Oct
11
Fri
The Role of Negative Emotions in the Good Life: Reflections from the Zhuangzi. Richard Kim @ Columbia University Religion Dept. 101
Oct 11 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

The philosophical and psychological literature on well-being tend to focus on the prudential value of positive emotions such as pleasure, joy, or gratitude. But how do the negative emotions such as grief fit into our understanding of well-being? It is often assumed that negative emotions are intrinsically bad far us and that we should work toward eliminating them, especially from the perspective of our own well-being.

In this presentation I want to question this assumption by drawing on the ideas of Zhuangzi (a prominent early Daoist thinker from the 4th Century BCE) to argue that negative emotions are not intrinsically bad for us, and that their prudential value or disvalue is context dependent. Zhuangzi’s outlook, with his focus on the flexibility of perspectives and living according to our natural, spontaneous inclinations, gives us reason to reconsider the role of negative emotions in our lives and how we might think about them in a more constructive way.

With responses from: CHRISTOPHER GOWANS  (Fordham University)

The Fall dates for the Comparative Philosophy seminar:

September 20 – Justin Tiwald (San Francisco State University)
October 11 – Richard Kim (Loyola University, Chicago
November 8 – Sungmoon Kim (City University of Hong Kong)
December 6 – Paul R. Goldin (University of Pennsylvania)

More details (such as titles, abstracts, and respondents) to follow. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Hagop Sarkissian
Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Philosophy, The City University of New York, Baruch College
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center 
Co-Director, Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy

https://www.cbs.columbia.edu/cscp/

Oct
21
Mon
The Buddha versus Popper: When to Live? Rohit Parikh @ CUNY Grad Center, 7314
Oct 21 @ 4:15 pm – 6:15 pm

We discuss two approaches to life: presentism and futurism. The first one, which we are identifying with the Buddha, is to live in the present and not to allow the future to hinder us from living in the ever present now. The second one, which we will identify with Karl Popper, is to think before we act, and act now for a better future. We will discuss various aspects of presentism and futurism, such as Ruth Millikan’s Popperian animal, the psychologist Howard Rachlin’s social and temporal discounting, and even the popular but controversial idea, YOLO (you live only once). The purpose of this talk is to contrast one with the other. The central question of ethics is: How should one live? Our variation on that question is: When should one live? We conjecture that the notion of flow, developed by Csikszentmihalyi, may be a better optimal choice between these two positions.

This work, which is joint with Jongjin Kim, is to appear in the Journal of Buddhist Ethics.


Logic and Metaphysics Workshop:

September 2 GC Closed NO MEETING

September 9 Yael Sharvit, UCLA

September 16  Ole Hjortland and Ben Martin, Bergen

September 23 Alessandro Rossi, StAndrews

September 30 GC Closed NO MEETING

October 7 Dongwoo Kim, GC

October 14 GC Closed NO MEETING

October 21 Rohit Parikh, GC

October 28 Barbara Montero, GC

November 4 Sergei Aretmov, GC

November 11 Martin Pleitz, Muenster

November 18

November 25
December 2 Jessica Wilson, Toronto

December 9 Mark Colyvan, Sydney

December 16  MAYBE A MEETING; MAYBE NOT

Nov
8
Fri
Buddhism and Politics in Korea @ International Affairs Building, Room 918
Nov 8 @ 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Abstracts:

“Giving as Spending and Spending as Giving: Buddhism and the Politics of Spending during the Chosŏn Dynasty”
Juhn Ahn, University of Michigan

The impact of the Koryŏ-Chosŏn transition on the Buddhist establishment in Korea is generally understood in current scholarship to have been a negative one. It is all too often assumed that Buddhist monasteries, who enjoyed great economic prosperity under Koryŏ’s culture of giving, were forced to undergo a radical reduction in size and number and their wealth confiscated to replenish the empty royal fisc. There is also a tendency to assume that this systematic restructuring of the Buddhist establishment, often dubbed its “decline,” was orchestrated and executed by a small group of reform-minded Neo-Confucian scholar-officials who saw Buddhism as an economic parasite and cause of unnecessary spending. It is true that the Buddhist establishment never again enjoyed the kind of wealth that it once did during the Koryŏ, but this paper argues that we should not take this as a sign of decline or the necessary outcome of state suppression. Instead, this paper will turn its attention to the politics of spending that continued to shape and reshape the Chosŏn court and show that the politics of spending provided the Buddhist establishment with an opportunity—an opportunity that it did in fact use—to redefine the conditions of its existence.

“Court Lady Ch’ŏn Ilch’ŏng (1848 – 1934) in the Making of Modern Korean Buddhism”
Hwansoo Kim, Yale University

In this talk, I will introduce the work of a forgotten Korean Buddhist laywoman who served as one of the highest-ranking ladies in the court of the late Chosŏn dynasty. I will demonstrate that Court Lady Ch’ŏn (1848 – 1934) was as integral to modernizing Korean Buddhism during the pre-colonial and colonial era as the Korean Buddhist monastics with whom she worked. By examining Ch’ŏn’s seminal role in the incipient stage of modern Korean Buddhism, the history of female Buddhist leadership can be extended.

Ch’ŏn primarily worked with the Korean monk and leader Yi Hoegwang (1862-1933), drawing on a wide network of relationships both inside and outside the court to help him establish the first modern institution of Korean Buddhism, build the first modern temple in central Seoul, and open a Buddhist clinic. However, because Yi was later condemned by historiography as the worst of Buddhists who had collaborated with Korea’s colonizer, Ch’ŏn’s leadership and legacy were likewise stigmatized and sidelined. This talk seeks to restore Ch’ŏn’s centrality as a Buddhist modernizer, thereby giving balance to a largely male-centered and ethno-centric history and lengthening the lineage of lay female leadership in the transformation of Korean Buddhism in the early twentieth century.

“Buddhism and State Violence in Modern Korea”
Jin Y. Park, American University

Historically, Korean Buddhism has been known as “State Protection Buddhism” (護國佛敎). The seemingly positive character of this description also points to the limitations of Korean Buddhism’s role in the broader context of society. A state should exist to protect its members, but history has witnessed that the state can and did exercise its power against its members. Which members did the Korean government support, and which were sacrificed in the process? What role did Korean Buddhism play in the unfolding of that history?

This presentation deals with Buddhism’s response to state violence in modern Korea. Through an analysis of a specific instance of state violence and Korean Buddhism’s response, the presentation tries to gauge Korean Buddhism’s capacity to engage with the socio-political milieu of human existence.

Co-sponsored by
The Academy of Korean Studies, Seoul Korea; Weatherhead East Asian Institute; the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures; The Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life; The Department of Religion;  The Center for Buddhism and East Asian Religion

Dec
6
Fri
The Immortal Spirit in Classical Chinese Aesthetics. Paul Goldin (UPenn) @ Columbia University Religion Dept. 101
Dec 6 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

This will be the third (and, time permitting, some material from the fourth) of a series of lectures that I aim to write up formally as a book.  We will begin with a brief review of the most familiar theory of Chinese aesthetics: works of art are the products of sensitive human beings who cannot suppress their sincere responses to emotional stimuli.  If art is understood as a sincere statement of this kind by a great genius, it stands to reason that, by correctly interpreting the work, one can communicate with that genius’s mind (xin 心) even after his or her death–and, likewise, that an artist today can communicate with audiences yet unborn.  Art is thus timeless and offers the possibility of incorporeal immortality.  If there is extra time, I will also survey two interrelated phenomena that I call meta-criticism and meta-writing (since there are no technical terms for them in Chinese).  Meta-criticism, i.e. criticism of criticism, is a major feature of Chinese theories about art.  Meta-criticism must be related to meta-writing, or the practice of writing about writing while exemplifying the very styles and techniques that one recommends: for example, artfully rhyming a couplet about rhyming.

With responses from: SANDRA SHAPSHAY (Hunter College, CUNY)


The Fall dates for the Comparative Philosophy seminar:

September 20 – Justin Tiwald (San Francisco State University)
October 11 – Richard Kim (Loyola University, Chicago
November 8 – Sungmoon Kim (City University of Hong Kong)
December 6 – Paul R. Goldin (University of Pennsylvania)

More details (such as titles, abstracts, and respondents) to follow. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Hagop Sarkissian
Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Philosophy, The City University of New York, Baruch College
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center 
Co-Director, Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy

https://www.cbs.columbia.edu/cscp/

Oct
22
Fri
A Discussion of Fa (法) in the Shenzi: Eirik Lang Harris @ ZOOM - see site for details
Oct 22 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

ABSTRACT: The Shenzi Fragments, numbering a mere 3,000 or so characters in length, is all that remains of a work attributed to Shen Dao (ca. 350-275 BCE). While perhaps best known for his appearance in the Han Feizi as an advocate for positional power (勢 shi), he also makes an appearance in the Xunzi as one who is blinded by his focus on 法 fa (models, standards, laws).  We will examine the fragments that discuss fa in an attempt to come to a deeper understanding of the role that these fragments see for the fa, how they are to be determined, and why Shen Dao took them to be central to a strong, stable, and flourishing state. The fragments, in classical Chinese with English translations (Harris 2016), are included here as a PDF attachment.

 

DATE: October 22, 2021

TIME: 7:00-8:30 pm

 

This seminar will take place via Zoom (please scroll down for the full invitation). Below you will find the link to join the meeting. The attached file is an instruction manual to help you familiarize yourself with the program. In addition to familiarizing yourself with the program’s basic functions, there are two things we ask you to do before the meeting can start. First, you will need to sign in by typing your name in the chat. Subsequently, we will have to agree on the privacy policy for the meeting. The privacy policy provided by the Columbia University Seminars Office will be read aloud. To indicate your agreement, you will raise your virtual Zoom hand in the Participants panel. In the manual, you will find step-by-step instructions of how to sign in and to raise your hand.

Lead Presenter: Eirik Lang Harris

Discussants:  Alejandro Bárcenas (Texas State University), Yutang Jin (Princeton University), Mercedes Valmisa (Gettysburg College)

Note Regarding Donations: Due to COVID-19, donations are only accepted through Columbia University’s secure online giving form, Giving to Columbia.