This conference should be of interest to anyone working on issues in comparative thought and philosophy. A terrific lineup of speakers and panelists (if I do say so myself). -HS
Over the last decade, the newly emerging field of “experimental philosophy” has posed a challenge to the claim that professional philosophers’ judgments about philosophically important thought experiments are universal. Rather, in a growing number of studies, it has been shown that people in different cultural groups – Asians and Westerners, males and females, people of high and low socio-economic status, people with different personality types, people of different ages, people with different native languages, etc. – have different intuitions about cases designed to explore what people think about knowledge, morality, free will, consciousness and other important philosophical issues. However, the extent and sources of this variation remain by and large unknown. The goal of this conference is to bring together anthropologists, psychologists, comparative philosophers, and experimental philosophers in order to further our understanding of the similarities and differences in the lay understanding of, on the one hand, knowledge, and, on the other, agency and person across cultures. Furthermore, we hope to sketch new avenues of research for philosophically sophisticated cross-cultural studies of the concepts of knowledge, person, and agency.
Continue reading “Philosophy Meets Cultural Diversity, 13-14 March 2015 at University of Pittsburgh”
Erica Brindley, author of Individualism in Early China: Human Agency and the Self in Thought and Politics, just published a piece on “Individualism in Classical Chinese Thought” for the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Brindley’s whole article is worth a careful read, not to mention the aforementioned book; I assume the article is in part a distillation of the book. Here are a couple of excerpts:
To the extent that the self is conceived as physical, embodied, and dynamic, the early Chinese “self” necessarily entails a different definition of “individual.” While there is no clear term in Classical Chinese that might translate consistently into “individual,” this latter term facilitates discussion of those aspects of the self that emphasize its particularity within a whole. We use the term “individual” here to refer to early Chinese notions of self that concern not so much the subjective, psychological sense of “self,” but the qualities of a person that mark him or her as a single, particular entity capable of exerting agency from within a web of relationships. In other words, we refer to the individual not as an atomistic, isolated, and undifferentiated part of a whole, but as a distinct organism that must serve particular functions and fulfill a unique set of relationships in the worlds of which he or she is a part. The individual is thus a unique participant in a larger whole—integral to both, the processes that define the whole, as well as to the change and transformation that stems from itself.
Continue reading “Individualism Piece on IEP”