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.
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