Seminars

  • Founded
    2007
  • Seminar Number
    721

The Comparative Philosophy Seminar seeks to advance constructive philosophical projects by bringing together scholars with training in diverse areas of Asian (mostly Buddhist) thought and Western Philosophy. Comparison in this context is not employed to loan authority to one set of obscure discoveries by revealing its resonances with the works of others, deemed less obscure. Nor does it sociologize philosophy in search of general laws of human cultural and intellectual development. Rather, the intent is to explicate, and employ, the fullness of an expanded philosophical toolset—and see how that works. The seminar ordinarily invites respondents who are versed in the relevant field of philosophical inquiry, but who are not necessarily specialists in Asian thought. In order to facilitate an ongoing conversation, seminar meetings for a given year are loosely organized around a very general theme, which speakers are asked to address when possible. In past years, the themes have been “Personal Identity” (2007–2008) and “Meta-Ethics” (2008–2009).


Co-Chairs
Professor Jonathan C. Gold
jcgold@princeton.edu

Professor Hagop Sarkissian
hagop.sarkissian@baruch.cuny.edu

Rapporteur
Verena Meyer
vhm2111@columbia.edu


Meeting dates and locations are subject to change. Please confirm details with the seminar rapporteur.


Meeting Schedule

09/20/2019 80 Claremont Ave, Columbia University
5:30 PM
AUTONOMY, DEFERENCE, AND “GETTING IT ONESELF” (ZIDE 自)
Justin Tiwald, San Francisco State University
Abstract

Abstract

This paper is on the topic of deliberative autonomy in (primarily) post-classical Chinese moral epistemology. By “deliberative autonomy,” I mean the epistemic state or achievement in which one’s ethical views or beliefs are those that seem right to oneself and are based on reasons or considerations that one understands for oneself. This is to be contrasted with holding a view or belief based primarily on the authority or expertise of others, without seeing for oneself that the view is correct or why it is correct.
The Chinese philosophical tradition is rich in discussion of the nature, value, and function of deliberative autonomy, having much to say both in its defense and against it. I will focus my discussion by looking more closely at what Neo-Confucians have said about a particular term of art, zide 自得 (“getting it oneself”). I translate and discuss some passages on “getting it oneself” in the works and recorded lessons of influential Song, Ming, and Qing Confucians, note different types of deliberative autonomy implied by these passages, and discuss Wm. Theodore de Bary’s famous explication of “getting it oneself.” I consider whether the premium these Confucians placed on zide has the implications for liberal education that de Bary proposes and describe how proponents of zide could respond to formidable and important Xunzian arguments for deference to traditions and expertise.


Respondent: Katja Vogt, Columbia University



10/11/2019 80 Claremont Ave, Columbia University
5:30 PM
THE ROLE OF NEGATIVE EMOTIONS IN THE GOOD LIFE: REFLECTIONS FROM THE ZHUANGZI
Richard Kim, Loyola University, Chicago
Abstract

Abstract

The philosophical and psychological literature on well-being tend to focus on the prudential value of positive emotions such as pleasure, joy, or gratitude. But how do the negative emotions such as grief fit into our understanding of well-being? It is often assumed that negative emotions are intrinsically bad far us and that we should work toward eliminating them, especially from the perspective of our own well-being.

In this presentation I want to question this assumption by drawing on the ideas of Zhuangzi (a prominent early Daoist thinker from the 4th Century BCE) to argue that negative emotions are not intrinsically bad for us, and that their prudential value or disvalue is context dependent. Zhuangzi's outlook, with his focus on the flexibility of perspectives and living according to our natural, spontaneous inclinations, gives us reason to reconsider the role of negative emotions in our lives and how we might think about them in a more constructive way.





11/08/2019 80 Claremont Ave, Columbia University
5:30 PM

Sungmoon Kim, City University of Hong Kong




12/06/2019 80 Claremont Ave, Columbia University
5:30 PM

Paul R. Goldin, University of Pennsylvania




02/07/2020 80 Claremont Ave, Columbia University
5:30 PM

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03/06/2020 80 Claremont Ave, Columbia University
5:30 PM

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04/03/2020 80 Claremont Ave, Columbia University
5:30 PM

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05/01/2020 80 Claremont Ave, Columbia University
5:30 PM

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