Reading Ancient Chinese Philosophy: Interpretation and the Problem of Authorship

October 19, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Mānoa Campus, Webinar

The history of pre-Qin classical Chinese thought is generally woven around a small group of great philosophers, each considered the voice of the author behind a single text: Kongzi (the Lunyu), Laozi (Daodejing), Mozi, Mengzi, Zhuangzi (the “Inner Chapters” of the Zhuangzi), Xunzi and Hanfeizi. Does this view of texts and authors correspond to the reality of how texts were written and formed in ancient China? archaeological evidence from recently excavated texts and greater attention to the role of Han dynasty scholars in editing and forming texts, many scholars in ancient China have argued that this was not the In this Professors’ Dialogue, Tao Jiang, Esther Sunkyung Klein, and Franklin Perkins will explore the implications of this conclusion for how we should read and interpret classical Chinese philosophical texts. in Chinese and Buddhist Philosophy at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. He is the author of Origins of Moral-Political Philosophy in Early China (Oxford 2021) and Contexts and Dialogue: Yogācāra Buddhism and Modern Psychology on the Subliminal Mind (Hawaii 2006). Jiang is chairman of the religion department and director of the Chinese Studies Center at Rutgers. Esther Sunkyung Klein (PhD Princeton, East Asian Studies 2010) is a senior lecturer at the Australian National University. She studies pre-modern Chinese thought, including philosophical and historical traditions. She has published on the authorship of the Zhuangzi, the ideas of the historian as an author in relation to the Shiji, the epistemology in the thought of the Han dynasty. Franklin Perkins is professor of philosophy at UHM and editor of the journal Philosophy East and West. His main research interests are in classical Chinese philosophy, modern European philosophy, and the challenges of doing philosophy in a comparative or cross-cultural context. His most recent book is Doing What You Really Want: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mengzi (Oxford 2021). This conference is co-sponsored by the Department of Philosophy at UHM.

Event Sponsor
Center for Chinese Studies, Mānoa Campus

More information
Pauli Tashima, 808-956-2663, [email protected],, How to Read Ancient Chinese Philosophy (PDF)