Singapore-Hong Kong-Macau Symposium on Chinese Philosophy 2019

Date/Time: 24 and 25 May, 2019, 9:00AM – 5:30PM

Venue: Wan Boo Sow Research Centre for Chinese Culture AS8 05-49

The Singapore-Hong Kong-Macau Symposium on Chinese Philosophy aims to foster dialogue and interaction between scholars primarily based in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Macau. Submissions are invited for papers on any aspect of Chinese Philosophy, as well as papers dealing with comparative issues that engage Chinese perspectives. Speakers will be selected through a review of abstracts.

For enquiries, please contact Dr. Loy Hui-Chieh via

Program Committee:

HUANG, Yong (The Chinese University of Hong Kong), LI, Chenyang (Nanyang Technological University), LOY, Hui-Chieh (National University Singapore), MOELLER, Hans-Georg (University of Macau), VAN NORDEN, Bryan (Yale-NUS College), ZHANG, Ellen, Committee Chair (Hong Kong Baptist University)


CHAN, Shing Bun Benedict (Hong Kong Baptist University), DOLCINI, Nevia  (University of Macau), EH, Edmond (University of Saint Joseph, Macau), HU, Jianping (Nanyang Technological University), LEE, Ting Mien (University of Macau), CHEUNG K.C. Leo (The Chinese University of Hong Kong), LEONG, Wai Chun (Macau University of Science and Technology), OOI, Daryl (National University of Singapore), PALMQUIST, Stephen  (Hong Kong Baptist University), RIVERA ESPINOZA, Manuel  (University of Macau), SAUNDERS, Frank Jr. (The University of Hong Kong), TAN, Christine Abigail Lee  (Nanyang Technological University), WEI, Qian Qian (National University of Singapore)

Schedule of presentations and abstracts here (pdf).


Join us @ Singapore Undergraduate Philosophy Conference

Hi all!

The Singapore Undergraduate Philosophy Conference (SUPC) is happening this Saturday 25 Feb 2017! It is a joint academic conference for undergraduate Philosophy majors based in Singapore. The Philosophy Sub-Club intends to create a discursive space through collaboration between philosophy majors by holding an annual undergraduate conference. The SUPC 2017 centres on the theme of Ethics. A couple of undergraduate speakers from each university (NTU, NUS and Yale-NUS) will represent their respective universities.

This conference hopes to provide a platform for undergraduates to showcase and present their philosophical work as well as to learn more about Ethics from other students from various institutions. SUPC 2017 provides an opportunity for participants to network with other philosophers from other institutions. Philosophers cannot thrive in isolation and we hope that the discussions that arise during the conference will help in the intellectual development of the undergraduates.

Do join us this Saturday, see you there!

Second Annual Triangular Graduate Student Conference on Asian Philosophy (Mar 6-8)

Graduate Student Conference 2.1

The Second Annual Triangular Graduate Student Conference on Asian Philosophy (2015) is jointly organized and sponsored by the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore, and Yale-NUS College. Annual Triangular Graduate Student Conference on Asian Philosophy is held on a rotational basis between The National University of Singapore, National Chengchi University, and Kyoto University. The first meeting was in 2014, in National Chengchi University.

Conference Programme

Friday 6 March

2:00-3:30 Yasuo Deguchi (KU): “Nishida’s Contradictory Self-identity Reconstructed” (Keynote)
3:30-3:45 Break
3:45-4:15 Ryo Tanaka (KU): “Two Images of the World: Sellars and Buddhism”
4:15-4:45 Masumi Aoki (KU): “Manshi Kiyosawa: A Case of the Reception of Western Philosophy in Japan”
4:45-5:00 Break
5:00-6:00 Phillippe Major (NUS): “The Tradition of Anti-Traditionalism: Transcendence in Sartre and Nishitani”

Saturday 7 March

9:30-11:00 Loy Hui Chieh (NUS): “A Divine-Will Conception of Ethical Foundations in the Mozi” (Keynote)
11:00-11:15 Break
11:15-12:15 Ellie Wang (NCCU), “On Xunzi’s View of the Transformation of Human Nature”
12:15-1:15 Lunch Buffet at FASS
1:15-2:15 Maiko Yamamori (KU): “A Mathematical Interpretation of I Ching”
2:15-2:30 Break
2:30-330 Taro Okamura and Kazuhira Watanabe (KU): “On the Notion of Self: Hume and Asian Thought”
3:30-3:45 Break
3:45-4:15 Daryl Ooi Shen (NUS): “Some Dance to Remember – Zhuangzi and the Problem of Suffering”
4:15-4:45 Lee Wilson (NUS): “Diluvian Discourses: Zhiyan and Therapeutic Scepticism in the Zhuangzi”
4:45-5:45 Mary Riley (NUS): “The Role of Ming and Ethics in the Zhuangzi”
8:00- Party at Jay’s and Blaine’s place

Sunday 8 March

9:30-11:00 Lin Chen-Kuo (NCCU): “Perceiving thathatā as ālambana: On Chinese Yogācāra interpretations of Dignāga’s Investigation of the Percept” (Keynote)
11:00-11:15 Break
11:45-12:15 Wu Chih-YIng (NCCU): “How are Empty Words Used for Negation in Nāgārjunaa’s Vigrahavyāvartanī?”
12:15-2:00 Lunch (not provided)
2:00-3:00 Lin Fang-Min (NCCU): “Language in the Realm of Ultimate Truth: On Bhāviveka’s Theory of the Two Truths in the Treatise on the Jewel in the Hand”
2:30-2:45 Break
2:45-3:45 Hu Zhi-Chang (NCCU): “Saṃghabhadra’s Theory of Self-Cognition in the Abdhidharma-nyāyānusāra-śāstra”
3:45-4:45 Maikel Schmaeling (NUS) “Developing a moral taste–Rasa and Katharsis between Ethics & Aesthetics”
4:45-5:00 Closing Remarks

Graduate Student Conference Call for Paper

659px-Shiba_Kokan_A_meeting_of_Japan_China_and_the_West_late_18th_centuryThe second annual NUS-National Chengchi University (Taiwan)-Kyoto University Triangular Graduate Student Conference on Asian philosophy will be hosted here at NUS 6-8 March. This is a friendly, informal conference where students of these three universities share ideas and work in progress. The conference will commence with keynote addresses by Profs Loy Hui Chieh, Lin Chen-Kuo of Chenching National University and Yasuo Deguchi of Kyoto University.

Students are invited to submit proposals for either short (20 minute) talks or full (50 minute) talks for this conference. It is a great opportunity to share ideas and to meet fellow students from around Asia. Please send a title and abstract to Jay Garfield ( and Michael Pelczar ( by 14 February.

Conference on Confucianism and Global Chinese Society (in Mandarin)

Organized by: The Nanyang Confucian Association, with presenters from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.
Date: Thursday 18- Friday 19 September 2014
Venue: Furama Riverfront Hotel (405 Havelock Road, Singapore 169633)
Program attached as a pdf: 【南洋孔教會】國際儒學會議日程表.

Note: A/P LO Yuet Keung from NUS Chinese Studies, and joint appointment NUS Philosophy, will be giving his paper on Friday morning.

Programme for the 2013 Joint Meeting of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy (SACP) and the Australasian Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy (ASACP)

The Department of Philosophy is pleased to announce the programme for the 2013 Joint Meeting of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy (SACP) and the Australasian Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy (ASACP).

You may view the programme and other additional details at

The Philosophy of Pictures Workshop (5 Jun – 6 Jun)

Click here to enlarge poster.

The NUS Department of Philosophy will be hosting a 2-day workshop on the Philosophy of Pictures.

Title of Workshop: Easing Off The Easel: Pictoriality and Paradigms of Pictures.

Abstract: In contemporary Anglo-American philosophy, the study of pictures—pictoriality, depiction—is typically treated, presumptively, as a branch of aesthetics. This is like making philosophy of language a branch of aesthetics because Hamlet is written in English. The error is so obvious no one can be making it, in a considered way. Nevertheless, to see what we can see, it seems worthwhile wrenching ourselves out of this rut, even if it is only due to path dependence in modes and manners of framing the topic. Pictures are tools—technology. What implications of this truistic thought are obscured by favoritism for artistic examples and insights? by consistent choice of artifacts that are paradigm museum pieces, as if this made them paradigms of pictoriality?

Panelists are not just reading the same papers in two venues on two consecutive days. They have agreed to read their papers in two parts. Part 1 on Day 1, Part 2 on Day 2.

Day 1 will involve a more formal presentation, and Day 2 will involve a more workshop-style informal discussion between the panelists and the audience.

Day 1 (Wed, 5 June 2013)

Venue: Tembusu College, Education Resource Center, SR-2

[2pm – 2.30pm]
Frames Foster Function (Part 1) by John Holbo (National University of Singapore, Philosophy)

[2.45pm – 3.15pm]
Is ‘depicts’ semantically ambiguous? (Part 1) by Rafael de Clercq (Lingnan University, Visual Studies)

[3.30pm – 4pm]
Interpreting Images (Part 1) by Ben Blumson (National University of Singapore, Philosophy)

[4.15pm – 4.45pm]
Pictorial Kitsch (Part 1) by Michael Newall (University of Kent, School of Arts)

Day 2 (Thu, 6 June 2013)

Venue: Philosophy Resource Room (AS3-05-23)

[2pm – 2.30pm]
Frames Foster Function (Part 2) by John Holbo (National University of Singapore, Philosophy)

[2.45pm – 3.15pm]
Is ‘depicts’ semantically ambiguous? (Part 2) by Rafael de Clercq (Lingnan University, Visual Studies)

[3.30pm – 4pm]
Interpreting Images (Part 2) by Ben Blumson (National University of Singapore, Philosophy)

[4.15pm – 4.45pm]
Pictorial Kitsch (Part 2) by Michael Newall (University of Kent, School of Arts)

Time Workshop (23 Apr)

The NUS Department of Philosophy will be hosting a workshop on time on Tuesday, 23 April 2013, from 2pm to 5.30pm at the Philosophy Resource Room (AS-05-23) in NUS. (More details below)

Retrocausality – What Would It Take? (2pm – 3.10pm)

by Huw Price, Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy and a Fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge

Abstract: Some writers argue that retrocausality offers an attractive loophole in Bell’s Theorem in QM, allowing an explanation of EPR-Bell correlations without “spooky action-at-a-distance.” This idea originated more than a decade before Bell’s famous result, when de Broglie’s student, Olivier Costa de Beauregard, first proposed that retrocausality plays a role in EPR contexts. The proposal is difficult to assess, because there has been little work on the general question of what a world with retrocausality would “look like” — what kinds of considerations, if any, would properly lead to the conclusion that we do live in such a world. In this talk I discuss these general issues, with the aim of bringing the more specific question as to whether quantum theory implies retrocausality into sharper focus than has hitherto been possible.

About the Speaker: Huw Price is Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy and a Fellow of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge.  He was previously ARC Federation Fellow and Challis Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney, where from 2002—2012 he was Founding Director of the Centre for Time. In Cambridge he is co-founder, with Martin Rees and Jaan Tallinn, of a project to establish a Centre for the Study of Existential Risk.

His publications include Facts and the Function of Truth (Blackwell, 1988; 2nd. edn. OUP, forthcoming), Time’s Arrow and Archimedes’ Point (OUP, 1996), Naturalism Without Mirrors (OUP, 2011) and a range of articles in journals such as Nature, Journal of Philosophy, Mind and British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. He is also co-editor (with Richard Corry) of Causation, Physics, and the Constitution of Reality: Russell’s Republic Revisited (OUP, 2007). His René Descartes Lectures (Tilburg, 2008) will shortly appear as Expressivism, Pragmatism and Representationalism (CUP, 2013), with commentary essays by Simon Blackburn, Robert Brandom, Paul Horwich and Michael Williams.

He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow and former Member of Council of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and a Past President of the Australasian Association of Philosophy. He was consulting editor for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy from 1995–2006, and is an associate editor of The Australasian Journal of Philosophy and a member of the editorial boards of Contemporary Pragmatism, Logic and Philosophy of Science, the Routledge International Library of Philosophy, and the European Journal for Philosophy of Science.

The Modal Argument Against Temporal Parts (3.15pm – 4.20pm)

by Kenneth Chong, M.A. Student, Department of Philosophy, National University of Singapore

Abstract: One version of the modal argument against temporal parts works in the following way. Assume there are temporal parts. Let ‘D’ be a proper temporal part of ‘Descartes’. Then we have the following inconsistent triad: i) D ≠ Descartes; ii) □ (D ≠ Descartes)    (this follows from i) and the principle of the necessity of distinctness); and iii) ◊ (D = Descartes).

Friends of temporal parts have generally been supportive of counterpart theory in dealing with the modal argument against temporal parts. In this paper, I will argue that the counterpart-theoretic solution as advanced by Sider in his book Four-Dimensionalism does not work. Sider’s proposed solution seeks to undermine an argument for ii) above. I will argue, however, that given the flexible nature of counterpart theory, his argument against ii) does not work. Consequently we can still derive a contradiction by assuming that there are temporal parts. Counterpart theorists who are also perdurantists need not fret too much, however. In the course of this paper I will briefly mention one other counterpart-theoretic response. If it is a workable response, then a corollary that falls out from this paper is that counterpart theorists who seek to defend the idea of temporal parts against the modal argument would do well to refocus their attention from Sider’s proposed counterpart-theoretic response to this other counterpart-theoretic response.

About the Speaker: Kenneth is currently pursuing his MA at NUS, where he is receiving some pressure not to be a physicalist under the supervision of his supervisor. In his free time, Kenneth enjoys playing all sorts of games, which might help explain his interest in Philosophy. He also enjoys writing plays, and has recently been published in Voices Clear and True (Vol. 1), a collection of new Singaporean plays.

Relativity and Experience (4.25pm – 5.30pm)

by Michael Pelczar, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, National University of Singapore

Abstract: Human experience is atomic, in the sense that it ultimately consists of experiences that do not themselves consist of further experiences. Like all conscious experiences, atomic experiences exist absolutely: if any complete and accurate description of the world describes it as including some conscious experience, then every complete and accurate description of the world describes it as including that experience. I argue that these considerations place severe constraints on how our atomic experiences can occur in relativistic spacetime. Specifically, I argue that an atomic experience can occur in relativistic spacetime only as a momentary and unextended point-event. This is bad news for physicalists, but good news for phenomenalists.

About the Speaker: Michael Pelczar is an Associate Professor who joined the Philosophy Department at NUS in 2001. He previously taught at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He received his PhD from the University of Virginia. He is originally from Chestertown, Maryland.

Philosophy Workshop on Justice and the Ethics of Dialogue and Debate (26 Mar)

The Department of Philosophy will be holding a philosophy workshop on Justice and the Ethics of Dialogue and Debate.

Date: Tuesday, 26 March 2013
Time: 10am – 3.30pm
Venue: Conference Room UT-25-03-06, Stephen Riady Centre (EduSports Center), U-Town, NUS (Click here to view map)

The papers presented in this workshop investigate the topic of justice by combining both epistemic and ethico-political perspectives. While all papers draw on the writings of various philosophers (from Abhinavagupta and Dharmakirti to Peter Strawson, from Wittgenstein to Hanfeizi) and various philosophical traditions (e.g. the Marxist, Aristotelian and Confucian traditions), each paper does not simply end up with stating the Chinese vs. the Indian or vs. the Western view of justice, but each presents an argument about some or another aspect of justice that can philosophically stand on its own. Justice and the ethics of dialogue and debate will thus be related to aspects such as the problem of epistemic access to a second person’s inner, especially, emotional states, the question of social change with regard to what each member of the group owes the group and vice versa, and the complicated relation of epistemic and political authority.

Being a workshop, the event seeks to practice what it theorizes, and is open for everyone to participate in active dialogue and debate. Presented papers:

Authority: Of German Rhinos and Chinese Tigers

Ralph Weber, URPP Asia and Europe, University of Zurich (10am – 11am)

This paper inquires into authority, both in its epistemic and deontic forms. I particularly seek to expand on the Polish Dominican logician and philosopher J.M. Bocheński’s The Logic of Authority by raising objections against his way of linking it to freedom and autonomy as well as by including in my discussion additional, unheeded aspects of authority (the authority of office, the authority of number), some of which have been discussed earlier in Alexandre Kojève’s La Notion de l’Autorité. In the course of my argument, I shall discuss the famous Russell-Wittgenstein episode about the possibility of knowing whether or not there is a rhinoceros in the room and draw on Wittgenstein more generally for disentangling the relation between authority and autonomy. An episode in the Han Feizi 韓非子 on believing whether or not there is a tiger in the market leads me to the topic of moral and political authority and its dependence on epistemic authority (which often involves different persons or institutions, but, for example, in the Guanzi 管子is invested in one and the same person, that of the sage-ruler). My goal is to explore those instances of authority in which both epistemology and politics can be said to interrelate, merge, or clash.

Justice and Social Change

Sor-hoon TanDepartment of Philosophy, National University of Singapore (11am – 12pm)

What might we gain from a comparative study of Confucianism and some Western philosophy on the topic of Justice? Some scholars have questioned whether there is any concept of justice in early Confucianism. One response is to either identify the equivalent concept, or find elements in Confucian philosophy that could be reconstructed into a Confucian theory (or at least perspective) on justice. However, going beyond the assumption that justice problems are universal, and exploring the possibility that problems arising from “circumstances of justice” might be understood differently by Confucians in their social criticisms, allows us to tap into deeper differences in social ideals, conceptions of human beings and social relations, that will provide more radically critical perspectives with which to interrogate contemporary experience.

Lunch Break

(12pm – 1.30pm)

Our Knowledge of Other People’s Feelings

Arindam ChakrabartiDepartment of Philosophy, University of Hawai’i at Manoa (1.30pm – 2.30pm)

Understanding the feelings of other people is not only a condition for caring social practice, and Buddhist altruistic compassion, it is the pre-condition for any successful dialogue, even philosophical dialogue, especially across cultural and linguistic barriers. Yet philosophers still do not know how we manage to do it. Neither perception nor inference seems capable of yielding knowledge of what another self—the second person—is currently experiencing, wanting, feeling, thinking. And whether at all another body is enlivened by a self, though not myself, remains hard to “prove”. In this paper, the intricate argumentation by Dharmakirti – the Sautrantika-Yogacara Buddhist philosopher – to prove by an inference that streams of consciousness other than one’s own exist will be examined, side by side with J.S. Mill’s version of the Argument from Analogy and its decisive refutation by P.F. Strawson. After a brief discussion of Max Scheler and Edith Stein’s views on sympathy and empathy, we turn to Kashmir Shaivist epistemology of imagining what it is like to be another self. Inspired by a detailed examination of Abhinavagupta’s insights on how we know, identify with and empathically feel other people’s feelings, the paper will propose assigning the work of knowledge of other selves to imagination, a means or faculty of knowing at least as powerful and indispensable as perception, inference and testimony.

Other Minds, 1946: Interpersonal and Interpretative Justice Among Philosophers

Chuanfei Chin, Department of Philosophy, National University of Singapore (2.30pm – 3.30pm)

A 1946 symposium on ‘Other Minds’ between John Wisdom, J.L. Austin and A.J. Ayer marked a shift in the analytic debate about our knowledge of other minds – from a sceptical orientation to a naturalist one. I focus on two aspects of their dialogue.  First, both Wisdom and Austin argue that the traditional concern with other minds fails to account for the depth and difficulty of our interpersonal relations, particularly our access to others’ emotional states. This is partly because our epistemology is normally dependent on an ethics of trust and vulnerability. Second, Ayer’s response is remarkably rude. He misconstrues their arguments, then uses their conclusions. I use this interpretative injustice to clarify the very norms of interpersonal justice which Wisdom and Austin highlight. Then I assess how far naturalist assumptions are responsible for these insights and conflicts. I take the symposium to illustrate the challenge of philosophical dialogue – in this case, between a Wittgensteinian philosopher influenced by psychoanalysis, an ordinary language philosopher, and a post-positivist philosopher intent on solving the problem.