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Departmental Colloquium, 2019/2020

Colloquia take place from 4.15pm to 6:00pm in OC1.07 (Oculus Building) unless otherwise indicated. For further information, please contact Naomi Eilan ( or Barnaby Walker ( Details of previous years’ colloquia can be found here.

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CANCELLED: Department of Philosophy Colloquium

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Location: S0.17/MS Teams

Speaker: Dirk Meyer (Oxford)

 Talk: The Dialectics Rule: Chinese Philosophy As Seen From *Mìng xùn

 Abstract: This paper looks at the way a philosophical argument is developed in a recently obtained, fourth century manuscript text from the Tsinghua collection of Chǔ Warring States texts, titled *Mìng xùn. The text has a close counterpart in the received tradition (Yì Zhōushū), which classes it as an utterance in the tradition of Shū (Documents), one of the core classics. I analyse the strategies with which meaning is produced in *Mìng xùn and suggest that the text is articulated in a dialectic manner in which the philosophical premise seeks to test itself continuously to avoid becoming doctrine, and thus philosophically void. My choice of a Shū text as an example of philosophically relevant meaning construction in early China challenges current methodology, which anachronistically considers -type literature (the Masters) as a disciplinary equivalent to Philosophy in ancient Greece. I argue that since philosophically relevant activities are a non-disciplinary praxis in early China, the articulations of this praxis are also not genre specific but found across the foundational literary texts of China.


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