Event Summary

The Philosophy Forum Distinguished Scholars Series – 4, organized by the Institute of Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences (IAS) and the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities (FAH), was successfully held on March 14, 2024 at the Lecture Hall of the Cultural Building. The lecture, entitled “Living Chinese Philosophy: Zoetology as First Philosophy,” was presented by Professor Roger Ames, Humanities Chair Professor at Peking University, Senior Academic Advisor of the Peking University Berggruen Research Centre, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. The discussion featured Professor Ellen Zhang from the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of FAH as the discussant, and was moderated by Professor Xingzhong Yu, Director of IAS and Chair Professor of FLL.

During the lecture, Professor Ames presented a photo of an ancient tree and used Western philosophy as the starting point for his explanation. He introduced the philosophical viewpoint of ‘zoetology’ inspired by Chinese thought and compared it with the traditional viewpoint of ‘ontology’. In addition, he emphasized the importance of understanding the relationships and interconnectedness of all things in Chinese thought, as well as the emphasis on growth and harmony. He also emphasized the potential for gaining a deeper understanding of another culture through a comparative cultural perspective. The professors also shared and discussed the different ways of thinking in interpreting philosophy between China and the West.

This lecture not only presented the profound ideas of esteemed philosophers but also promoted comparative cultural hermeneutics to gain a deeper understanding of different philosophical traditions. With attendees from different fields and disciplines, a lively discussion was sparked on the topics of zoetological thinking, ontological thinking, logical thinking, analogical thinking, and the understanding of death within the framework of ‘zoetology.’

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