Professor Philip J. Ivanhoe is giving a keynote speech at the 25th East-West Center’s Asian Studies Development Program (ASDP) National Conference, which will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, March 8, 2019.
Title Talk: Oneness, Spontaneity, and Happiness
Early Daoist and Confucian thinkers hold that human beings are intricately and inextricably intertwined and share a common destiny with other people, creatures, and things. While they disagree about the nature, shape, and implications of our fundamental connection with the rest of the world, it is accurate and revealing to see that they both embrace a concept of oneness with it. This has profound implications for a range of related issues. For example, it means that they tend to see moral failure more in terms of being excessively self-centered, as opposed to simply selfish and that their moral and spiritual ideals involve finding and fulfilling their respective conceptions of oneness. Those who successfully cultivate themselves to accord with and move in harmony with Heavenly patterns and processes experience a profound sense of metaphysical ease and comfort; this explains why they both value spontaneity so highly and why the spontaneity and metaphysical comfort of those who are one with the world lie at the heart of their conceptions of the highest and most sustainable form of happiness.
Philip J. Ivanhoe is Distinguished Chair Professor in the College of Confucian Studies and Eastern Philosophy at Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, South Korea and director of the newly endowed Sungkyun Institute for Confucian Studies and East Asian Philosophy. Prior to this, he was Chair Professor of East Asian and Comparative Philosophy and Religion at City University of Hong Kong and the founding director of the Center for East Asian and Comparative Philosophy. Known for his many translations of Chinese texts, over 30 authored or edited books, and over 100 articles and book chapters, he publishes and does research in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Recently, he was the organizer and principle investigator for a three-year project funded by the John Templeton Foundation that resulted in the single authored book, East Asian Conceptions of Oneness, Virtue, and Human Happiness (Oxford, 2017), and the co-edited collection The Oneness Hypothesis: Beyond the Boundaries of the Self (Columbia University Press 2018). He also served as advisor for a multidisciplinary, three-year, $5.1 million project on Happiness and Well-Being: Integrating Research Across the Disciplines based at Saint Louis University.