About RVP Regional Network Publications Annual Seminars International Conferences Board Members Associate Membership Newsletters Support Contact
RVP International Conferences


Invitation to an International Conference

The Role of Philosophy in the Development of China’s Northwest




Xian Jiaotong University

Xian, P.R. China

July 5, 2009



Development is a process of change. But as change could be either for the better or for the worse, the task of humans as responsible for their world is to orient change along positive paths that perfect and improve the status of nature and of humanity itself. If not all that is technically possible is an improvement, it become necessary to add to other human capabilities a process of understanding human nature and action so that the immense human effort, now broadly integrated across civilizations, will be positive and constructive.


This evaluative task is extensive as it touches upon every aspect of the changing world. It is itself multilayered, reaching from mere utilitarian and self-centered advantage to an increasingly deeper sense of the human person, to a broader and more inclusive range of social reality, and to the natural world in which we live and which we shape. 


One approach is to consider or reconsider this in terms of the classical four causes: efficient, formal, material and final. Unfortunately, some of these dimensions have been omitted in the modern effort to achieve clarity and hence control of one’s destiny. This leaves one without the insight into the quality of life which can be achieved through knowledge of one’s origin or goals. Hence, an integral effort should consider all four causes:


- efficient cause whereby such characteristics of the source as the Hindu notions of existence (sat), consciousness (cit) and bliss (ananda) or in other cultures unity, truth and the good,  -- can indicate essential characteristics of the nature of reality and of realization;

- formal cause which specifies the nature of things and makes it possible to discriminate what is ultimately enhancing from what is basically destructive;

- material cause that allows one to take account of the resources which have been the basis of so many wars and to do so in ways that are progressive rather than destructive; and

- final cause or goal and purpose of the great efforts of humanity as these take on greater global breadth and cohesion.


The aim here is to consider these issues not everywhere and hence nowhere, but to do so in Xian, the ancient capital of China. This means taking account of the ancient Chinese civilization and the present physical and social situation of the region. Together these constitute the multiple cultures and their overall civilization which are perhaps the most determinative factors in deciding what will be progressive and hence truly developmental for the region.



Li Jianqun

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Xi’an Jiaotong University

Xi'an, Shaanxi, P.R. China













(all the materials on this website are copyrighted © by the council for research in values and philosophy)

Gibbons Hall B-20, 620 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC, 20064; Telephone: 202/319-6089; Email: cua-rvp@cua.edu; Website: www.crvp.org