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From Conceptual Misalignment to Conceptual Engineering: An Applied Case Study on Emotion from Chinese Philosophy

12 Jul 2023
Seminar and ColloquiumCentre for Applied Ethics
12 Jul 2023
Face to face at CEC 1002 + Zoom Meeting, links will be informed through email
Dr. Zhao Wenqing, Assistant Philosophy Professor, Whitman College
Registration Fee
Dr. Baldwin Wong, Assistant Professor, Department of Religion and Philosophy, HKBU


Conceptual misalignment is a pervasive phenomenon in the studies of Non-Western philosophy and the History of Philosophy (NW&HP). However, conceptual misalignment is often undetected, unsuspected, or seen as a hurdle that NW&HP materials need to overcome to contribute to contemporary discussions. Specifically, conceptual misalignment refers to the following: In the process of crystalizing NW&HP materials, a linguistic coordination of concepts is formed between the speaker, i.e., NW&HP, and its context of contemporary anglophone philosophy. However, in philosophically meaningful ways, the original NW&HP concept and its anglophone counterpart misalign. This misalignment is particularly intricate and hard to detect when it comes to emotion concepts, as they are thought to involve phenomenal and/or intentional features. Through investigating the concept of emotion in Chinese philosophy, I propose a refocusing on conceptual misalignment as a method of cross-cultural comparative and history of philosophy. Moreover, I argue that conceptual misalignment is an important resource for contemporary conceptual engineering and amelioration projects. This talk explores conceptual misalignment and conceptual engineering through applied case studies of emotions from Chinese philosophy. 


About the speaker: 

Wenqing Zhao is currently an Assistant Philosophy Professor at Whitman College in Washington State, USA. She is joining the City University of New York (Baruch College) in Fall 2023. She obtained her B.A. from Hong Kong Baptist University in 2011 and then a Ph.D. from the City University of Hong Kong in 2016. 


Wenqing Zhao specializes in Chinese philosophy, bioethics, moral psychology, and philosophy of gender. In general, she is interested in applied ethical issues in non-ideal and multicultural contexts. She takes an interdisciplinary approach to her teaching and research, drawing upon studies in law and public policy, cultural anthropology, and empirical psychology.