Philosophy Making the World True, Good and Beautiful: For the Opening of the 22nd International Conference of ISCP (by Prof. Qian Xuhong)


Dear Mr. Cheng Zhongying, Prof. Chen Lai, Prof. Kwong-loi Shun, Kayrn Lai, Prof. Ann A. Pang-White, Prof. Yang Guorong, ISCP colleagues, experts and scholars in the philosophical field, and fellow students,

  Hello to everyone online!

  In the world the virtual and the real give birth to each other, and misfortune and fortune depend on each other. Due to the impact of uncertain factors such as the epidemic, the preparatory work for the 22nd International Conference of ISCP has experienced twists and turns. Until today this conference is held online after it was postponed several times. It is a great pity to miss the joy of meeting face-to-face with international colleagues to learn about their research. However, on the other hand, with the help of network virtualization technology, we can meet in the cloud even though we are separated and in different parts of the world. More than 620 scholars from more than 30 countries and regions will hold more than 120 academic seminars, which will be the largest ISCP conference since its establishment in 1975. Here, on behalf of East China Normal University, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all the experts and colleagues! I would like to express my respect to my colleagues in Chinese philosophy all over the world! I would also like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to my colleagues around the world who have long cared about and supported the development of the philosophical cause of ECNU! I believe that the convening of this conference will surely promote innovative development and creative transformation of Chinese philosophy, and push people to pay attention to the world significance and contemporary value of Chinese philosophy.

  The theme of this International Conference of ISCP is “Chinese Philosophy from the Perspective of World Philosophy.” This theme reflects today’s zeitgeist well. In 2019, Professor Yang Guorong proposed this theme in Berne, Switzerland. At that time, international communication was still quite smooth and our global village was thriving. However, in just a few short years, the situation changed suddenly, the epidemic spread, globalization reversed, war broke out again, and the world situation was instantly grim. Against such a background, our advocacy of the concept of “world philosophy” undoubtedly requires greater courage, more in-depth thinking, and at the same time, it will show a more positive meaning. As participants in the world, our thinking about the world must also enter the world itself, affecting its development and evolution. Our thinking about world philosophy is itself an indispensable element for the formation of world philosophy.

  Since June 1, in order to welcome the convening of this International Conference of ISCP, we have held 14 lectures by famous philosophers around the world. Many of them have contributed outstanding insights on issues such as Chinese philosophy, world philosophy, and the relationship between Chinese philosophy and world philosophy. Professor Yang Guorong mentioned in the opening lecture that the convergence of China and the West is the basic feature of our era. The intellectual achievements accumulated by Chinese philosophy can provide constructive theoretical resources for the further development of world philosophy, and it will also gradually demonstrate its significance for the world in the process. I wholeheartedly agree with this. China has a profound philosophical tradition, like Laozi and Confucius, whose wisdom does not only belong to ancient times and pre-modern times, but also to the present and the future. The solution to today’s human predicament must ultimately return to the origin, because the origin contains infinite possibilities for new developments such as rethinking and process re-engineering. Chinese philosophy does not only belong to China. Our colleagues in the conference are doing Chinese philosophy all over the world, and expounding the significance of Chinese philosophy to the new development of our contemporary human civilization as a whole, which has actually turned Chinese philosophy into a world philosophy.

  In recent years, East China Normal University has vigorously promoted the digital humanities project on the Laozi, and has gathered forces from different disciplines such as philosophy, computer science, communication, library and information science, and launched an interdisciplinary project entitled “Laozi Theory in a Global Historical Perspective: An Analysis based on Big Data.” This project aims to draw a road map of the spread of the Laozi’s theory around the world over the past 2,500 years, who it involves, how it is expressed in different countries, and how it affects society (including technology and humanities) in order to explore the best path for the China’s contributions to move towards the world. The project also pays special attention to the relationship between technology and the humanities and philosophy. The development of artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, synthetic biology, and other disciplines tells us that an era of great material abundance may come, and a superhuman revolution may occur. In this process, the need to prevent the alienation of man-made objects and the alienation of human beings has become more and more urgent. In order for human beings to become a cosmic species that transcends their own limitations, the limitations of the earth, and who can possess infinite care, different philosophical traditions, including Chinese philosophy, need to join hands to think together and put forward unprecedented new insights and new theories on new situations and new problems that have never been seen before. Reflecting on human beings and their position in the universe in the era of highly developed science and technology, we must not only “establish a mind for heaven and earth,” but also keep in mind that “the sage has no mind, for the mind of the people is their mind.” These are the principles of philosophy in our sacred mission for this age.

  Scholars are engaged in Chinese philosophy around the world, not only because it is “Chinese,” but also because it is “philosophy,” because it has experienced thousands of years of ups and downs, and has witnessed many periods of demise and growth, decline and glory, has survived to the present day without interruption, and will continue to contribute wisdom to the future civilization of mankind. Scholars who are engaged in world philosophy all over the world are not only for philosophy, but also for the world. In this turbulent world of greed and war, we still have reasons to believe that the clash of civilizations is the domineering of people who want to do evil, and the interaction of civilizations through exchange and mutual learning is the benevolence of human beings. Gathering is a mass of fire, scattered is a sky full of stars. I wish this International Conference of ISCP success! May the world become a better place with our joint efforts!

  Thank you all!

( Translated by Daniel Sarafinas )

Source: Department of Philosophy

Editor: Cui Jizhen


East China Normal University