Warp, Weft, and Way

A Group Blog of Chinese and Comparative Philosophy

Panels at the 2013 AAR Meeting

There will be a number of panels focusing on Chinese and comparative philosophy at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting in Baltimore, MD, beginning this weekend, Saturday, November 23rd, and running through Tuesday, November 26th.  For more information on specifics, see the AAR meeting website: http://www.aarweb.org/annual-meeting/general-information

The following are panels that I thought might be of interest to readers of this blog (these are just the ones I know of- if any of you know of others that may be of interest, feel free to add them in the comments line). Continue reading


November 18, 2013 Posted by | Chinese philosophy, Comparative philosophy, Conference, Indian Philosophy, Religion | Leave a comment

Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy lecture this Friday (02/15) @5:30pm


Welcomes JONATHAN C. GOLD (Princeton University)

With responses from Robert Wright, Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, and and prize-winning author of such books as The Evolution of God, Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, The Moral Animal, and Three Scientists and Their Gods: Looking for Meaning in an Age of Information.

Please join us at Columbia University Department of Religion on February 15, 2013 at 5:30 for his lecture entitled,

Accepting the Conditions: The Ethical Implications of Vasubandhu’s Buddhist Causal Theory

This paper presents a view that I call “Buddhist Causal Framing,” which is characterized by the following four doctrines: (1) the reality and significance of entities or events are indexed to their roles in causal series; (2) causality itself is a relativistic mode of explanation, since it is only known via framing structures that reflect the interests and capacities of the knower; (3) entities judged “substantial” by causal criteria are thus ultimately subjective constructions; and yet (4) entities judged “substantial” by causal criteria are not entirely unreal, for, in a properly formulated causal explanation, the subjective frame allows one to test for objective patterns of dependence. Buddhist Causal Framing is an abstracted and formalized version of the philosophical position advocated in works attributed to the great 4th/5th century Indian Buddhist philosopher Vasubandhu, and the paper locates this view within Vasubandhu’s Abhidharma arguments and the Yog?c?ra doctrine of The Three Natures. The main focus of the presentation, however, is on the philosophical significance of Buddhist Causal Framing itself.

The paper argues that Vasubandhu’s view, which is fundamentally bound to the interpretation of scripture, resembles the view of James Woodward, a modern philosopher who theorizes causal explanation on the structure of a scientific experiment. This similarity, it is argued, accounts for certain oft-noted resonances between Buddhism and a modern scientific worldview. An ethical consideration of the relativity of frames helps to explain the well-known Buddhist discomfort with moral absolutes and justice-talk. It is argued that the requirement that substantial significance be granted only to events with causal consequences within subjective frames amounts to a Buddhist moral ground for the social sciences. Such a view would in principle counter (disprove) dogmatic and ideological positions that are inconsistent with their own historical/conceptual-constructedness (such as nationalisms and essential rights). It would also seek to “right” moral wrongs through carefully uncovering, explaining, and intervening in their causes and conditions, rather than seeking retributive punishment.

5:30-7:30 pm
Rm. 101 in the Department of Religion 80 Claremont Avenue


February 12, 2013 Posted by | Comparative philosophy, Lecture | Leave a comment

CFP: June, 2012 ISCWP event in Wuhan on Language

(Please note the “Special Note” at the end: even if you cannot take part in this event, if you are interested in the theme you are invited to submit a paper for inclusion in two publication projects.)

Call for Papers

Symposium / 學術研討會Philosophical Issues Concerning Chinese Language and Development of Contemporary Philosophy of Language” “關於漢語的哲學問題與當代語言哲學發展”

2013 Term / Wuhan“Beijing Roundtable on Contemporary Philosophy” 2013届-武漢“北京當代哲學國際圓桌學術研討會”
Wuhan University/Philosophy School “Advanced Forum in Comparative Philosophy” 武漢大學哲學學院“比較哲學高峰論壇”

Continue reading

November 20, 2012 Posted by | Call for Papers (CFP), Chinese philosophy, Comparative philosophy, Philosophy in China, Philosophy of language | Leave a comment

Conference on Multiculturalism and Comparative Philosophy

Bay Area folks might be interested in attending the following conference at the University of California Santa Cruz, where Bo MOU and I will represent Chinese and comparative philosophy (for better or worse!). The conference is free and open to the public.

“Free to Universalize or Bound by Culture? Philosophy in a Multicultural Context” Conference

University of California Santa Cruz

Saturday, October 20, 2012, Humanities 1, Room 210

This public conference investigates the relation between philosophy and its multicultural context. Are there immutable questions and universal answers regarding knowledge, values, and reality, or is philosophical inquiry bound by history, geography, and culture? Should the philosopher be responsible to the public?

10:00-10:15     Welcome Remarks: UCSC Humanities Dean William A. Ladusaw

10:15-10:45     Keynote: Helen Longino (Stanford) 

Continue reading

October 19, 2012 Posted by | Chinese philosophy, Comparative philosophy, Conference | Leave a comment

CFP: 2013 Comparative and Continental Philosophy Circle

The Comparative and Continental Philosophy Circle has announced its 2013 annual meeting, to be held at Fudan University in Shanghai on March 22-24. For more information, please see the CCP website.

October 14, 2012 Posted by | Call for Papers (CFP), Comparative philosophy, Conference | Leave a comment

“When two go together”

This post proposes a book project, for anyone who wants it.

Two kinds of serious conversation

By “serious” conversations I mean conversations that work toward knowledge (at least for one party), or good decision (at least by one party), or designing something complex.

The serious conversations glimpsed in the Analects are mainly between a master and student. The Mencius is more concerned with how an adept should counsel a king. 1A7 looks like a handbook for that.

These two kinds of conversation get their shape and point from inequalities: unequal wisdom and unequal power. Between master and student, one side has the wisdom and the power. Between counselor and king, one side has the wisdom and the other has the power. The point of both conversations, as understood by all parties, is to transmit  some wisdom from the wiser party to the other — within constraints imposed by the powerful party, such as limited time.

One could do a study of these two forms of conversation in Confucian literature: the varieties of each and the guidance on how to do them well. That’s not my main proposal here.

Is it fair to say that when early Confucianism thought about serious conversation, these two are the main kinds it thought about?

Diomedean conversation

The Western tradition saliently values another kind of conversation, aiming more at discovering or creating than transmitting. Continue reading

September 19, 2012 Posted by | Chinese philosophy, Comparative philosophy, Confucianism, Democracy, Education Models, Role Ethics | 4 Comments

Intercultural Philosophy Discussion Now Available on Web

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that the mailing list InterPhil (Intercultural Philosophy News) can now also be read directly on the web. All messages to the list are archived and available at:


Archived messages are searchable in full text. The function allows also complex search parameters. Continue reading

September 5, 2012 Posted by | Comparative philosophy, Resource | Leave a comment

The Non-Sequitur of Epistemological Nativism

I have recently finished a draft review for The China Journal of John Makeham, ed., Learning to Emulate the Wise: The Genesis of Chinese Philosophy as an Academic Discipline in Twentieth-Century China. I thought that one paragraph from my review might be of general interest and worth discussing here. Let me know what you think! Continue reading

September 2, 2012 Posted by | Book Review, Comparative philosophy, Modern Chinese Philosophy, Philosophy in China | 30 Comments

Latest ISCWP Newsletter Available

The August, 2012 ISCWP Newsletter is now available from the Association’s website. Enjoy!

August 23, 2012 Posted by | Comparative philosophy, ISCWP, Organization News | Leave a comment

CFP: ISCWP 2013 Beijing Roundtable

Bo Mou, the Beijing Roundtable series coordinator for the ISCWP, has issued the first CFP for the 2013 Beijing Roundtable — this year, to be held in Wuhan, China. More more information, see this link.

July 30, 2012 Posted by | Call for Papers (CFP), Comparative philosophy, Organization News, Philosophy of language | Leave a comment

Program for Conference on De-Parochializing Political Theory

What should be a fascinating conference on De-Parochializing Political Theory will be held next week at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. The lastest conference program is here; for more information, see the conference website. David Elstein and I are among the participants, so we’ll try to report back.

July 26, 2012 Posted by | Comparative philosophy, Comparative Political Theory, Conference | Leave a comment

CFP: “Connectedness and Alienation: The 21st Century Enigma”

Call for papers: THEME: “Connectedness and Alienation: The 21st
Century Enigma”, Asian Conference on Ethics, Religion and Philosophy,
Osaka, Japan, 28-31 March 2013

Deadline: 2012-12-01

Continue reading

July 17, 2012 Posted by | Call for Papers (CFP), Comparative philosophy | Leave a comment

CFP: The Art of Morality: Developing Moral Sensitivity Across the Curriculum

The Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum announces its 14th International Conference (Revised)

Oct. 4-6, 2012, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Keynote Speaker: Michael Slote, University of Miami

This year’s theme is chosen in part because the dates of the conference correspond to the ARTPRIZE event in Grand Rapids which is an international art competition that brings 1200+ pieces of art to our city. Continue reading

June 19, 2012 Posted by | Call for Papers (CFP), Comparative philosophy | Leave a comment

Utah Workshop on Xunzi and Hume

Comparing Two Masters: Xunzi and Hume

July 6-9, 2012

Philosophy Department, University of Utah, Salt Lake City

Among comparisons that are drawn between Chinese and Western thinkers, David Hume is often compared with Mengzi, an early Confucian, while another early Confucian, Xunzi, is often compared with Thomas Hobbes. Through a series of seminar-style sessions over a period of four days, this workshop aims to investigate an alternative pairing, namely of Xunzi and Hume, which has not been much explored in existing scholarship. Workshop sessions will be led by:

  • Eric Hutton (University of Utah)
  • Philip J. Ivanhoe (City University of Hong Kong)
  • Sungmoon Kim (City University of Hong Kong)
  • Al Martinich (University of Texas at Austin)
  • Elizabeth Radcliffe (College of William and Mary)
  • Lisa Shapiro (Simon Fraser University)
  • Michael Slote (University of Miami)
  • Ling-kang Wang (Tamkang University)

This workshop is made possible by a generous grant from the American Council of Learned Societies, funded by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange. Workshop sessions are open to the public.

For more information about the workshop, please email <eric.hutton@utah.edu> or call 801-581-7320.

June 18, 2012 Posted by | Comparative philosophy, Conference, Xunzi | 2 Comments

N.Y. Times Blog Post on Western Bias in Philosophy

HERE. Posted by Justin Smith of Concordia University, Montreal. (Hat-tip to Sam Crane, who has his own discussion of the piece going, over on his blog, The Useless Tree.) Much of Smith’s piece is probably “preaching to the choir” for our readers, but it’s good to see these points made in the mainstream. Here is an excerpt:

Western philosophy is always the unmarked category, the standard in relation to which non-Western philosophy provides a useful contrast. Non-Western philosophy is not approached on its own terms, and thus philosophy remains, implicitly and by default, Western. Second, non-Western philosophy, when it does appear in curricula, is treated in a methodologically and philosophically unsound way: it is crudely supposed to be wholly indigenous to the cultures that produce it and to be fundamentally different than Western philosophy in areas like its valuation of reason or its dependence on myth and religion.  In this way, non-Western philosophy remains fundamentally “other.” Continue reading

June 6, 2012 Posted by | Comparative philosophy | 11 Comments