International Workshop "Chinese Political Thought"
Chinese philosophy is often considered as a pragmatic, intrinsically “political” discourse, more oriented towards the stabilization of a community (be it social, cultural or institutional) and the establishment of an organic, well-functioning state apparatus than to the understanding of the metaphysical realm of thought.
This is a largely biased and simplistic reduction of its thematic richness and its high level of theoretical sophistication, yet the formative centuries of Chinese thought – amidst the turmoil of the Warring States – undeniably urged the main intellectual actors of the time to a reflection on how to rebuild the lost “political order”.
And yet, even as China is becoming a global power, Chinese political thought is rarely allowed to participate in discussions beyond the disciplinary “wall” of Sinology and Asian Studies and their categories of thought. In other words, if Plato, Machiavelli or Rousseau are unanimously considered to speak the universal language of “political philosophy”, the reflections on power, authority and legitimacy offered by Laozi, Han Fei or Mencius tend to remained confined to a specialized (sometimes still considered and treated as “exotic”) Chinese context.
This workshop, jointly organized by the University of Naples “L’Orientale”- Centre for East Asian Studies, Tallinn University and EURICS, intends to fill this gap and foster an interdisciplinary dialogue among disciplines by inviting sinologists, political philosophers, and intellectual historians to discuss Chinese political thought (of any period), favoring a focus on its comparative and/or global potential. Contributions focusing on more than one country, area, or period are also encouraged.