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​A First for Singapore and Southeast Asia: NTU Hosts 20th ISCP International Conference on Chinese Philosophy

Published on: 04-Jul-2017


For the first time ever, the International Society for Chinese Philosophy (ISCP) will be holding the prestigious International Conference on Chinese Philosophy in Southeast Asia.

For its 20th edition, the event will be held in Singapore at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) from 4 to 7 July 2017. Featuring 250 presentations from scholars representing four continents, 20 countries and regions, and 125 institutions from around the world, this conference is the largest ever in the history of the ISCP.

The theme of this year's conference is "Chinese Philosophy in a Multicultural World". Professor Li Chenyang, Head of Philosophy at NTU's School of Humanities, says that the theme would resonate in multi-racial Singapore and hopes that the conference will provide insights that would bridge Chinese philosophy and other schools of thought and cultures.

"In the 21st century, cultures that originated on different continents are in close contact and people from various philosophical and religious traditions interact on multiple levels. How can Chinese philosophy position and present itself in this multicultural and intercultural world? How can Chinese philosophy interact and communicate more effectively with other traditions? How does Chinese philosophy contribute to the making of a more harmonious and prosperous world? These are some of the questions which the conference seeks to explore," elaborates Professor Li.


NTU a Rising Star in Chinese Philosophy and the Humanities

Internationally prominent speakers at the conference include Vincent Shen, Professor, Lee Chair in Chinese Thought and Culture, University of Toronto; Carine Defoort, Professor of Sinology, University of Leuven; and Robert Neville, Professor of Philosophy, Religion and Theology, Boston University.  

Professor Li, who is also the current President of the ISCP, adds that the International Conference on Chinese Philosophy is the most influential conference on Chinese philosophy in the world.

"This conference is the largest in its history and it is held for the first time in Southeast Asia. The fact that Singapore is hosting the conference speaks volumes about the importance and relevance of Singapore to the international community of Chinese philosophers.  It is an honour to host internationally renowned scholars of Chinese philosophy."

Philosophy was launched in 2011 at NTU and is one of the youngest philosophy programmes in the world. In addition to conventional training in classical philosophy, the programme's distinctive interdisciplinary curriculum allows students to major in a second subject in the humanities or social sciences. It also features courses on innovation and subjects such as the Philosophy of Science and the Philosophy of Technology.

Professor Alan Chan, Dean, College of the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences in NTU says, "Chinese philosophy is important not only because it affords a better understanding of Chinese culture, but also because it can make a significant contribution to global development. The ethical core of Chinese philosophy is especially relevant to a world beset with pressing challenges and potentially debilitating uncertainty."

He also adds, "The Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences play an important role at NTU in both education and research.  Working closely with colleagues in Business, Engineering, Medicine and Science, we seek to prepare our students for a world that will have to contend with serious disruptions.  While future-ready graduates must be nimble and positive in embracing change, they must also have a strong anchor in ethical commitment, cross-cultural sensitivity and mutual respect, and independence of mind – or what the ancient Chinese philosophers refer to as Ren (humanity), Yi (justice and righteousness), Li (propriety), and Zhi (wisdom and discernment)."

The 20th ISCP International Conference on Chinese Philosophy is organised by the School of Humanities in NTU and is supported by the Nanyang Confucian Association, Pei Hwa Foundation, Modern Confucianism Foundation, and the Centre for Liberal Arts and Social Sciences of NTU.

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