预告|学科国际前沿系列讲座之中西比较哲学：Classical Chinese Philosophy and the Problem of Evil
学科国际前沿系列讲座之中西比较哲学：Classical Chinese Philosophy and the Problem of Evil
主讲人: Prof. Franklin Thomas Perkins Jr.(Department of Philosophy, University of Hawai’I at Manoa)
Lecture 1: The Problem of Evil beyond Theism
This first session will introduce the specific problem philosophers label as "the problem of evil," and then extend the problem beyond the belief in God to the common claim that good people are always rewarded and bad people are punished. This claim has no intrinsic connection to theism, as it can be made in terms of karma or even in terms of natural causality. After illuminating the structure of the problem, I will describe and categorize responses to the basic problem across a number of traditions, including China.
Lecture 2: Mengzi and the Shift to Human Nature
The second session argues that one central problem of Mengzi’s philosophy is how to reconcile human ethics with a natural world that is not itself ethical. I will begin by arguing that Mengzi does not consider tian to be good but rather to be a morally neutral force. This view leads Mengzi give up the idea of directly harmonizing with or imitating tian, shifting instead toward a focus on xing (性), human nature. Ultimately, though, Mengzi attempts to reconcile xing with tian by showing that while tian is not itself good, our human way of relating to tian is through our xing, which leads us to be good.
Lecture 3: Beyond the Human in the Zhuangzi
The relationship between heaven and humans, tian and ren, in the Zhuangzi is complex and multi-dimensional, but this session argues that the inner chapters of the Zhuangzi maintain a commitment to harmonizing with tian, while recognizing this involves giving up usual human ethical categories. This position entails not only a portrait of tian as amoral but also a rejection of appeals to human nature. The outcome is the ability to wander free and easy in the world.
Lecture 4: Xunzi and the Fragility of the Human
The final session will argue that while Zhuangzi and Xunzi have similar views of tian, they take opposite positions on how to relate to it. While Zhuangzi gives up the human to follow heaven, Xunzi abandons heaven as a norm and argues instead that human beings need to rework the world so that it becomes moral. With the development of civilization and culture, human beings can shape the world such that good people are rewarded and bad people are punished, thus displacing tian as the ultimate force.
Franklin Perkins received his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University and has been a professor at Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) and at DePaul University (Chicago), where he was also director of the Chinese Studies Program. His main teaching and research interests are in classical Chinese philosophy, early modern European philosophy, and in the challenges of doing philosophy in a comparative or intercultural context. In the past few years, he has been focused particularly on the philosophical significance of recently excavated Chinese texts that were buried around 300 BCE. He is the author of Heaven and Earth are not Humane: The Problem of Evil in Classical Chinese Philosophy (Indiana, 2014), Leibniz: A Guide for the Perplexed(Bloomsbury, 2007), and Leibniz and China: A Commerce of Light (Cambridge, 2004), and he was co-editor (with Chenyang Li) of Chinese Metaphysics and Its Problems(Cambridge, 2015). His books have been translated into Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese. He is editor of the journal Philosophy East and West.