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[Public Workshop] Planetary Humanities, Cosmopolitan Philosophies, Social Networks


Session descriptions:
Session 1: Planetary Humanities considers the general implications for the humanities of the broad dismantling of the claims to human exceptionalism. It will pay particular attention to a discussion of the university as an institution for the generation and transmission of knowledge, questions of disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity, and pedagogy for a flourishing planetary future.

Session 2: Cosmopolitan Philosophies, considers the tensions between philosophy’s claims to universality, truth and rationality, and its embeddedness in specific historical, cultural, linguistic and political knowledge structures. It considers the recent arguments for various kinds of world philosophy and Chinese responses and alternatives to questions of culture, universality and cosmopolitanism.

Session 3: Social Networks, seeks to move the discussion to a specific issue in the global politics of knowledge that have arisen through rapid technological changes in how humans across the planet participate in the construction and consumption of knowledge and information. Key here are social and political questions of how nation states, corporations or other subnational, national or international agencies should monitor, shape and manage the construction and consumption of global networked information. This raises questions of various forms of democratic participation, Internet access, publishing across borders that reveal key differences in US-Chinese politics.

[CCP & GAI Joint Workshop] The Topos of Mu and the Predicative Self: The Kyoto School and Western Eco-philosophy (J Baird Callicott, North Texas University)

The Topos of Mu and the Predicative Self: The Kyoto School and Western Eco-philosophy

J Baird Callicott

Time: March 7, 2018 1pm – 2:15pm

Location: Gross Hall 230E (Duke University West Campus)

Abstract: Japanese Buddhism and the Japanese language de-emphasize the subjective self, so deeply rooted in the Western worldview from Pythagoras to Paul the Apostle to Paul Ricoeur. The analogue to the predicative self in contemporary eco-philosophy is a relational sense of self first clearly stated by Arne Naess. The danger of the predicative/relational self is nationalism and fascism, exemplified by WATSUJI Tetsurō. The universalism of a scientific grounding of the predicative/relational self in ecology and ethology, exemplified by Aldo Leopold and IMANISHI Kinji, respectively is the antidote.

Sponsored by the Center for Comparative Philosophy and the Global Asia Initiative

Lunch provided.

[Kenan Sponsored CCP Workshop] “The Possibility of Religious Pluralism” – Prof. Rajeev Bhargava (CSDS, Delhi)

Kenan Sponsored Center for Comparative Philosophy Talk Series

 The Possibility of Religious Pluralism

 Prof. Rajeev Bhargava (CSDS, Delhi)


Time: 9:00-11:00am Tuesday October 31st

Location: West Duke Building 204


Abstract: In this talk, Professor Rajeev Bhargava examines the theological, social and political conditions for the existence of religious pluralism. (more…)

[Kenan Institute Sponsored Workshop] “Poetry and Moral Formation in South Asia” – Prof. Anne Monius


David Wong gave the 3rd C R Parekh Memorial Lecture, “Soup, Harmony, and Disagreement” at the Parekh Institute of Indian Thought

Our scholar David Wong participated in two workshops on the theme, “THE ENDS OF HUMAN LIFE IN ANCIENT INDIAN AND CHINESE TRADITIONS,” sponsored by the Parekh Institute of Indian Thought, Center for the Study of Developing Societies,, Delhi, India & the Berggruen Institute, LA, USA.  There were two workshops, a smaller one that lasted three weeks composed of three scholars working in Chinese Philosophy, Roger Ames, Chenyang Li, and Wong, and scholars on Indian thought: Patrick Olivelle, Donald Davis, and Jens Schlieter, together with Rajeev Bhargava, Shall Mayaram, and Ananya Vajpeyi from the Center for the Study of Developing Societies. (more…)

[CCP Workshop] Zhu Xi on the Motivation for Moral Action (Kai-chiu Ng, CUHK)

Invited Workshop Series

Zhu Xi on the Motivation for Moral Action

Time: 12pm – 14pm 31st Aug (Lunch Provided)

Location: West Duke 08C

Speaker: Dr. Kai-chiu Ng (Chinese University of Hong Kong)



Zhu Xi (1130–1200) said, “The mind/heart is a thing of action, and naturally has both good and evil [in its actions]. For example, compassion is good; seeing a child falling into a well without compassion is evil. To depart from good is [to perform] evil. While the original state of the mind/heart is not yet not good, we nevertheless cannot say evil is entirely unrelated to the mind/heart. If not the mind/heart, what undertakes it?” (more…)

[Call for application] Interdisciplinary Summer Seminar on the Morally Exceptional

“Character and the Morally Exceptional: Empirical Discoveries and Moral Improvement”

June 18-28, 2018

Wake Forest University

Seminar Leader: Dr. Christian B. Miller

Becoming a virtuous person is one of the central goals of the ethical life. But how good of a job are most people doing in becoming virtuous? And are there any strategies for cultivating the virtues and becoming morally exceptional which can help us to do better? This seminar will examine these two questions in detail. In the first half, we will see whether character traits even exist in light of various results in psychology. If they do exist, how good do they tend to be? Here we will look at the situationist literature in philosophy, drawing on the work of Gilbert Harman and John Doris. We will also consider the cognitive-affective personality system approach in thinking about character traits (Nancy Snow, Daniel Russell), as well as the whole trait approach (William Fleeson) and my mixed trait approach. (more…)

Owen Flanagan to be Honored at Conference: “The Natural Method–Ethics, Mind, & Self”

Professor Owen Flanagan, the co-director of the Center for Comparative Philosophy (CCP), is to be honored  by his former students and colleagues with a conference, The Natural Method–Ethics, Mind, & Self, on September 28-29. Please see details by clicking here. The event is free, but you must RSVP.



Ewan Kingston’s Blog Post at EIA: “Engaged Buddhism, Anger, and Retribution”

Ewan Kingston is a PhD student in Philosophy at Duke University

Engaged Buddhism, Anger, and Retribution

“Many Western philosophers admit that Buddhism is a rich philosophy. It has a plausible theory of personal identity: the separate self is merely a conventional concept, which can become dangerously addictive.  It also contains a theory of wellbeing: the ideal state is the calm contentment that comes with realising one’s deep interconnections with the rest of the world.1 But can Buddhism make important contributions to the field of political philosophy?”‘

Click here for the whole blog post!

David Wong’s Interview at 3AM: “The Pluralist”

David Wong is the Susan Fox Beischer and George D. Beischer Professor of Philosophy at Duke University.

the pluralist

Interview by Richard Marshall.

Click here for the whole interview!

I think that all moralities adequately serving the function of fostering social cooperation must contain a norm of reciprocity—a norm of returning good for good received. Such a norm is a necessity, I argue, because it helps relieve the strains on motivation of contributing to social cooperation when it comes into conflict with self-interest. I also identify a constraint I called “justifiability to the governed,” which implies that justifications for subordinating people’s interests must not rely on falsehoods such as the natural inferiority of racial or ethnic groups or the natural incapacities of women.