme and registration are now available from the following website:


News: Sino-hellenic Environmental Philosophy – Institute of Philosophy (


Online Workshop




A Comparative Perspective on Environmental Thought

in Early China and Graeco-Roman Antiquity


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Online Workshop: “One-Many Relations in Chinese Philosophy” (Nov 6)

Workshop Description:

In the worldview of different traditions, we usually find paradoxical articulations of the one-many relations, such as “one is many”, “all in each”, “trinity”, “unity of heaven and the human”, and so on. What are the different strategies employed by different thinkers, especially those from the Chinese philosophical traditions, to account for the diversification of one or unification of many? What would be the foundation for contemplating the one-many relations? This workshop aims to investigate these questions as a basis for intercultural examination and dialogue with a focus on Chinese philosophy.

Zoom ID: 982 3676 8637
Passcode: 526715
Time: Nov 6, 2021
7pm (GMT +8) – Singapore, Hong Kong, and China time; 7am – US time; 12noon – UK time
For more details on the abstract and schedule, please see the official fb events page @

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New Book: Individual Autonomy and Responsibility in Late Imperial China

Individual Autonomy and Responsibility in Late Imperial China

By Paolo Santangelo


Individual Autonomy and Responsibility in Late Imperial China is a major new work by one of Europe’s most respected senior scholars of Chinese studies, Paolo Santangelo. In it, he questions the common premise that individualism was lacking in premodern China. It is Santangelo’s contention that not only was the concept of the individual important in traditional China, but that it existed in interesting ways that are different from modes of individualism in the West.

One of the strengths of this study is the masterful manner in which Professor Santangelo treats key terms of his discussion, terms such as xing (“human nature”), xin (“heart-mind”), ji (“self”), and uses them to analyze various texts.


“Paolo Santangelo’s Individual Autonomy and Responsibility in Late Imperial China is a timely masterpiece on the hotly debated issue of Chinese individualism in Confucian tradition. Building on his knowledgeable survey of the secondary literature, Paolo Santangelo adeptly brings several studies with different perspectives into an insightful conversation representing the past and recent debates on the terms and cultural contexts relevant to personal autonomy and moral responsibility. His strong grasp of the literature forms a solid foundation of his own interpretation of the subject from a broad array of primary sources, such as literary, philosophical, and religious texts. A major strength of the book is its comparative perspective. Santangelo not only compares and contrasts the terms and reflections within Buddhist, Confucian, and Daoist contexts, but he also expertly brings Western concepts into conversation with the East Asian constructions of self, destiny, shame, and pleasure. He also demonstrates the change and continuity of the terms and concepts throughout the time through comparisons between the Ming-Qing period and the pre-Qin period. This book is a successful ‘rediscovery’ of the individualism in Chinese culture.”

—Guotong Li, California State University, Long Beach


New Book: You and Your Profile

You and Your Profile: Identity After Authenticity

By Hans-Georg Moeller and Paul J. D’Ambrosio


More and more, we present ourselves and encounter others through profiles. A profile shows us not as we are seen directly but how we are perceived by a broader public. As we observe how others observe us, we calibrate our self-presentation accordingly. Profile-based identity is evident everywhere from pop culture to politics, marketing to morality. But all too often critics simply denounce this alleged superficiality in defense of some supposedly pure ideal of authentic or sincere expression.

This book argues that the profile marks an epochal shift in our concept of identity and demonstrates why that matters. You and Your Profile blends social theory, philosophy, and cultural critique to unfold an exploration of the way we have come to experience the world.


“You and Your Profile is a truly wonderful book that provides a penetrating exploration of today’s conceptions of identity. This beautiful work offers powerful insights on the contemporary condition as well as a moving way to think about identity formation.”

-Michael Puett, coauthor of The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life

“There can be no doubt that questions of identity, authenticity, and character take on a completely new meaning in the digital age of social media. Moeller and D’Ambrosio’s startling book provides fascinating insights into the global fabrication of a new conception of the self.”

-Hartmut Rosa, author of Social Acceleration: A New Theory of Modernity




Chinese Philosophy Reading Group

This is an opportunity to discuss Chinese Philosophy in a relaxed and informal setting. The goal is to create a space of exchange and learning that will enable all to join and get something from it. The meetings are open to all students and faculty-level teachers anywhere with an interest in Chinese Philosophy.
No previous knowledge of Chinese thought and language is required, as we will use English translations of the classics. It will however be one of the goals of the reading group to develop an awareness of the particular meanings of certain Chinese terms, so as to not lose too much in translation.
11, October: Thaddee Gellens (University of Warwick)
25, October: Daniel Griffin (University of Warwick) 
8, November: Chew Sihao (University of Oxford)
22, November: Lea Cantor (University of Oxford)
6, December: Chiayu Hsu (University of Chicago)
Time and location 
Between 3.00pm and 4.30pm (UK time) on MS Teams
Reading material will be circulated before the meetings.
If you are interested in participating in the reading group, please email Massimiliano Lacertosa.

Asian Journal of Philosophy – a new Asia-based journal published by Springer Nature and journal launch

The journal publishes high-quality articles in any area of analytic philosophy, but with an emphasis on epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, meta-ethics, value theory, action theory, and the philosophies of mind, language, logic, technology, and mathematics.

The mission of Asian Journal of Philosophy is to serve as a leading platform for analytic philosophy in Asia both in an inward and in an outward sense. Within Asia the journal aims to be a visible go-to outlet for analytic philosophers to communicate high-quality research and share it with the global community. Outside Asia the journal aims to serve as an authoritative reflection of cutting-edge research in Asia and as an attractive publication outlet for promoting scholarly work to the large community of researchers working in the region.

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OCTOBER 22, 2021: A Discussion of Fa (法) in the Shenzi–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 →

Article of Interest: ‘Confucianism’, an Alternative Source of Belief in Contemporary Chinese Society

Lan Jiang-fu’s article “‘Confucianism’, an Alternative Source of Belief in Contemporary Chinese Society: An Empirical Study of the Founding of Xin 信 in a ‘Confucian’ Company” has just been published in the journal Religions.


Open claims to Confucian values, often associated with cultural traditionalism and a larger revival of Confucianism among the Chinese population from the 2000s onwards, have gained momentum in the world of entrepreneurs. The intensity of this phenomenon can be explained by a wide variety of motivations, among which a desire to establish a belief, a sort of xin 信 towards traditional values, has emerged from within the “Confucian” company. Based on fieldwork carried out between 2017 and 2018 at TW, a private company located in Dongguan (Guangdong), this paper aims to analyze the efforts undertaken by “Confucian” managers to use the spiritual guidance role of Confucianism. Our work is organized into three sections. First, we analyze the main modalities of proselytizing within TW. Then, based on the personal experiences of three employees of this company, we try to understand how they live the jiaohua and to what extent this “educational” experience inspired by Confucianism has allowed them to reorient themselves towards a new way of perceiving the world. Finally, by placing it in a broader context, that of contemporary Chinese society’s crisis of values, we question the role Confucianism can play in the foundation of a population’s beliefs.

The full text is available here.