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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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Philosophy Department Colloquium

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Location: S0.17/MS Teams

The Colloquium will be in-person, with an online option for those who can't be on campus. Please contact Andrew Cooper to receive the Link.

Speaker: Dirk Meyer (Oxford)

Talk: Dialectics in Chinese Philosophy As Seen From *Mìng xùn

Abstract: In this paper I shall look at the structure of dialectical argument in early China by reference to a recently obtained, fourth century manuscript text, titled *Mìng xùn. The text has a close counterpart in the received text Yì Zhōushū (Leftover Documents of Zhou). It is therefore generally understood as belonging the tradition of Shū (Documents), one of the core foundational classics of early China. I analyse the strategies bysq which meaning is produced in *Mìng xùn and suggest that the text develops the argument in a dialectic manner. In it, the philosophical premise seeks to test itself continuously to avoid becoming doctrine, and thus philosophically void. My choice of a Shū (Documents) 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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