15 July 2016
What Makes Us Human? Philosophical and Religious Perspectives in China and the West
Explicitly or implicitly, the question of what makes us human has been a central and ongoing preoccupation among thinkers from antiquity to the present, and in intellectual traditions vastly removed from one another in time and space. That the question seems to be a fixture in the human imagination speaks not only to our need for self-understanding in the context of a broader world, but also to its relevance to issues of practical concern: how one conceptualizes the human has deep normative implications, grounding different moral systems, hierarchies of values, configurations of power and patterns of social interaction. That it has been answered in such diverse ways highlights the great stakes involved in this ongoing conversation.
This course examines the complex and varied trajectory of how thinkers, in China and Europe, have sought to make sense of their humanness. Bringing together specialists in the philosophical and religious traditions of both civilizations, it focuses particularly on the early history of thinking about the human as approached through a diverse range of sources, from ethical and cosmological writings to medical treatises and case studies, to religious and literary texts (such as ancient tragedy). The goal of the course is to explore linkages among the various realms of thought and experience represented by these diverse genres: thus, how emergent conceptions of the cosmos, the spiritual world, and the workings of nature might have shaped the understanding of the human, and conversely, how thinking about what makes humans distinct (for instance, certain cognitive, ethical, creative, spiritual capacities) confronts the place of humans in the world at large. The latter part of the course will focus on later developments in medieval Christian theology and in Renaissance humanism. We will conclude with reflections on the contemporary relevance of the human as a category, and on what examination of past ways of thinking about the human bears upon issues of pressing concern in the present.
Chris Fraser, Department of Philosophy, School of Humanities, University of Hong Kong
Donald Harper, East Asian Languages & Civilizations, University of Chicago, USA
Brooke Holmes, Department of Classics, Princeton University, USA
Maria Kronfeldner, Department of Philosophy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Matthias Riedl, Department of History, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Curie Virág, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto, Canada
Gábor Betegh, Faculty of Classicks, Christ’s College, Cambridge University, UK
We invite applications from doctoral students, junior faculty and post-doctoral researchers working in relevant fields of either (or both) the Chinese or European intellectual traditions, such as: Philosophy, Intellectual history, Religion, History and Philosophy of Science, and Literature. Advanced M.A. students with a strong background in working with primary sources, and with research experience in topics relevant to the course, will also be considered
Advanced graduate training in the reading and analysis of some of the source materials studied in the course, as well as an active interest in the subject matter of the course. Students should come into the course with a substantial paper on a topic related to the course, which they will present during the student workshop sessions.
The goal of the course is to explore linkages
among the various realms of thought and experience represented by these diverse genres: thus, how emergent conceptions of the
cosmos, the spiritual world, and the workings of nature might have shaped the understanding of the human, and conversely, how thinking
about what makes humans distinct (for instance, certain cognitive, ethical, creative, spiritual capacities) confronts the place of humans in
the world at large.
Our courses offer ECTS points, which may be accepted for credit transfer by the participants' home universities. Those who wish to obtain these credits should inquire about the possible transfer at their home institution prior to their enrollment.
EUR 550: payable until May 28, 2016
EUR 500: The early bird fee option is available until April 30, 2016
Financial aid is available in the following categories:
• tuition waiver
• accommodation grant
• travel grant (full or partial)
To read more: http://summeruniversity.ceu.edu/sites/default/files/course_files/application_files/Fin%20info%20-%202%20wee