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February 28, 2010

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures presents the Inaugural Tang Junyi Lecture Series

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Contemporary Confucian Virtue Politics

Stephen C. Angle
Wesleyan University
Stephen C. Angle received his B.A. from Yale University in East Asian Studies and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Michigan. Since 1994 he has taught at Wesleyan University, where he is now Professor of Philosophy. Professor Angle is the author of Human Rights and Chinese Thought: A Cross-Cultural Inquiry (Cambridge, 2002); Sagehood: The Contemporary Significance of Neo-Confucian Philosophy (Oxford, 2009); and numerous scholarly articles on Chinese ethical and political thought and on topics in comparative philosophy.

All lectures: 1022 South Thayer Building, First Floor
A reception will follow each lecture

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 4:00pm
“The Confucian Revival and Genuine Confucian Philosophical Critique”
Language and practices connected to Confucianism are increasingly common in today’s China. This lecture explores the different meanings of Confucianism relevant to the contemporary world, including finding the grounds for a Confucian philosophical critique of values both inside and outside China.

Thursday, March 11, 2010 4:00pm
“Rule of Law and Virtue Politics in 20th Century China”
The relations between “rule of law” (fazhi 法治) and “virtue politics” (dezhi 德治) have been repeatedly debated in China over the last century. This lecture focuses on two such debates, from the mid-1910s and from the late 1950s to early 1960s, paying special attention to the arguments of Zhang Shizhao 章士釗 (1885–1973) and Mou Zongsan 牟宗三 (1909–95). The arguments of Zhang and Mou can contribute to current dialogues on issues like the limits on moral authority, the role of virtue in politics, the relations between public and private, and the need for political and legal value to be rooted in morality.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 4:00pm
“Rethinking Confucian Sovereignty”
Traditional Confucianism rests sovereignty in “Heaven” (tian 天), even while relying on the reactions of the masses (min 民) as a barometer to gauge the success and legitimacy of the current ruler. Even in its original contexts this theory stood in some tension with teachings concerning the possibility of each person to attain sagehood; in the contemporary world, both the locus of sovereignty and the nature of the min need to be re-thought. Building on insights about Confucianism and democracy from New Confucians like Tang Junyi 唐君毅 (1909–1978) and Mou Zongsan 牟宗三 (1909–95), this lecture articulates a new, yet still distinctively Confucian, way of understanding sovereignty and political legitimacy.

Thursday, March 18, 2010 4:00pm
“Virtue’s Dependence on Politics: Confucian Social Critique”
Confucianism long ago anticipated an important finding of contemporary psychology: our social and physical environments have significant effects on the ways and degrees to which we can be virtuous. Since politics inevitably influences these environments, it follows that ethics and politics are intertwined at a deep level. This lecture explores ways in which traditional and contemporary Confucian teachings, as well as Western research at the borders between ethics and political philosophy, converge on an understanding of the role that social critique plays in one’s ethical development.

This lecture series is made possible by a generous gift from Donald J. Munro, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Chinese, and Ann Munro.

Posted by zzhu at February 28, 2010 06:30 PM