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International Conferences 2014

 Invitation to an International Conference

Philosophy and Life World

December 15-16, 2014                                  Shanghai, P.R. China




Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS)

(SASS is also coorganizing another conference with ISM at East China Normal University, see link)




Philosophy, according to the common point of view, is supposed to be universal knowledge. This means, on the one hand, that it is knowledge for all, necessary, and hence true; on the other hand, it claims to be the supreme principle for all the other kinds of knowledge. Indeed, philosophy has held a favored position for human beings though it has contained many conflicts. Today, however, philosophy seems not to be as popular as it once was. Many of its areas are occupied by the positive sciences while the rest  as pure speculation seems too far from human life.


However, new problems arise every day in our life, many of which cannot be answered by the positive sciences. For instance, implied in the notion of social progress is the idea of human freedom; is this the same as the fulfillment of human desire? If yes, what is the ultimate purpose of human’s life? If not, is there a reasonable limitation of desire; is it necessary and possible for human beings as a whole to be self-restrained? Such problems, which concern human destiny, cannot be resolved within positive sciences. In a world that is ever more democratic where people are obliged to decide their own future, it is urgent for everyone to have some understanding of the above questions. This understanding, concerning our own selves, is self-awareness of our own life. In terms of traditional philosophy the above problem is called the problem of human nature or of the human essence and is an ancient issue. We would like to renew this problem now that our life is the result of our own choice and people are never satisfied with the way we live. Human beings face more serious challenges than ever before, for example, the threaten of weapons of mass destruction and a worsening environment which urges consideration of escaping from earth to another planet. Thus, human beings create crises as well as happiness and it is time for us to be more self-aware. This surely is a philosophical issue.


To work on the above problems, we need to exam our current life situation; to discuss how life in this planet could be sustained, and this not merely in favor of human beings but also of the whole sphere of life including the earth and human beings. But the traditional philosophy seems unable to solve the above problems; as a way for knowledge about the world it does not touch the above problems at all. Therefore, we should not merely focus on western philosophy, but open more broadly to other philosophies. Chinese philosophy is specially recommended here as it calls people to be the heart of heaven and earth, as Zhang Zai, a Confucian of Soon Dynasty, indicated. To be sure, the Chinese philosophy might not meet the definition of traditional philosophy, but it engages the problems of our life and world, which could be discussed in no other way than by philosophy. Hence, discussion of Chinese philosophy might enrich philosophy.


Philosophers of the world are welcome to join us on the topic “philosophy and life-world.”  Comparisons between the Chinese and the western philosophy will be especially appreciated.



There is no registration fee. Participants will cover their own travel costs. 


The application should include:

1) a vitae that specifies the applicants educational background, professional positions and affiliations, and publications;

2) a letter of intent; and

3) the abstract of the paper


Please send all the information to He Xirong hxr@sass.org.cn, Shi Yongshe syz@sass.org.cn and cua-rvp@cua.edu



He Xirong

Shi Yongshe

Institute of Philosophy

Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences









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