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Monthly Archives: October 2016

Neglected Virtue (9) Nunchi (눈치) – “A Quick Grasp of Micro-ethical Situations” Seth Robertson (University of Oklahoma)


Seth Robertson is a PhD student in Philosophy at the University of Oklahoma focusing on moral psychology. 


Nunchi (눈치, pronounced “noon-tchee”),  a Korean word meaning literally “eye-measure,” isn’t widely considered a virtue, but it should be. Nunchi is the ability both to accurately read others’ mental states by the subtlest of cues and to use this information to expertly steer social situations. The person who notices the tiniest twinge of discomfort on a colleague’s face when a new topic is broached, and then deftly steers the conversation away from that topic has lots of nunchi; the person who always puts his foot in his mouth lacks it. Nunchi is both perceptive and performative. It is not quite social or emotional intelligence and not quite tact, but it includes them. (more…)

Neglected Virtue (8) Mudita (or Sympathetic Joy) – “The Art of Sharing Well-being” Ewan Kingston (Duke University)


Ewan Kingston is a PhD student at the Department of Philosophy, Duke University.

Sympathetic joy

In a traditional Indian teaching preserved in Buddhism, the path to a fulfilling life consists of practicing four virtues – kindness, compassion, equanimity and… mudita. The last lacks an obvious English translation, a hint that perhaps Western culture could use more reflection on it.

Mudita is probably most easily explained by considering those that stand in opposition to it: sour grapes, envy and schadenfreude.  We know what it is to disparage someone else’s good fortune, or to desire it for ourselves, and even to rejoice in in an enemy’s suffering.  To embody mudita, in contrast, is to rejoice in another’s happiness, to feel genuine joy at their joy. Thus, a common translation of mudita is “sympathetic joy”. (more…)

Neglected Virtue (7) The Virtue of Youthful Adulthood – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Chong Yuan (St. Louis University)


Chong Yuan is a Graduate Student in Philosophy at St. Louis University. He describes himself as a “perplexed feminist learning to run”.

Now that you are reading this blog, I assume that you care about virtue, culture, and the interaction between them. If that is the case, I urge you to watch Danqing Chen’s mini TV series “Ju Bu” (Of Parts). It was first aired on Youku.com in 2015, and in each episode Chen presented some artwork (mostly paintings) or artist in the light of his own philosophy of art. The program as a whole is a marvelous display of the virtues of the artworks as well as of the artists, and it is all the more fascinating as Chen drew examples all the time from the histories of both Western and Chinese art.


[CCP & GAI Joint Workshop] Nishida on Well-Being: Reflections from Medieval Buddhist Philosophy

The Center for Comparative Philosophy & Global Asia Initiative Joint Reading Workshop

Nishida on Well-Being: Reflections from Medieval Buddhist Philosophy

Time: 12:00 – 14:00 Thursday Oct 13th

Location: West Duke 204

Main SpeakerTakushi Odagiri (M.D. Tokyo, Ph.D. Stanford).
He is a postdoctoral research fellow for the Global Asia Initiative at Duke University and a visiting faculty member for the Asian & Middle Eastern Studies department.
Commentator: Bobby Bingle (Ph.D. Student, the Department of Philosophy, Duke University)

** The Center for Comparative Philosophy will provide a light lunch for the workshop. The room will open from 12:00 for people to serve themselves and take a seat.


Neglected Virtue (6) Mana (or Authority) – “Restoring the Māori Virtue” Piripi Whaanga (Writer, Musician)


Piripi Whaanga has a MA in Philosophy developing a practical New Zealand tikanga that connects kiwis. He is a published author and contributor of articles to e-magazines, and journals as well as producing radio programmes. An accomplished songwriter and performer.

Balancing the needs of the many with personal responsibility is a concept that needs re-emphasizing in contemporary New Zealand culture. It’s probably true around the world but a native Māori virtue called mana, gives New Zealanders a unique chance to rediscover this cultural well-being at a time when countries are being asked to take in refugees. (more…)