The 2nd Annual Philosophy Conference took place on 19th-20th November 2016 at the School of Philosophy at Wuhan University. This year the theme was “Progress of Chinese Philosophy through Comparison.” This conference was one of a series of events in celebration of the 60th anniversary of re-establishment of Philosophy faculty at Wuhan University. In this conference, the School hosted more than 40 scholars from Johns Hopkins University, Vassar College (USA), Tallinn University (The Republic of Estonia), Kaisei Gakuen Colledes (Japan), Hanbat National University (South Korea), National Taiwan University, Wuhan University, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Tsing-hua University, Peking University, Fudan University, Nanjing University, Renmin University of China, Beijing Normal University, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Hubei University, South-Central University for Nationalities, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Huazhong Normal University, Tongji University, Xiamen University, Shandong University, Naval Aeronautical Engineering Institute, etc.
Professor Genyou Wu, Dean of the School of Philosophy, delivered an opening address. He highly appraised the development of modern and contemporary Chinese philosophy through comparison with foreign philosophy, especially Western philosophy, and stated that comparative philosophy is a research approach conducive to the cross-cultural dialogues, it provides alternative perspectives for us to rationally reflect on the problems of society, religion, culture and individual life in the age of globalization. He believed that future Chinese philosophy would continue to benefit from such comparison. At the end of the address he announced that the newly established Research Center of Development Strategy of Comparative Philosophy and Culture has become one of the Centers for Key Research of Humanities in Hubei Province.
At the opening ceremony, scholars expressed their congratulations to the School of Philosophy for the 60th anniversary. Professor Xinzhong Yao, Dean of the School of Philosophy at Renmin University, spoke highly of the research and education in the School of Philosophy at Wuhan University as one of a few top Chinese Philosophy departments (schools). Professor Yansheng He from Kaisei Gakuen Colledes(Japan) expressed his gratitude to former professors, especially late Professor Xiao Jiefu, for the philosophical education he received at Wuhan University, and for the platform of academic exchange they created. Professor Bryan. W Van Norden from Vassar College stated that it was always a very delightful experience to visit and teach at Wuhan University. As the level of international cooperation between China and other countries will continue to grow, he hoped to do his best to contribute to an ideal win-win situation. Professor Xiangchen Sun presented his research on the notion of the individual in the comparison of Chinese and Western Culture. Professor Xiaomang Deng stated that the future Chinese philosophy was promising, because modern Chinese language of philosophy was a hybrid of the traditional Chinese language and the Chinese translation of Western philosophical classics, its diverse origins and rich terminology made it more and more capable of elaborating profound thoughts. Professor Minghui Li shared his view of the nature of comparative philosophy, and envisioned that future comparative philosophy in China would create original ideas distinctive from both Chinese traditional thoughts and Western thoughts.
During the conference, scholars presented papers on the theme of the development of contemporary Chinese philosophy through comparison. The main topics were: methodology of comparative philosophy and cultural comparison, different modes of the evolvement of philosophy, Enlightenment in the West and in China, and religious dialogue, etc. Specific topics included metaphor and simile in Chinese philosophy, hypocrisy, ideas of harmony in Plato and in Confucianism, public and private ethics, Zen buddhism and Psychoanalysis, comparative Ethics, philosophy of time in Hegel and in China, theories of human nature, Karl Jaspers’ view on human nature and history, etc.
At the closing ceremony, junior scholars such as Professor Shunfu Shen, Sumin Liu, Kun Wang, and Yunfei Yang shared their experience in doing comparative philosophy, and highly appreciated the free and vibrant atmosphere of scholarly exchange at this Conference at the School of Philosophy at Wuhan University. In a concluding remark, Professor Genyou Wu stated that it was the nature of comparative philosophy to cross borders. In comparison, one becomes aware of the limit of one’s own perspectives, and broadens one’s mind to embrace the diversity of thoughts. Such is perhaps the charm of comparative philosophy.