Thu 24 Jan 2013
Tue 7 Aug 2012
I recently returned from Beijing, where I gave a talk at an occasional logic forum at Tsinghua University, organized by Liu Fenrong. Much thanks to Fenrong for arranging my visit. My talk and many other past and upcoming events are announced here and here. The talk was based on a forthcoming paper, "Truth in Mohist Dialectics." It was a pleasure to see Fenrong again and to meet Sun Zhongyuan and Zhou Yunzhi, two senior scholars of the history of Chinese logic, along with several other colleagues and grad students.
Thu 26 Jul 2012
Back in April 2011, Joseph Chan, of HKU's Department of Politics and Public Administration, organized a mini-workshop on Confucian Political Philosophy here at HKU. I commented on a paper by Daniel A. Bell, of Tsinghua University, entitled “Confucianism and nationalism: A reconciliation.” Since Daniel has recently published several articles in popular media whose content overlaps this paper, I think it worthwhile to post the full text of my April 2011 remarks here.
* * *
Comments on Daniel A. Bell’s “Confucianism and Naturalism: A Reconciliation”
University of Hong Kong
April 29, 2011
This is an interesting and provocative paper. Daniel defends two main theses:
(1) Confucianism is compatible with at least some forms of nationalism.
(2) Confucian nationalism is desirable, for various reasons.
These are presented as parts of a positive evaluation of a one-party Chinese state committed to Confucianism, rather than Marxism, as its core ideology. Rather than a dictatorship of the proletariat, we would have a dictatorship of the erudite.
My first question about the paper concerns its precise purpose. I’m not sure whether the aim is the ambitious one of justifying a Confucian nationalist state or only the modest one of arguing that were such a state to come into being, it would not be repugnant, or at least it’d be better than the present communist state or a quasi-fascist one. The modest aim is easy to agree with. Confucianism has a lot of good qualities, among them a commitment to rén zhèng 仁政, or benevolent government. The more ambitious aim is less compelling. Despite its good qualities, I doubt Confucianism can be justified as the core ideology of a contemporary state.Continued...
Tue 8 May 2012
Sat 28 Jan 2012
In October 2010, a short documentary called “Opening Dao” by Gennaro Ambrosino was released in which I am interviewed discussing classical Daoism. The film is a bit of a mixed bag, but I hope my part came out well. I actually spoke mainly about the Zhuangzi, but most of that material was cut in order to emphasize the Daodejing. Also interviewed is Chad Hansen, who hoped the waterfall behind him would help convey Daoist ideas; instead it mainly drowned out his voice! The film can be viewed here.
Sat 28 Jan 2012
I was recently interviewed for a pair of RTHK radio shows in the fun and interesting series “The Big Idea,” hosted by the delightful Vanessa Collingridge. The most recent episode, on Daoism, aired January 21, 2012, and can be heard here. The other interviewee is my teacher and colleague Chad Hansen.
An earlier episode, on Happiness, aired November 26, 2011, and can be heard here. In this show, I’m paired with my colleague and good friend Timothy O’Leary, also of HKU.
The whole series is highly recommended. An episode about Confucianism with Sungmoon Kim and P. J. Ivanhoe of City University of HK can be heard here.
Thu 9 Jun 2011
Update: The conference program is here.
Later this month I’ll be attending an international workshop in Singapore called “Global Themes in Ethical Naturalism,” hosted by the Department of Philosophy of the National University of Singapore, June 27–28. My talk will be entitled “Chinese Naturalism and the Limits of Ethics.” An abstract follows. Continued…
Fri 15 Apr 2011
Original post (April 15, 2011): Joseph Chan, of HKU's Department of Politics and Public Administration, has organized a mini-workshop on Confucian Political Philosophy to be held 29 April 2011 (at 2 pm) in the PPA dept library. The speakers will be Joseph himself and Daniel A. Bell, of Tsinghua (Qinghua) University, along with four commentators: Ci Jiwei and Fan Ruiping, on Joseph's paper, and P. J. Ivanhoe and myself, on Daniel's. Joseph's topic is “Interplay between ideal and nonideal thinking in early Confucian political thought: A reconstruction and application," while Daniel's is “Confucianism and nationalism: A reconciliation.” I'm sure we'll have some lively discussion.
UPDATE (July 26, 2012): Daniel Bell has published several articles in popular media recently whose content overlaps the paper I commented on back in April 2011. So I think it worthwhile to post the full text of my remarks here.
Mon 28 Feb 2011
Update: The web page for the workshop is here.
The Department of Philosophy of the University of Hong Kong will be holding a workshop entitled “Happiness and the Dao: Ancient Greek and Chinese Approaches to Ethics,” March 25–26, 20111. The workshop is organized by Patrick Hawley, Chair of the Department of Philosophy. Presenters will include A. A. Long, Nicholas D. Smith, Lisa Raphals, Yong Huang, Chad Hansen, Siu-fu Tang, Timothy O’Leary, and myself. My talk will be entitled “Rational Souls or Virtuoso Performers? λόγος versus Dào-dé 道德 in Ancient Greek and Chinese Thought.”
The workshop announcement follows. (Continued…)
Mon 3 Jan 2011
I was the kick-off speaker at a recent conference in Taiwan entitled “英美哲學觀點下的中國哲學研究”—or “Chinese Philosophy from the Perspective of Anglo-American Philosophy.” Although the conference was held December 17–18 at National Cheng Chih University 國立政治大學 in Taipei, I only recently noticed the website here. This was an enjoyable event that gave me the great pleasure of meeting up with a dozen or more old friends from Taiwan. I presented my forthcoming paper on “Knowledge and Error in Early Chinese Thought.”