MRI Forum 67

"Some Thoughts on Writing the History of Chinese Thought"

by Torbjörn Lodén

27 June 2012








Press Play to listen (Full length: 50 minutes)

Summary of the Presentation

Professor Lodén will discuss some of the major issues related to writing the history of Chinese thought and philosophy in today’s globalized world. In particular he will focus on three issues: (1) In what sense is the distinction between “history of thought” and “history of philosophy” useful in dealing with the Chinese tradition? (2) Should we always attempt to consider Chinese thought in its historical context or is it also possible to deal with ideas from different periods as transcending their original contexts? (3) To what extent can Western concepts be used to analyse traditional Chinese thought? Finally, he will also briefly discuss the significance of the study of Chinese thought for cross-cultural understanding and, in particular, for the evolution of a global ethic.

Profile of the Speaker

Torbjörn Lodén is professor of Chinese language and culture at Stockholm University, director of the Stockholm Confucius Institute and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities. In 2011–12 he is a visiting professor at City University of Hong Kong. His main scholarly interest is Chinese intellectual history, modern as well as premodern. He has published several books and more than 150 scholarly and popular articles. One of his books deals with Confucianism: Rediscovering Confucianism: A Major Philosophy of Life in East Asia (2006). His most recent book is Kinas vägval: Från himmelskt imperium till modern stormakt (China’s choice of the road ahead: From Heavenly Empire to modern great power; 2012).