Yu hosts International Society for Chinese Philosophy

Professor Jiyuan Yu hosted the meeting of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy in Buffalo in the summer of 2013. The conference is profiled in the Chronicle of Higher Education article by Carlin Romano.

A variety of internal issues now exert greater force as Chinese philosophy rubs up against Western philosophy in the United States.

Chung-Ying Cheng, at 77 one of the elder statesman of Chinese philosophy in the United States, practically leaps from his hotel-room chair to find a note that relates to the publication he founded 40 years ago at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, the Journal of Chinese Philosophy. He doesn't want anyone to overlook the big anniversary, to be marked in October by a double issue with more than 40 scholars participating. He'll make sure Wiley-Blackwell sends the latest copies, back issues, publicity material, whatever's needed.

The journal and its anniversary are, one might think, just one small part of the bustling world of Chinese philosophy on view all around the Ramada Hotel & Conference Center at the University at Buffalo in late July, where more than a hundred scholars are making a vibrant affair of the 18th conference of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy (ISCP).

But Cheng has a long memory. After all, he founded this organization, too. He remembers how, in the spring of 1965, not long after he took his Ph.D. in philosophy at Harvard, he was the only Chinese philosopher to attend and present a paper at the annual Central Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association.

At the opening ceremony here, Jiyuan Yu, the society's ebullient 49-year-old current president, conference host, and a professor of both ancient Greek and Chinese philosophy at Buffalo, looked out upon the gathering, which included such leading American analytic thinkers as Michael Slote, of the University of Miami, and David Wong, of Duke; top specialists in Chinese philosophy like Bryan Van Norden, of Vassar; and leading scholars from China, Poland, France, Algeria, Australia, Mexico, Nigeria, South Korea, Singapore, and other countries.

As China's hard and soft power soars in almost every other dimension of political, financial, cultural, and media life, Chinese philosophy's presence in American academe is also taking off. "The exponential rise of China as an economic and political force," says Roger T. Ames, one of the top international scholars of Chinese philosophy, and a colleague of Cheng's at Manoa, "certainly means that Chinese culture will have a reach and an influence that it has not had in the past."

Article continues in the Chronicle of Higher Education.