Chinese Philosophy Series: Bryan Van Norden (Vassar College)


Friday, September 30, 2022, 2:00pm to 4:00pm


Emerson Hall, Room 305

Photo of Bryan W. Van NordenProfessor Bryan Van Norden

Learning from Chinese Philosophy

Friday, September 30th


Emerson Hall, Room 305




When Europeans first encountered Chinese Confucians, Daoists, and Buddhists, they immediately recognized them as serious philosophers. However, this attitude changed due to the influence of imperialism and pseudo-scientific racism, so that (beginning with Kant) Chinese philosophy was dismissed and banned from academic philosophy in the West. Recently, works like my Taking Back Philosophy: A Multicultural Manifesto have challenged the status quo and demanded that we return to the cosmopolitan ideal of multicultural philosophy. This lecture provides several examples of the profound and distinct philosophical debates that existed in China on issues such as consequentialism, human nature, ethical egoism, relativism, and skepticism.

About the Speaker

Bryan W. Van Norden is James Monroe Taylor Chair in Philosophy at Vassar College (USA), and Chair Professor in the School of Philosophy at Wuhan University (China). A recipient of Fulbright, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Mellon fellowships, Van Norden has been honored as one of The Best 300 Professors in the US by The Princeton Review. Van Norden is author, editor, or translator of ten books on Chinese and comparative philosophy, including Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy (2011), Taking Back Philosophy: A Multicultural Manifesto (2017), Readings in Later Chinese Philosophy: Han to the 20th Century (2014, with Justin Tiwald), Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy (2nd ed., 2005, with P.J. Ivanhoe), and most recently Classical Chinese for Everyone: A Guide for Absolute Beginners (2019). He has also published multiple op-eds in the New York Times, and written a Ted-Ed video on Confucius that has been viewed over half a million times.  Many of his books and articles have been translated into Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Farsi, German, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and Turkish.  His hobbies are poker (he has played in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas) and video games. You can visit his website here.

This is the first of four lectures in this series. Professor Van Norden will be teaching additional lectures on October 14, October 28, and November 11, 2022.

Free and open to the public

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