From May 27th to 29th, 2014, the Graduate Center Philosophy Department will be hosting a meeting of a research project funded by the Templeton Foundation.
The project concerns the fact that, in reading East Asian philosophical texts, it is not uncommon to find writers endorsing paradoxical views. Indeed, some Western philosophers have used this fact to write these texts off as mystical and irrational. However, paradoxes are to be found in Western Philosophy too, especially in connection with self-reference. In the West, the reaction has typically been to try to diagnose and explain what is wrong with the paradox-producing arguments. But recent work in logic has made it possible to adopt a quite different attitude. The paradoxical conclusions are to be accepted as true. The facts themselves are, so to speak, paradoxical. This suggests a whole new perspective from which to examine and interpret the Eastern texts. The paradoxes they contain are by no means a sign of the irrational; rather, the texts frame a distinctive understanding of the paradoxical nature of reality. From this perspective, we can obtain a new understanding of both the texts themselves, and of the pictures of the world they contain.
The members of the project are Yasuo Deguchi (Philosophy, Kyoto University), Jay Garfield (Philosophy, Yale-NUS College), Graham Priest (Philosophy, Graduate Center, CUNY), Robert Sharf (East Asian Languages and Cultures, UC Berkeley).
This will be the first of three meetings. The second and third will be in Singapore and Kyoto. In each of the meetings, the members of the project will work with invited experts in the area. The New York meeting is devoted to Daoist texts.
The meetings of the group are not open to the public, but there will be one public session, where those involved in the discussions talk about their views. The public session in New York will be on Thursday May 29th, 4-6pm, in the Segal Theatre.