The East-West Philosophers' Conference is a series that began in 1939. It has brought philosophers from around the globe to the University of Hawai'i to reflect on issues in comparative philosophy. The seventh such conference was held in January 1995.
The paper presents the idea of cross‐cultural philosophy, which have inspired the organizers of the cyclic global conferences held at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, USA, since 193 First, the author discusses some definitions of the comparative method applied in contemporary philosophy and promoted, among others, through the project of the “East‐West Philosophers’ Conference”. Then, she reports the major themes and panel topics raised during the eleventh conference organized in Honolulu, May 25–31, 2016.
It was once common to consider Greece the ‘cradle of philosophy.’ This view of ancient Greek thought took such deep root in our consciousness that it seemed permissible to make judgments that effectively ‘excommunicated’ non-Western cultures from philosophy and to allege, in the vein of Diogenes Laertius, that philosophy began with the Greeks or, like Immanuel Kant, to assert that “Philosophy is not to be found in the whole Orient.”1 Even those who shared Hegel’s view and recognized that “the so-called (...) Oriental philosophy was the first to appear in terms of time” nonetheless deemed it out of place in any discussion of the history of philosophy. By the late twentieth .. (shrink)
Why did philosophy and the sciences in the East lose their momentum and enthusiasm in the 12th century, leaving the West to take the most importantprogressive steps from the 17th century up to the present day? Can these two intellectual traditions be separated from each other to such an extent as to justify today's theses of conflict? If they cannot be separated, how can the historical events that place these theses on the agenda can be explained? The aim (...) of this short study is to try to find answers to the above questions within the context of two representative philosophers, and to reveal the extent to which the easternand western traditions are implicated with each other, contrary to some claims, by examining the 17th century, which as a turning point is a very important historical period. (shrink)
Philosophers, novelists, and intercultural comparisons : Heidegger, Kundera, and Dickens / Richard Rorty Lifeworlds, modernity, and philosophical praxis : race, ethnicity, and critical social theory / Lucius Outlaw Modern China and the postmodern West / David L. Hall From Marxism to post-Marxism / Svetozar Stojanović Incommensurability and otherness revisited / Richard J. Bernstein Incommensurability, truth, and the conversation between Confucians and Aritotelians about the virtues / Alasdair MacIntyre The commensurability of Indian epistemological theories / Karl H. Potter Pluralism, relativism, (...) and interaction between cultures / Bimal K. Matilal The problem of relativism / Jiang Tianji. Between relativism and fundamentalism : hermeneutics as Europe’s mainstream political and moral tradition / Ferenc Feher Conceptual schemes and linguistic relativism in relation to Chinese / A.C. Graham The origins of the question : four traditional Japanese philosophies of language / Thomas P. Kasulis Meaning as imaging : Prolegomena to a Confucian epistemelogy / Roger T. Ames On the dual nature of traditional Chinese thought and its modernization / Li Zhilin A planetary macroethics for humankind : the need, the apparent difficulty, and the eventual possibility / Karl-Otto Apel Reasonable challenges and preconditions of adjudication / Antonio S. Cua The French Revolution and the Holocaust : can ethics be ahistorical? / Hilary Putnam Tradition and moral progress / Joel J. Kupperman The shape of artistic pasts, East and West / Arthur C. Danto. Surrealistic distortion of landscape and the reason of the milieu / Megumi Sakabe Why art changes / Richard Wollheim The transcendental in a comparative context / Frederick J. Streng Reflections on religious pluralism in the Indian context / Margaret Chatterjee Three enduring achievements of Islamic philosophy / Lenn E. Goodman Two dimensions of religion : reflections based on Indian spiritual experience and philosophical traditions / G.C. Pande Between nationalism and nomadism : wondering about the languages of philosophy / Graham Parkes The discourse of cultural authenticity : Islamist revivalism and enlightenment universalism / Aziz Al-Azmeh Traditional political values and ideas : an examination of their relevance to developments in contemporary African political order / Kwame Gyekye On the interpretation of traditional cultures / Maria L. Herrera. The concept of progress and cultural identity / Roop Rekha Verma Moses, Hsüan-tsang, and history / Agnes Heller Secularism : sacred and profane / Daya Krishna Scientific progress and content loss / Larry Laudan A dialectical view of scientific rationality and progress / Marcello Pera Scientific progress reconsidered / Ilkka Niiniluoto Does progress in science lead to truth? / Lorenz Krüger. (shrink)
The Orthodox Church is one of the largest religious groups in the world. Yet, it remains an enigma in the West, especially among those who mistake it either for a Greek version of Roman Catholicism or for an exotic mixture of Christianity and eastern religion. Many, however, are coming to recognize the Orthodox Church for what it is: a worldwide community of Christian disciples that has been faithful to the apostolic command, “stand fast and hold the traditions which you (...) were taught, whether by word or by our epistle” (2 Thess 2:15). Consequently, growing numbers of people are finding their true home in the Church that has “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). Among these converts are dozens of contemporary philosophers. Some are accomplished, world-renowned, senior scholars. Others are junior scholars in the earliest stages of their careers. As a group, they belong neither to any particular philosophical ‘school’ nor to any particular Orthodox jurisdiction. What they have in common is a desire to enter deeply into an authentic and loving communion with the Living God, with God’s people, and ultimately with all of God’s creation. Turning East is a collection of autobiographical essays in which sixteen of these philosophers describe their personal journeys to the Orthodox Church, explain their reasons for becoming Orthodox Christians, and offer a sense of how their conversions have changed their lives. (shrink)
Heidegger often asserted that Germany, as “the land of poets and thinkers,” has a central world-historical role to play in any possible recovery from the technological nihilism of the modern epoch. And yet, on numerous occasions, Heidegger also demonstrated a serious interest in dialogue with the East Asian traditions of Daoism and Zen Buddhism. How are Heidegger’s entrenched ethnocentrism and his interest in East-West dialogue related? While neither can be wholly confined to one or another period in (...) his thought, this article shows how, in the late 1930s, Heidegger begins to recover from the most ethnocentric period of his thought, and how he starts thinking of his reflections on the Western history of being as a preparation for what he came to call “the inevitable dialogue with the East Asian world.”. (shrink)
The first two East-West Philosophers’ Conferences at the University of Hawai‘i constitute an important chapter in the history of comparative philosophy. Wing-tsit Chan recalls the first meeting in 1939 as a “very small beginning,” one that served primarily as the impetus for F.S.C. Northrop’s thesis that East and West represented two contrasting styles of thought. As Chan remembers, “we saw the world as two halves, East and West,” and in his subsequent 1946 work, The (...) Meeting of East and West, Northrop “sharply contrasted the entire East, as using doctrines out of concepts by intuition, to the West, as constructing its doctrines out of concepts by postulation.”1 The purpose of the second meeting in 1949 was... (shrink)
This is an excerpted version of a plenary address entitled “Beyond the Enlightenment Mentality Humanity and Rightness: Exploring Confucian Democracy”, presented at the 7th East-West Philosophers' Conference held at the East-West Center, Honolulu, January 1995. Published with permission of the author.
My first meeting with Kenneth I nada was in 1964, when I passed through Hawai‘i, on my way back from India, at the invitation of Charlie Moore, Editor of Philosophy East and West and Director of that summer’s East-West Philosophers’ Conference. Acting for Moore, who was ill at the time of my arrival, Ken, a member of the UH Philosophy faculty, was kind enough to take me on a tour of the UH-Manoa campus; he did (...) so with considerable good will. I subsequently joined the department in 1967 and appreciated very much having Ken as a colleague. Although he left the University of Hawai‘i after ten years to join the faculty at the State University of New York in Buffalo in 1969, we had subsequent occasion to meet at . (shrink)
This writing addresses a direct response to as well as shares a careful reflection with Ed Casey and Bob Neville, two of my longtime good friends, whom I invited to a panel I organized for Plenary Section 1, 11th East-West Philosophers’ Conference entitled “Place”, East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawai’i, May 25, 2017. It starts with the question of understanding the meaning of place for humanity and human development. To understand place as the birthplace of life and (...) humanity is essential to understanding what a place is, because a place has to link to other places and to the whole of space as a totality of places. Places are developed historically and transferred to us with their values just like our own life comes to us in the development of our histories and cultures. This leads to the idea of a place as not separable from time. I have only addressed time to some extent in this paper, but I have introduced time as an essential part of our defining characterization of humanity and its resources. This then leads to our deep understanding of humanity as the creative product of time and space, which is derived from a common life origin: creativity. Throughout, I have also elaborated my thinking on the complex issue of “deep roots” and “shallow roots” of Confucianism, in light of inspirations from Bob Neville, who has raised important questions. (shrink)
The Magic of Unknowing is a unique philosophical and literary work. Cast in the dialogue form, it unfolds in the mood of soliloquy. Mervyn Sprung has created an imaginative meeting of the minds of great western philosophers: Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Hume, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein and Pyrrho. All are brothers, the more skeptical sons of Aristotle. Later they hear as well from Chang, a Taoist, and Nagaraj, a Buddhist, both lately adopted into the family. The dialogue dramatises the erosion in modern times (...) of Aristotelian rationality under the pressures of its own logic. The two eastern thinkers throw the weight of their own skepticism into the discussion at the critical point. In the end the brothers realize that they have moved away from Western philosophy's faith in the singular power of reason to establish truth and sense in the human world. They discover the magic of unknowing that lies in the reciprocal penetration of knowledge and behavior, each receiving its sense from the other. They discover that philosophies are not the issue of reasoning alone but are themselves already inseparably thought and action. And they realise that this entails an unheard-of future for philosophy. (shrink)
Moral Self-Cultivation plays an important, even a central role, in the Confucian philosophical tradition, but philosophers in the West, most notably Aristotle and Kant, also hold that moral self-cultivation or self-shaping is possible and morally imperative. This paper argues that these traditions are psychologically unrealistic in what they say about the possibilities of moral self-cultivation. We cannot shape ourselves in the substantial and overall ways that Confucianism, Aristotle, and Kant say we can, and our best psychological data on moral (...) education and development indicate strongly that these phenomena depend crucially on the intervention of others and, more generally, on external factors individuals don’t control. (shrink)
Over the last thirty years, great advances have been made in Newton scholarship, in our understanding of the scientific culture of the eighteenth century, and in the appraisal of the present significance of Hegel’s treatment of the natural sciences. Newton’s influence upon the eighteenth century was profound and pervasive. Hegel’s assessment of the Newtonianism of his day has now become a matter of some importance to philosophers of science, both east and west of the ideological divide in Europe. (...) It is essential, therefore, that some attempt should be made to bring together those historians and philosophers of science who have been transforming our conception of these three distinct but closely interrelated fields. And where better than in Newton’s own college? (shrink)
As a new trend in aesthetics appearing concurrently in the West and the East in the last ten years, the aesthetics of everyday life points to a growing diversification among existing methodologies for pursuing aesthetics, alongside the shift from art-based aesthetics. The cultural diversity manifest in global aesthetics offers common ground for the collaborative efforts of aesthetics in both the West and the East. Given the rapidly growing interest and its potential for attracting new audiences extending (...) beyond the more narrowly focused traditions of twentieth-century analytic and environmental aesthetics, it stands to command its own share of attention in the future of aesthetic studies. The aesthetics of everyday life has become a stream of thought with a global ambition. This interest has led to numerous systematic and in-depth works on this topic, some of which were conducted by the authors represented in this volume. A salient feature of this book is that it not only represents the recent developments of the aesthetics of everyday life in the West, but also highlights the interaction between scholars in the West and the East on this topic. Thus, the project is a contribution toward mutual progress in the collaboration between Western and Eastern aesthetics. What distinguishes this book from other anthologies and monographs on this topic is that it reconstructs the aesthetics of everyday life through cultural dialogue between the West and the East, with a view to building a new form of aesthetics of everyday life, as seen from a global perspective. At present, the aesthetics of everyday life as a newly emergent approach to aesthetics may encounter skepticism among aestheticians accustomed to the rigors of analytic philosophers who prefer to discuss aesthetics at the level of abstract concepts and argument, and who tolerate the particulars of experience mainly as illustrations. But, there is no reason to abandon the pursuit of the aesthetics of everyday life in the face of such objections. On the contrary, there are many benefits to gain in bringing aesthetics to bear on a wider sphere of human life, made possible through efforts to show the relevance of aesthetics to a broader range of human actions. (shrink)
This book offers a unique and insightful analysis of Western and Middle Eastern concepts of dignity and illustrates them with examples of everyday life. Dignity in the 21st Century - Middle East and West is unique and insightful for a range of reasons. First, the book is co-authored by scholars from two different cultures (Middle East and West). As a result, the interpretations of dignity covered are broader than those in most Western publications. Second, the ambition (...) of the book is to use examples from everyday life and fiction to debate a range of dignity interpretations supplemented by philosophical and theological theories. Thus, the book is designed to be accessible to a general readership, which is further facilitated because it is published with full open access. Third, the book does not defend one superior theory of dignity, but instead presents six Western approaches and one based on the Koran and then asks whether a common essence can be detected. -/- The answer to the question whether a common essence can be detected between the Koranic interpretation of dignity and the main Western theories (virtue, Kant) is YES. The essence can be seen in dignity as a sense of self-worth, which persons have a duty to develop and respect in themselves and a duty to protect in others. The book ends with two recommendations. First, given the 7 concepts of dignity introduced in the book, meaningful dialogue can only be achieved if conversation partners clarify which variation they are using. Second, future collaborations between philosophers and psychologists might be helpful in moving theoretical knowledge on dignity as a sense of self-worth into practical action. The “scourges” of a sense of self-worth and dignity are identified by psychologists as violence, humiliation, disregard and embarrassment. To know more about how these can be avoided from psychologists, is helpful when protecting a sense of self-worth in others. (shrink)
With this book we see a philosopher well steeped in the Western tradition thinking through ancient Eastern disciplines, meditating on what it means to learn to breathe, and urging us all at the dawn of a new century to rediscover indigenous Asian cultures. Yogic tradition, according to Irigaray, can provide an invaluable means for restoring the vital link between the present and eternity -- and for re-envisioning the patriarchal traditions of the West. Western, logocentric rationality tends to abstract the (...) teachings of yoga from its everyday practice -- most importantly, from the cultivation of breath. Lacking actual, personal experience with yoga or other Eastern spiritual practices, the Western philosophers who have tried to address Hindu and Buddhist teachings -- particularly Schopenhauer -- have frequently gone astray. Not so, Luce Irigaray. Incorporating her personal experience with yoga into her provocative philosophical thinking on sexual difference, Irigaray proposes a new way of understanding individuation and community in the contemporary world. She looks toward the indigenous, pre-Aryan cultures of India -- which, she argues, have maintained an essentially creative ethic of sexual difference predicated on a respect for life, nature, and the feminine. Irigaray's focus on breath in this book is a natural outgrowth of the attention that she has given in previous books to the elements -- air, water, and fire. By returning to fundamental human experiences -- breathing and the fact of sexual difference -- she finds a way out of the endless sociologizing abstractions of much contemporary thought to rethink questions of race, ethnicity, and globalization. (shrink)