Philosophical Topics in Early Chinese Texts
Memory and Adaptation
During the academic year 2013-14, the IHUM reading group Philosophical Topics in Early Chinese Texts will focus on two important and all-pervasive topics in early Chinese texts, namely ‘Memory’ and ‘Adaptation.’
The notion of Adaptation inevitably refers us to ideas of time, variability, change, transformation, uncertainty, contingency, psychological and evolutionary fitness, human modifiability, and prescience. It is thereby applied to the contemporary fields of decision-making, risk theory, political and power structures, human agency, social efficacy, environmental planning, and problem resolution. During the Fall term, we will read early Chinese narratives that problematize the possibility of human control over things that seem beyond it, and propose in turn the notion of Adaptation as a prescriptive solution for the person to deal with reality.
The notion of Memory is conceptually and philosophically intertwined with the notions of past, forgetting, self, time and change, and invokes narratives of individual and social memory, commemoration, (self-)forgetfulness, and experiences and representations of time. By means of selections from a wide array of early Chinese texts, we will attempt to explore these narratives as well as the rhetorical and ethico-political forces of memory and forgetting in the context of Early China.
Our reading and understanding of the selected texts will be based not only on the original classical Chinese texts, but also on some of the more noteworthy commentaries, annotated editions, as well as English translations. Hence knowledge of classical or modern Chinese is not a prerequisite for this reading group. We specifically invite enthusiasts from different departments and with divergent backgrounds in order to enrich the reading group, and to aim at an interdisciplinary, multifarious, and comparative approach.
In Fall 2013 we meet every two Thursdays from 7 to 9pm in room 305 in the East Asian Library (Gest). Take a look at our approximate schedule:
Sep 26: Liji “Wang Zhi” [Royal Regulations]
Oct 10 : Huainanzi “Yuan dao” [Original Tao]
Oct 24 : Guanzi "Xin shu shang" [Art of the Mind 1]
Nov 7 : Guanzi "Xin shu shang" [Art of the Mind 1]
Nov 21 : Lüshi Chunqiu "Gui yin" [Esteeming Adaptation]
Dec 5 : Lüshi Chunqiu "Gui yin" [Esteeming Adaptation]
In the Spring, we will have two especial events:
Feb 22: "Philosophy of the Past: Early Chinese Philosophy in Context" --public workshop at EAS.
March 4&6: Workshops in Adaptation and Memory with Albert Galvany (University of Barcelona) --places limited, contact the organizers.
For more information, contact Mercedes Valmisa (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sara Vantournhout (email@example.com)
(Image copyright Federico Alberto)