"Lessons from Early Chinese Humanist Impulses"

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Kirill Thompson

(National Taiwan University)

"Lessons from Early Chinese Humanist Impulses"


Paper presented at:

Intercultural Humanism: Challenges, Experiences, Visions, Strategies

10-11 September 2010, Christ Church College, Oxford


Abstract: Early Chinese tradition exhibits distinctive Humanist impulses. In this discussion I will examine several of these impulses or predilections, principally as expressed in Confucius’ Analects but also in the Mozi, Zhuangzi and Laozi, and discuss how they might offer solutions to problems associated with received Western Humanism.  Briefly, two such problems are what I refer to as Western Humanism’s ‘individualist predilection’and its inherent ‘species-centrism’.


Short Bio: Kirill O. Thompson is a specialist in Song-Ming Neo-Confucianism, Zhu Xi, in particular, but also investigates pre-Qin thought and other developments. His interests include Western philosophy as well, especially the Greeks through Plato, Modern philosophy, and major 19th and 20th century figures. He has published book chapters and articles in Chinese philosophy, as in Philosophy East and West, etc.  Currently, a professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and Associate Dean of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, both at National Taiwan University.



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