Humanity and Nature in Chinese Thought | University of Hong Kong on edX


CHAD HANSEN: Hello. I’m Chad Hansen. I’m the chair professor of
Chinese philosophy emeritus at the University of Hong Kong. And I’m speaking to you from Hong Kong. And we in Hong Kong like to
think of this as a kind of pivot between East and West. And we’re going to be
presenting a course to you on Chinese philosophy that
focuses on the concept of Dao. And this is a concept
that we kind of like to think of as the inspiration for
the Star Wars idea of the guide that Luke focuses on when he goes
to target Darth Vader’s Death Star. Use the Force– so follow the Dao,
and it will take you to your target. Han Solo treats all of
this talk about the Force as an ancient, old, weird religion. But we’ll see that it’s
not really religious, but it lies on the boundary
between religion and philosophy. It’s a natural scheme
of nature’s guidance– guidance that does not depend
on a supernatural force but that we just discover in nature. Practical impact of knowing Dao
is knowing how to do things– knowing how to follow
nature’s guiding paths. We will talk about the
philosopher Mencius and his theory about the ether– the flood-like ether that fills
the whole universe and all of you so that you can feel the Force and
feel the perturbations in the Force. We will talk about Zhuangzi’s “axis
of daos” where everything is possible. We’ll talk about Shen
Dao’s “Great Tao”– the space-time history of everything
from the beginning of time to the end of time. We’ll talk about Laozi’s Dao
De Jing, the most translated of all the texts in Chinese
thought into Western languages. Our survey focuses on
100 schools of thought. We’ll start with Confucius,
because he is the first. And then we’ll talk about
his great rival Mozi. Mozi is a very interesting
character that you may never have heard of unless you were
watching Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos, where he was featured as one of the
forerunners of the theory of light. But he’s also a very interesting
forerunner in ethics and in politics. His ethical theories
and political theories, if we look for a
counterpart in the West, we have to jump up almost
2,000 years to find counterparts that are all close to what
Mozi advocated in the fourth century BCE. So we’re going to explore all
of these and many more ideas from this classical period. And we invite you to join us for
this philosophically motivated course studying ancient Chinese metaethics. We’re studying the roles
of humanity and nature in Chinese teachings about ethical
guidance and about morality. If you’re interested, please
join us at the edX website. Look for HKU03x to find this course. If you want to join us
in the next segment, we will be talking about
the texts and the content and the focus of the course. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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