The Human and the Sciences of Nature: Chinese and Comparative Perspectives


Lecture Series
AY 2016-2018

The purpose of the lecture series is to bring prominent Sinologists to CEU to speak about a topic that has come to the forefront of scholarly discussion, not only in philosophy but in the study of humanities more generally: namely, what is it that makes humans human? The Lecture Series confronts this topic historically, exploring how and why the “the human” – as both a natural and ethical category – emerged in the early Chinese tradition and developed over the course of subsequent centuries. Its more specific research goal is to probe more precisely, but also more deeply, the way in which forms of human understanding that we conventionally refer to as “scientific” are linked to other domains in our thinking – particularly the ethical, the social and the political – and how these domains come together in our conception of who, and what, we are as human beings.

Confirmed lectures:

January 19, 2017 - Edward G. Slingerland: Body and Mind: Scientific Approaches to the Concept of the Human in Early China

March 23, 2017 - Christian de Pee: Finding Oneself in the City: Nature and Human Subjectivity in the Streets of Eleventh-Century China

April 4, 2017 - Lisa Raphals: Body and Mind in China and Greece: Perspectives from Philosophy and Medicine

Confirmed speakers and titles:

  • Erica Brindley (Pennsylvania State University): “Creativity and the Science of Being Fully Human in Early China”
  • Robert Campany (Vanderbilt University): “The Self-Cultivating Cosmic World in Early Medieval China”
  • Mark Csikszentmihalyi (U.C. Berkeley): “A Short History of the Enterprise of the Mapping of the Categories of Natural, Human, and Divine onto Han dynasty China”
  • Rupert Gethin (Bristol): “Cosmology and Consciousness in Buddhist Systematic Thought.”
  • Shigehisa Kuriyama (Harvard University): “Rethinking the History of the Body in East Asia and Europe.”
  • David Pankenier (Lehigh University): “The workings of Heaven, It is Man Who Carries Them Out”

Organizer: Curie Virag

This series is sponsored by a Lecture Series Grant from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange (CCKF) in Taiwan.