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Interpretive Strategies: The Case of Classical Chinese Texts

20 Sep 2019
Seminar and ColloquiumM.A. in Ethics and Public Affairs
Interpretive Strategies: The Case of Classical Chinese Texts
20 Sep 2019
14:00 - 16:00
University Chapel, Ho Sin Hang Campus, HKBU


Many scholars in the humanities and social sciences are involved with understanding, analyzing, and describing texts of one sort or another. Some engage in the further task of building on the texts they study with an eye toward developing or refining insights or theories of contemporary value. This talk concerns the assumptions, methods, and aims one brings to the task of interpreting such texts. While the points it makes are of general value and application, I will take as my primary example classical Chinese texts and classical Chinese philosophical texts in particular. My core argument is that there are a variety of distinct approaches one can take to such texts, all of which can be of value, but it is important to be clear about what these distinct approaches are; scholars have an obligation to make their assumptions, methods and aims clear not only in order to guide their own research and reflection and insure its integrity but also in order to avoid misleading their readers about what their scholarship really intends to achieve. I will also argue that at times the particular type of text one studies will bring distinctive challenges into play. I will illustrate this claim with the example of the commentarial tradition associated with classical Chinese philosophical texts.  


About the Speaker

Philip J. Ivanhoe 艾文賀is Distinguished Chair Professor in the College of Confucian Studies and Eastern Philosophy at Sungkyunkwan University, Director of the Sungkyun Institute for Confucian Studies and East Asian Philosophy and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Confucian Philosophy and Culture. Professor Ivanhoe specializes in the history of East Asian philosophy and religion and its potential for contemporary ethics. Among his publications are: The Daodejing of Laozi, Confucian Moral Self Cultivation, The Essays and Letters of Zhang Xuecheng, Three Streams: Confucian Reflections on Learning and the Moral Heart-mind in China, Korea, and Japan, and Oneness: East Asian Conceptions of Virtue, Happiness, and How We Are All Connected. He currently is working on a study and translation of the works of two Korean Confucian women philosophers: Im Yun-ji Dang 任允摯堂 (1721-1793) and Gang Jeong-il Dang 姜靜一堂 (1772-1832).


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