New Book: The Philosophical Challenge from China

A new book full of specially written essays that aim to bring out ways in which Chinese philosophy can fruitfully challenge contemporary Western (especially analytic) philosophy, The Philosophical Challenge from China, edited by Brian Bruya, is about to be published by MIT Press. More information is here, and I will repeat the publisher’s description here. Congratulations, Brian!

For too long, analytic philosophy discounted insights from the Chinese philosophical tradition. In the last decade or so, however, philosophers have begun to bring the insights of Chinese thought to bear on current philosophical issues. This volume brings together leading scholars from East and West who are working at the intersection of traditional Chinese philosophy and mainstream analytic philosophy. They draw on the work of Chinese philosophers ranging from early Daoists and Confucians to twentieth-century Chinese thinkers, offering new perspectives on issues in moral psychology, political philosophy and ethics, and metaphysics and epistemology. Taken together, these essays show that serious engagement with Chinese philosophy can not only enrich modern philosophical discussion but also shift the debate in a meaningful way.

Each essay challenges a current position in the philosophical literature—including views expressed by John Rawls, Peter Singer, Nel Noddings, W. V. Quine, and Harry Frankfurt. The contributors discuss topics that include compassion as a developmental virtue, empathy, human worth and democracy, ethical self-restriction, epistemological naturalism, ideas of oneness, know-how, and action without agency.

Stephen C. Angle, Tongdong Bai, Brian Bruya, Owen Flanagan, Steven Geisz, Stephen Hetherington, Philip J. Ivanhoe, Bo Mou, Donald J. Munro, Karyn L. Lai, Hagop Sarkissian, Bongrae Seok, Kwong-loi Shun, David B. Wong, Brook A. Ziporyn

4 replies on “New Book: The Philosophical Challenge from China”

  1. Thanks for the plug, Steve. MIT Press will post the table of contents when the book is released, but until then, here’s a sneak peek, with a bit of added info:

    Part I: Moral Psychology
    1. When You Think It’s Bad, It’s Worse Than You Think: Psychological Bias and the Ethics of Negative Character Assessment.
    Hagop Sarkissian
    (challenging Susan Wolf, through a discussion stemming from Confucius and including reference to Robert Axelrod, Oscar Ybarra, Michael Sunnafank, etc.)*

    2. Growing Virtue: The Theory and Science of Developing Compassion from a Mencian Perspective
    David B. Wong
    (challenging the likes of Thomas Nagel and Simon Blackburn through a discussion stemming from the work of Mencius and including reference to Naomi Quinn, Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, J. Kiley Hamlin, Clore and Ortony, etc.)

    3. Proto-Empathy and Nociceptive Mirror Emotion: Mencius’ Embodied Moral Psychology
    Bongrae Seok
    (challenging Kantian, Humean, and Rawlsian approaches to moral cognition through a discussion stemming from Mencius and including reference to Antonio Damasio, Nel Noddings, Jonathan Haidt, R. J. R. Blair, etc.)

    Part II: Political Philosophy and Ethics
    4. A Criticism of Later Rawls and a Defense of a Decent (Confucian) People
    Tongdong Bai
    (challenging Rawls from a Confucian perspective, with reference to Mill, Rousseau, Burton Dreben, Allen Buchanan, Bruce Ackerman, etc.)

    5. Unequal Human Worth
    Donald J. Munro
    (challenging the likes of Peter Singer, Marc Hauser, Sartre, Habermas in a discussion stemming from Zhu Xi, with reference to Carol Gilligan, Philipa Foote, Cheng Yi, Amartya Sen, Charles and Gregory Fried, etc.)

    6. Virtue Ethics, the Rule of Law, and the Need for Self-Restriction
    Stephen C. Angle
    (challenging Aristotle and Hume through a discussion stemming from Mou Zongsan, including reference to Jiyuan Yu, Stephen Buckle, Jill Frank, Rachel Cohon, etc.)

    7. Ethical Self-Commitment and Ethical Self-Indulgence
    Kwong-loi Shun
    (introducing a robust conception of ethical self-commitment through a discussion stemming from Confucius, Mencius, Wang Yangming, including reference to Bernard Williams, Gabriele Taylor, Elizabeth Telfer, Thomas Hurka, etc.)

    8. Confucian Moral Sources
    Owen Flanagan and Steven Geisz
    (challenging monotheism broadly in a discussion stemming from Confucianism broadly, with reference to Paul Goldin, Chenyang Li, Mozi, Kelly Clark, Richard Nisbett, Charles Taylor, Xinzhong Yao, etc.)

    Part III: Metaphysics and Epistemology
    9. Sense and Values of Oneness
    Philip J. Ivanhoe
    (challenging Hume, Adam Smith, Daniel C. Batson through a discussion stemming from Wang Yangming, including reference to Robert Cialdini, Zhang Zai, Thomas Nagel, David Sloan Wilson and Elliot Sober, Michael Slote, etc.)

    10. What Does the Law of Non-Contradiction Tell Us, If Anything? Paradox, Parameterization, and Truth in Tiantai Buddhism
    Brook Ziporyn
    (challenging Aristotle and Graham Priest through a discussion stemming from Zhiyi’s Tiantai Buddhism, with reference to Jay Garfield, Yasuo Deguchi, Zhuangzi, etc.)

    11. Knowing-How and Knowing-To
    Stephen Hetherington and Karyn L. Lai
    (challenging Gilbert Ryle through a discussion stemming from the Lüshi Chunqiu, including reference to Trent Dougherty, Chad Hansen, Ernest Sosa, Lisa Raphals, James Sellman, etc.)

    12. Quine’s Naturalized Epistemology and Zhuangzi’s Daoist Naturalism: How Their Constructive Engagement is Possible
    Bo Mou
    (challenging Quine through a discussion stemming from Zhuangzi, with reference to Alvin Goldman, Timothy Williamson, McDowell, Tarski, etc.)

    13. Action without Agency and Natural Human Action: Resolving a Double Paradox
    Brian Bruya
    (challenging Harry Frankfurt and David Velleman through a discussion stemming ultimately from Zhuangzi, including reference to Mihaly Czikszetmihalyi, Amir Raz, Aristotle, Jared Diamond, Malcolm Budd, Emily Brady, etc.)

    *The parenthetic embellishments are my off-the-cuff descriptions and have not been vetted by the chapter authors. They are intended for the readers of Warp, Weft, and Way, to give you a rough sense of content and to spark your interest.

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