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Department of Philosophy

Seminar

 By

Professor Peimin Ni

Grand Valley State University

 

"Moral and Philosophical Implications

of Chinese Calligraphy"

(in English)

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Date : 6 March 2006 (Monday)
Time : 4:30 V 6:00 pm
Venue : GE101

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Abstract

The highest aim of the Chinese aesthetic spirit and the highest aim of Chinese philosophical traditions are the same: to achieve a state of freedom in which the subject enjoys a unity with the Dao, and participate with the Dao in artistic creation. The paper uses rich illustrations to show how Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism can be embodied in the practice of calligraphy, and through this, to show how traditionally Chinese used calligraphy as a means for moral and philosophical education and cultivation. It further introduces several views on the relationship between moral qualities and aesthetic value of calligraphic work. The paper ends with outlining four dimensions in which philosophy and calligraphy can be related: 1. Words/sentences themselves express moral and philosophical concepts or propositions. 2. Characteristic of styles and strokes are used as illustrations of moral characters and ideals. 3. Practice of calligraphy is used as a way of moral and philosophical education and cultivation. 4. Graphic images of calligraphy are used to convey meanings of philosophical insights that are entailed in the written words. Except the first one, in which calligraphy is extrinsic to the moral and philosophical meanings of the words, all the other three dimensions involve calligraphy as an intrinsic component of moral and philosophical discourse or practice.

Professor Peimin Ni

Professor Peimin Ni received B. A. and M. A. from Fudan University and Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. He is currently Professor of Philosophy and Coordinator of East Asian Studies at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, U.S.A. His publications include On Confucius, On Reid, Wandering--Brush and Pen in Philosophical Reflection, and numerous journal articles and book chapters. Ni's philosophical interests include Chinese and comparative philosophy, metaphysics of causation, and history of Modern Western philosophy. Ni is a former President of the Association of Chinese Philosophers in America, and is the editor-in-chief of the ACPA book series on Chinese and Comparative Philosophy.

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All are welcome
For enquiries, please call 2616 7488 or e-mail to dphilo@ln.edu.hk