Jessica Zu, Just Awakening: A Yogācāra Research Paradigm in Modern China

Professor Jessica Zu
Assistant Professor, Religion & EALC, University of Southern California, Dornsife
 
Respondent: Danica Cao
PhD Student, Philosophy of Religions, UChicago Divinity
 
Just Awakening: A Yogācāra Research Paradigm in Modern China
THURSDAY, April 11th, 5PM, Swift 200
 
The workshop will focus on the pre-circulated material selected from Jessica’s book manuscript. It will consist of a short presentation, followed by Danica’s response and general discussion and Q&A. Please find the reading material here (please email us for password).
 
 

Abstract:

This study takes a closer look at the life and work of a key player in the Yogācāra revival in modern China, Lü Cheng (1896–1989). The evidence reveals that, rather than positioning Lü’s Yogācāra in the epistemic silo of ontology or science, Lü’s scholarship is best understood as a new research paradigm. As incisively argued by Egan and Lincoln in 1994, a research paradigm, as a disciplinary construct, interweaves together four main areas of human inquiry: ontology (what things are), epistemology (how do we know), methodology (how to find out), and axiology (what is worth knowing). The book project, Just Awakening: Yogācāra Social Philosophy in Modern China, argues that Lü’s Yogācāra research paradigm systematically accentuated Buddhist processual ontology, reformulated imported positivism into a nondualistic transformative epistemology, systemized diffractive analysis into a new methodology, and refashioned Yogācāra karmic theory into an experience-informed, action-oriented moral reasoning. The workshop will closely examine Lü’s transformative epistemology.

Hosted by the Philosophy of Religions Workshop at the University of Chicago.

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The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive workshop. Please contact Workshop Coordinators Danica Cao (ddcao@uchicago.edu) or Taryn Sue (tarynsue@uchicago.edu) in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

Xing Hao Wang, Aesthetics as Ethics: Music as Paradigm in Early China

Xing Hao Wang

MA Student, UChicago Divinity

Respondent: Tyler Neenan

PhD Candidate, Philosophy of Religions, UChicago Divinity

 Aesthetics as Ethics: Music as Paradigm in Early China

 
The workshop will consist of a presentation from Xing Hao and a response from Tyler, after which we will have a discussion. The paper to be read in advance can be accessed here (please email us for password). We hope to see you there!

TUESDAY, February 20th, 5 PM, Swift 207

Hosted by the Philosophy of Religions Workshop at the University of Chicago.

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The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive workshop. Please contact Workshop Coordinators Danica Cao (ddcao@uchicago.edu) or Taryn Sue (tarynsue@uchicago.edu) in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

Abolfazl Ahangari, “A Return to Self: Notes on Ali Shariati’s Philosophy of Religion”

Abolfazl Ahangari

PhD Candidate, Comparative Literature, Hong Kong University

Respondent: Arwa Awan

PhD Candidate, Political Science, UChicago

 

A Return to Self: Notes on Ali Shariati’s Philosophy of Religion

The workshop will consist of a presentation from Abolfazl and a response from Arwa, after which we will have a discussion. There chapter to be read in advance can be accessed here (please contact us for password). We hope to see you there!

TUESDAY, February 13th, 5 PM, ZOOM 

(https://uchicago.zoom.us/j/99446784241?pwd=eC9MTzViYStKWVJ0d1VEUC9CVkVGUT09)

Hosted by the Philosophy of Religions Workshop at the University of Chicago.

_____________

The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive workshop. Please contact Workshop Coordinators Danica Cao (ddcao@uchicago.edu) or Taryn Sue (tarynsue@uchicago.edu) in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

Richard Nance, Learning to Read: Lessons from the Vyākhyāyukti Literature

Professor Richard Nance
Associate Professor of Religious Studies,
Indiana University Bloomington
        Learning to Read: Lessons from the Vyākhyāyukti Literature
TUESDAY, January 30th, 5:00 PM, Swift 201
 
The workshop will consist of a presentation by Professor Nance followed by time for discussion. 
 
Abstract:
 
Attributed to the great Sarvāstivādin thinker Vasubandhu, the fifth-century Buddhist text The Logic of Explication (Vyākhyāyukti) is perhaps best known today for the philosophical arguments it offers against dismissing Mahāyāna traditions as insufficiently Buddhist. But to narrowly focus on these arguments is to risk missing both the text’s broader agenda and its imbrication with two additional texts that make up what has sometimes been called “the Vyākhyāyukti literature.” The effort to read these three texts together generates intriguing philological and hermeneutic puzzles. I will present a few of these puzzles, offer tentative suggestions as to how each might be (dis)solved, and highlight some implications that such work carries for how we might think about these texts, their authors, their transmission across the centuries, and our own roles as interpreters.

Hosted by the Philosophy of Religions Workshop at the University of Chicago.

_____________

The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive workshop. Please contact Workshop Coordinators Danica Cao (ddcao@uchicago.edu) or Taryn Sue (tarynsue@uchicago.edu) in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

Owen Joyce-Coughlan, What Might it Mean for a Thinker to be Systematic? The Case of Meister Eckhart

Owen Joyce-Coughlan

PhD Candidate, Theology, UChicago Divinity School

Respondent: John Marvin
 
PhD Student, Philosophy of Religions (Divinity) & Philosophy, UChicago
What Might it Mean for a Thinker to be Systematic? The Case of Meister Eckhart
TUESDAY, November 14th, 4:30 PM, Swift 207
 
This workshop will focus on a pre-circulated paper, which can be accessed here (please contact us for password), and the event will be largely discussion-based. We hope to see you there!

Abstract: 

It is generally agreed that Meister Eckhart was an original thinker, and that, with a striking variety of expression in both Latin and the vernacular, he enjoined a certain form of life to his readers and listeners.

Eckhart’s appeals are grounded in his view that it was possible ‘in this life’, so to speak, for his readers and listeners to achieve some form of union with the divinity. Eckhart repeatedly insists that we must live out of a recognition that every created thing is so inferior in comparison to God that it is best considered “nothing” in itself. To live in such a way will be to follow the course of “detachment” (abegescheidenheit), where we give up everything that binds us to the created order of things, and we will become one with God.

Beyond his teaching something like this very minimal set of facts and value judgements, however, it has proven difficult for scholarship on Eckhart to agree on his ideas about even those themes to which he most devoted his attention. Among points of controversy are, for instance: whether it is proper or desirable to say that ‘God is’ or is ‘good’; in virtue of what in the human soul is union with God possible; whether union with God is produced through his own grace or through our compelling God to unite with us; and many other issues of equally fundamental importance to Eckhart’s work, as well as to first philosophy and Christian theological doctrine.

The reason for this scholarly disagreement, I claim, is that Eckhart is profoundly inconsistent on such matters of primary philosophical and theological significance. This paper will, due to limitations of space, explore just one particular site of inconsistent statements on Eckhart’s part, in order to make the case that the fact that many of Eckhart’s writings are contradictory is not at all detrimental to his purposes. Indeed, a study of that very contradictoriness can guide us in understanding what his purposes actually were, what the philosophical virtues of his methodology in pursuing those purposes are, and how his work can and ought to be considered ‘systematic’.

Hosted by the Philosophy of Religions Workshop at the University of Chicago.

 

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The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive workshop. Please contact Workshop Coordinators Danica Cao (ddcao@uchicago.edu) or Taryn Sue (tarynsue@uchicago.edu) in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

Lucas Depierre, Falling from Nietzsche: Emil Cioran on Time and Eternity

Lucas Depierre

PhD Student, UChicago Divinity School

Respondent: Owen Joyce-Coughlan
 
PhD Candidate, Theology, UChicago Divinity School
 
Falling from Nietzsche: Emil Cioran on Time and Eternity
TUESDAY, October 24th, 4:30 PM, Swift 207
 
The workshop will consist of a 40-min presentation, followed by a response by Owen Joyce-Coughlan. Please read the short selection from Cioran’s writings (attached) for an introduction to his reflections on temporality.

Abstract: 

This presentation endeavors to excavate Cioran’s metaphysics of time as emerging from a critique of Nietzsche’s doctrine(s) of eternal return. Thereby, I argue against reducing Cioran to a self-contradictory and destructive thinker with stylistic qualities but on the margins of philosophical debates, particularly those on the question of time. To retrieve Cioran’s understanding of time, my innovative method is to assemble his disordered aphorisms under the light of Nietzsche’s angle in order to unearth Cioran’s intimate spiritual journey on the question of time. I conclude that if Cioran’s coherence has eluded scholarly investigation it is because his identified stance is intricately intertwined with his secretive and agnostic theological quest. I introduce and advocate for a “wandering paradigm” on Cioran’s metaphysics in order to deconstruct what I refer to as the “sedentary paradigm” derived from the nihilist and the Nietzschean interpretation. 

Keywords: Time, Cioran, Nietzsche, eternal return, fall from time, eternity, mourning.

The presenter would like to insist on a warning in order to not make any participant uncomfortable. This presentation will deal with topics such as suicide and depression. Some reflections and quotes from the author are provocative and particularly dark.

Hosted by the Philosophy of Religions Workshop at the University of Chicago.

 

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The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive workshop. Please contact Workshop Coordinators Danica Cao (ddcao@uchicago.edu) or Taryn Sue (tarynsue@uchicago.edu) in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.