Early Chinese Philosophical Texts
The Early Chinese Philosophical Texts reading group focuses on philosophical readings of early Chinese texts. We will be reading and analyzing some of the well-known early Chinese classical texts such as the Zhuangzi or the Analects of Confucius, in a specifically philosophical way, i.e. critically discussing the texts’ argumentation and the fundamental problems they put forward. The main focus of the reading group will not be the translation or historical contextualization of the texts. Also, our reading and understanding of the 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. 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. We meet twice a month to discuss the proposed readings.
In the 2012 Spring term we read chapters of the Daodejing (or Classic of Tao and Power), the Analects and the Zhuangzi.
The Fall 2012 sessions revolved around the 大學 Daxue [The Great Learning] and the 中庸 Zhongyong [The Classic of the Mean]. We had Andrew Plaks, Professor Emeritus of East Asian Studies and Comparative Literature, and author of Ta Hsüeh and Chung Yung (The Highest Order of Cultivation and On the Practice of the Mean) as guest speaker.
The schedule for Spring 2013 will be mainly centered around the philosophy of the Zhuangzi, for we will have a special workshop in this book led by Professor Wim De Reu (National Taiwan University). Prof. De Reu is a specialist in the Zhuangzi, the metaphor theory, Early Daoism and pre-Qin philosophy of language.
Feb 12: First Meeting, "Wai wu" [External Things] chapter of the Zhuangzi.
Feb 26: We continue discussing "Wai wu" and related passages in other chapters.
March 11: Workshop 1: "Form as a performance of content: examples from the Zhuangzi.
March 12: Workshop 2: "The metaphor of the uncarved wood: issues and problems."
Following dates: TBD
We meet at 5pm in seminar room 305 in the East Asian Library (second floor in Frist).
For information contact Mercedes Valmisa (email@example.com) or Sara Vantournhout (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Image copyright Federico Alberto)