The AAR “Religions in Chinese and Indian Cultures: A Comparative Perspective” Group is looking for papers on “Cultivation and Its Consequences.” Read on for details.
While the intellectual exploration of ideas as intrinsically significant is, of course, understood and celebrated in classical Indian and Chinese thought, most achievements of the greatest intellectual significance were usually embedded within teleologies intended to transform the nature of human existence, individually, socially, or universally. We therefore find that particular areas of philosophical activity—ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, phenomenology, theory of mind, and the like—developed with the intention of securing some further good. Consequently, philosophical activity was also closely correlated with practices meant to make its conceptual achievements tools for the attainment of some such good. As a result, the theme of cultivation—the practices that enabled understanding to become transformative of the condition of the practitioner—is an important one in our study of Chinese and Indian traditions. The structures and processes of cultivation varied with the conceptual resources utilized, as well as the further good to which it was held to lead. But all this was not contained within a strict linear development: practices themselves came to be theorized, practices of cultivation influenced other traditions, and the intellectual content and higher goals of traditions were often transformed as the power and potential of some practices came to be more widely realized.
Many issues arise in the scholarly study of cultivation, and include the following:
• The theorization of ‘cultivation’ found in the native categories of Indian and Chinese traditions
• The similarities and differences that mark cultivation and its consequences, both within and between Indian and Chinese traditions
• The philosophical underpinnings of practices of cultivation
• The relationship between cultivation and the good it is held to secure
• The historical transformation of practices of cultivation through philosophical and cultural interactions
• The unintended yet illuminating consequences that occasionally arose in the development of particular theories and practices of cultivation
As always with this panel, we ask for the following:
• Papers should be grounded in particular texts and/or ethnographic materials.
• Papers MUST engage comparatively between one or more Indian AND Chinese traditions, systems or texts.
We very much recognize that panelists will be specialists of one or the other area of India and China, and encourage innovative, exploratory and even preliminary study of the area they are unfamiliar with, in a spirit of scholarly curiosity and conceptual open mindedness.