Graham Priest will be speaking at CUHK on June 5 and 14; details here.
An announcement from Thomas Michael:
Beijing Normal University is again offering its Summer Philosophy program; this year, it is on the theme of Daoism. The program runs from July 10 to July 25, 2017, and the deadline for submitting application materials is April 23rd, 2017. Please see here for the brochure, here for the Facebook link and application, and read on for more information.
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
Date: Monday December 12, 4.15-6.15
Place: Room 5382, CUNY Graduate Center.
Speaker: Irena Cronin, UCLA
Title: The 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.
A new book of interest: Jason P. Blahuta, Fortune and the Dao: A Comparative Study of Machiavelli, the Daodejing, and the Han Feizi (Lexington, 2015). The publisher’s description:
Monday, November 16, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
China Humanities Seminar: Laozi the Existentialist: Martin Buber’s Transformation of the Daodejing
Speaker: Jonathan Herman, Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Georgia State University
Sponsored by the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies
K262, Bowie-Vernon Room, CGIS Knafel, 1737 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA
Scott Barnwell revisits one of our favorite topics:
Off and on over the past 18 months I’ve been working on a new essay for my blog series “Classical Daoism – Is There Really Such a Thing?” The essay is on Wuwei 無為 and whether it could be considered a defining feature of a group or tradition we call (early) Daoism. I’ve got some thoughts I hope some may feel like addressing. As far as I can tell, wuwei does not have just one meaning or usage. I think there are a few different uses and would like to know if others would differentiate them as I do.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
12:00 PM to 1:30 PM
The Seduction of Daoist Philosophy: What Was Lost on the Way to Understanding the Daoist Religion?
Room 202, Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Avenue
James Robson – Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University
Three Pines Press proudly announces the second volume in our new series
Contemporary Chinese Scholarship in Daoist Studies
Rediscovering the Roots of Chinese Thought: Laozi’s Philosophy
by CHEN Guying, translated by Paul D’Ambrosio
paperback, 150 pages, bibliography, index
available January 1, 2015
prepublication special: US $22.50
ORDER NOW: www.threepinespress.com<http://www.threepinespress.com/>
I have recently learned that Professor Zhan Shichuang 詹石窗 of Sichuan University is founding an English-language academic journal, Frontiers of Daoist Studies. Anyone interested in submitting work can contact Zhang Lijuan 张丽娟, a postdoctoral fellow in the Institute of Religious Studies, who represents the Editorial Office of the journal.
The preliminary schedule for the 9th International Conference on Daoist Studies, to be held at Boston University from May 29, June 1, 2014, is now available at the Conference website. It’s an impressive line-up!
Three Pines Press proudly announces the publication of Zhuangzi: Text and Context, by Livia Kohn, to appear in January 2014. (330 pages; Paperback:$35.95; prepublication special: $28.50 plus S & H.) For details and to order, please go to http://threepinespress.com/
We are also happy to present the table of contents for the next issue of the Journal of Daoist Studies (vol. 7), to be published in February 2014. For details, please see below.
The second volume of Brook Ziporyn’s new work on li and coherence in pre-Neo-Confucian Chinese thought has been published. See below for summary and Table of Contents for both volumes.
I received this information from the publisher of these books, and pass it on for your information:
Call for Reviews – Dao De Jing: A Complete Commentary by Zhankui Liu
A free copy will be sent to the reviewer by the publisher (Awakening Light Press) for these titles:
Language: Simplified Chinese
Publisher: Awakening Light Press
Manyul and I both received our PhDs from the University of Michigan, so I must call attention to Sam Crane’s blog post concerning UM basketball player Jon Horford’s fascination with the Dao De Jing. Michigan plays for the National Championship on Monday night; as Sam says, Do Nothing Blue — and there is nothing that will be undone!
As many of you know, there are more and more excavated texts making their presence known in our field. Beijing University is in possession of a bamboo-strip version of the Laozi / Daode Jing that they date to the Western Han; a full transcription is available here; just scroll down past the pictures.
Long-time friend of the blog, Scott Barnwell, has posted his fourth installment exploring the question of whether there really is such a thing as “classical Daoism,” over on his blog, Bao Pu. Here are a couple of paragraphs; go over and check it out. Discuss there or here, as you wish — if here, please address all comments to Scott.
The purpose of this 4th essay is to explore these two texts to see what similarities and differences exist. If we understand a “school of thought” (modern Chinese: Xuepai ??) to refer to a system or complex of beliefs, ideas, values and methods, would the various authors of the Laozi and Zhuangzi constitute such a school, as is commonly believed? Or were they two different schools of thought with only slight overlap, perhaps a Laoist school and a Zhuangist school? Is there a “family resemblance” that exists between these two texts that does not between them and others, such as the Mengzi, Mozi, Hanfeizi or Yijing? Jia ?, which commonly meant “house” or “family,” has suggested to Harold Roth that Sima Tan’s use of it “implies that he thought of his six groups as having an important lineage dimension in which masters and disciples functioned according to a family model.” By positing a lineage of masters and disciples (= teachers and students) we come close to the idea of a school (of thought) as well, although whether the contributors to the Laozi and Zhuangzi were two branches of one lineage remains to be seen.
We’ve already explored the nature of ancient Chinese texts and some possible scenarios of how the texts came to be in the earlier essays, especially the 3rd one on Zhuangzi. We have hypothesized that the existence of the Laozi and Zhuangzi required some sort of lineage or group that had compiled and preserved (and added to) these texts, at least until the Han dynasty period where texts were sought out by regional rulers and the imperial government in order to preserve the classical legacy in various libraries. These groups need not have been large, and, further, we do not know if this lineage was unbroken, or whether decades went by where the texts sat neglected in boxes in people’s homes.
Another in a series of posts by guest blogger Joel Dietz, discussing the metaphysical doctrine of the Dao De Jing. Please address comments to him.
There is a natural relationship between metaphysics and “esoteric” subjects, insofar as metaphysics generally claims to discuss reality in a way that is not perceived by every human being, including often elusive topics such as “God/godhead” or various types of “essence.” It also has a natural relationship with aesthetics, insofar as metaphysical claims are frequently made as a part of artistic creation and evaluation. These frequently introduce a qualitative difference between different artistic works, as exhibited by the famous quip of Mahler, “There was only Beethoven and Richard [Wagner] – and after them, nobody.”
A few weeks back, Joel Dietz had a guest post on mysticism. Here is another posting from Joel; as before, please address your comments and questions to Joel!
The Dao De Jing has been used to justify political regimes at many points in history and there are fairly obvious reasons for this, concomitant with the idea of philosophy more generally. The idea that there are gradations to knowledge implies that there are those who know more. The idea that there are those who know more implies that probably those who possess “true” knowledge should rule over those who do not. The apparent problems growing from this are aggravated when the process of “true” knowledge is attributed to those who possess and/or practice certain secrets that are not equally distributed — as is the case in here, in the Bhagavad Gita, and in texts part of the Platonic lineage.
Joel Dietz, a regular follower of the blog, has written up the following summary of research he has been doing into the nature and background of “mystical” texts like the Dao De Jing. It’s fascinating stuff; enjoy! Please address comments to Joel.
A review by Ellen Zhang of Keping Wang’s Reading the Dao: A Thematic Inquiry has been published at the Notre Dame review site. Here is an excerpt:
Reading the Dao: A Thematic Inquiry has its own agenda. As Wang suggests in the Acknowledgement, the book is meant to be read by those who are interested in Chinese language and “the Chinese way of thinking,” and as such it defines the frame of reference for non-specialists in the English-speaking world rather than Daoist scholars or Laozi scholars who are looking for a more substantial and original scholarly work. That being said, the book has a virtue of its own. It is a comprehensive overview of Laozi’s Daoism for anyone unfamiliar with the DDJ and Daoism. It is clearly written, thematically formulated, and supplemented with helpful commentaries.
I’ve been recently thinking about an issue that comes up in both the Daodejing and the Analects. DDJ 63, specifically, is commented on in Analects 14.34. In the two texts, we see different positions concerning how one should respond to enmity 怨 yuan. DDJ 63 reads:
為無為，事無事，味無味。大小多少，報怨以德。圖難於其易，為大於其細；天下難事，必作於易，天下大事，必作於細。是以聖人終不為大，故能成其大… Continue reading “What Does It Mean to "Respond to Enmity with Excellence"?”