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Monthly Archives: November 2016

Virtue, Politics and Culture (1) “The Hope for Our Leader’s Virtue – Just a Historical Hangover?” Frank Saunders Jr. (University of Hong Kong)

Frank Saunders Jr is a PhD candidate in the philosophy department at the University of Hong Kong.

Do the Moral Characters of our Leaders Really Matter?

The rulers of the ancient Chinese warring states had absolute authority over their subjects, and were therefore principally responsible for their well-being. The Confucian and Mohist political thinkers of the Warring States period developed the idea that a ruler can lead his people to order and prosperity only if he cultivates his virtue or moral character (de 德). (more…)

Neglected Virtue (11) Wuwei – “There’s Something in Doing Nothing ” Jordan Jackson (A Teacher in Wuhan, China)


Jordan Jackson received his BA and MA in Philosophy from the University of Cincinnati, and a second MA in Chinese Philosophy from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan.  He is currently working as a teacher in Wuhan while he prepares to pursue a PhD in China.

Wuwei and Radical Action

Traveling home for Christmas holiday, on a flight from Shanghai to Detroit, I had the chance to watch The End of the Tour (James Ponsoldt, 2014), a film centered around David Foster Wallace (played by Jason Segel) and a Rolling Stones journalist (Jesse Eisenberg) on the last leg of the Infinite Jest book tour.  As the characters board a flight headed for Minneapolis, the character Wallace said something that struck a nerve in me. While discussing his solutions for reversing a low point in his life, Wallace describes his various strategies as, “a very American I-will-fix-this-somehow-by-taking-radical-action sort of thing.” (more…)

Neglected Virtue (10) Cross-Cultural Empathy – “Ethics Under the Mask of Aesthetics?” Xuenan Cao (Duke University)


Xuenan Cao is a 3rd year Ph.D student in the Literature Program at Duke University.

Empathy and Well-Being

To concern oneself with the well-being of others, as in cases of altruism and charity, is one act. To empathize with imaginary characters or characters from a different culture is a rather similar act, since this act also participates in framing how one perceives the well-being of others. In such an act, what appears to be an aesthetic issue can be, in fact, an ethical one. (more…)

[CCP & GAI Joint Workshop] Aristotle on the Connection Between Virtue and Happiness

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

Aristotle on the Connection Between Virtue and Happiness

Time: 12:00 – 14:00 Thursday Nov 10th

Location: West Duke 204

Main SpeakerSukaina Hirji (Virginia Tech)





Sukaina Hirji (Princeton PhD) is Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department at Virginia Tech. Her area of research specialty is ancient philosophy, with a particular focus on Aristotle.


Commentator: Sungwoo Um (Ph.D. Student, the Department of Philosophy, Duke University)