Category Archives: Comparative Political Theory

New episodes of The Issue is Not The Issue

The Issue is Not the Issue: A Podcast with Hans-Georg Moeller and Dan Sarafinas

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfs0MY7rs8J6jWlCdneoPVQ

 

Hans-Georg Moeller and Dan Sarafinas discuss contemporary debates on “political correctness” and related moral and social issues. They point to concepts such as virtue speech (“virtue signalling”), civil religion, “profilicity,” and the role of critique to better understand their nature.

 

Episode 3—Critique:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3W1m0Bez8vU

Philosophy today runs the risk of once more becoming the “handmaiden of theology” by being put in the service of civil religion. The Kantian concept of critique is revived to reflect on contemporary dogmatism and associated power structures that lead to phenomena such as “competitive wokeness” in entertainment (Taylor Swift) or the need to write “diversity statements” in academia. The idea of a therapeutic rather than a normative philosophy is suggested and it is explained how society, along with critique, evolves rather than progresses.

 

Episode 4—Profilicity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Yz1C0-mtWI

Why do we need to produce “virtue speech”? We need it to be competitive in society and to bolster our public profiles. A new profile-based identity paradigm, called “profilicity,” is on the rise. It is replacing other identity paradigms such as sincerity and authenticity and provides not only individuals but also institutions (political parties, companies, universities, etc.) with identity value.

New book: Heaven is Empty: A Cross-Cultural Approach to “Religion” and Empire in Ancient China by Filippo Marsili

SUMMARY

Heaven is Empty offers a new perspective on the relationship between religion and the creation of the first Chinese empires. Heaven Is Empty offers a new comparative perspective on the role of the sacred in the formation of China’s early empires (221 BCE–9 CE) and shows how the unification of the Central States was possible without a unitary and universalistic conception of religion.

Continue reading →

The Issue is Not the Issue: A Podcast with Hans-Georg Moeller and Dan Sarafinas

Hans-Georg Moeller and Dan Sarafinas discuss contemporary debates on “political correctness” and related moral and social issues. They point to concepts such as virtue speech (“virtue signalling”), civil religion, and the role of critique to better understand their nature.

Episode 1–Virtue Speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pg8H-b87Cs;

The phenomenon of virtue speech (“virtue signalling”) has become a central feature in recent outrage movements pervasive throughout the West. Virtue speech, which is implicitly tied to accusations of hate speech, is a form of moralistic discourse setting speech examples that make it difficult to openly discuss elements of our culture without falling into the trap of moralizing.

Episode 2–Civil Religion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EDEuXCPHOQ

Civil religion plays a central role in the virtue speech, or political correctness, discourse. The history of the concept is discussed as well as the structure of the American form of civil religion and how tenets of civil religion are constantly being performed and re-enacted, particularly in current social media outrage movements.

 

The Progressive Confucian Web

I’m happy to announce that a project I have been working on for some time has now reached a level of maturity that I feel comfortable sharing it publicly. Jinburuxue.com is a mainly Chinese-language website that aims to share Chinese versions of writings about progressive approaches to Confucianism. (Jinbu ruxue or 进步儒学 means progressive Confucianism.) Some of the material originally appeared in Chinese, and some of it was originally in English and has been translated specifically for this project. (All work appears with permission.) The site also has an English-language version, although the underlying essays and other materials are still in Chinese.

The contributors to this website have many differences, but share a common understanding of Confucianism as a living tradition, a still-developing tradition. In addition, we believe that as Confucianism develops in the contemporary world, it must be inclusive, supporting the ability of all people to improve ethically. In the essays and other materials collected on the site, we argue that the values of the Confucian tradition should be expressed in new ways in the 21st century. This is what the Book of Changes calls “changing with the times 与时偕行,” the Greater Learning calls “daily renewal 日新,” and the Analects calls “reviewing the old to know the new 温故而知新.” We call this contemporary, developing form of Confucianism “Progressive Confucianism.”

The site focuses on Chinese-language versions of our material because in the first instance, our goal is to have an impact on Chinese-language discussions of what Confucianism is and can be. Any thoughts on this project or suggestions for changes or future development are welcome!

CFP: Oxford Symposium on Comparative Political Philosophy

I am happy to post this on behalf of Baldwin Wong, Elton Chan, Larry Lai, and Nikolas Kirby (whose contact info is available at the end):

1st Oxford Symposium on Comparative Political Philosophy

10th – 12th July, 2019

Blavatnik School of Government, The University of Oxford

Keynote Speaker: Prof. Stephen C. Angle (Wesleyan University)

We are a group of scholars aiming to facilitate substantive philosophical argument amongst political theorists across diverse cultural traditions. In recent years there has been an increasing interest among Anglo-American political theorists in comparing the diverse ways of how the thinkers of different cultural traditions address political issues. Several academic publishers (such as Cambridge University Press and Princeton University Press) and journals (such as American Political Science Review and European Journal of Political Theory) have published work about Confucian, Islamic, Indian and African political theories. Yet despite this growing body of literature, there is still inadequate substantive engagement across different traditions about fundamental questions in political theory and public policy. The driving interest of our project is to promote such engagement, comparing competing (or possibly similar) answers to substantive questions, testing arguments and assumptions across traditions in philosophical debate, and then ask whether this debate can shed light on questions of substantive policy.

With these issues in mind, we attempt to create a regular platform for fruitful cooperation and exchange of ideas among comparative political theorists. This three-day symposium is the first step. Scholars are invited to present their recent, original research in this subfield. The symposium each year will be organized around a particular theme in political theory and public policy.

Continue reading →