James & David Orr Memorial Lecture on Culture & Religion at Dartmouth

Dartmouth Events

James & David Orr Memorial Lecture on Culture & Religion at Dartmouth

Edward Slinglerland (British Columbia). "Mind, Body, and the Myth of Holism in Early China." Free and open to all. Reception follows.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Moore B03
Intended Audience(s): Public
Categories: Lectures & Seminars

Abstract: It is commonly claimed that mind-body dualism is entirely foreign to China—or “the East” more generally. This talk will draw on a wide variety of evidence to debunk this Orientalist myth of holism, including archeological findings, traditional close reading of texts, novel large-scale textual analysis techniques, and work in contemporary evolutionary anthropology and cognitive science. Embracing an embodied view of human cognition gets us beyond strong social constructivism and its accompanying cultural essentialism, giving us a better way of studying cultures and allowing us to more accurately and rigorously assess claims about the philosophical and religious historical record. The talk will conclude by considering how early Chinese views of mind-body relations do, in fact, differ from some modern Western conceptions, and how they might help us get a better grasp on issues such as moral reasoning or education.

Edward Slingerland is Distinguished University Scholar at the University of British Columbia, where he is also Professor of Asian Studies and associate member of the Departments of Philosophy and Psychology. His research specialties include Warring States (5th-3rd c. B.C.E.) Chinese thought, religious studies (comparative religion, cognitive science and evolution of religion), cognitive linguistics (blending and conceptual metaphor theory), ethics (virtue ethics, moral psychology), evolutionary psychology, the relationship between the humanities and the natural sciences, and the classical Chinese language. His most recent academic monograph, Mind and Body in Early China: Beyond Orientalism and the Myth of Holism, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in December 2018. His current book project is a trade book with the working title, Drunk: Intoxication, Ecstasy and the Origins of Civilization, under contract at Little, Brown (Spark), and slated for publication in Spring 2019. His first trade book, Trying Not to Try: Ancient China, Modern Science and the Power of Spontaneity was released by Crown (Random House) in March 2014, and has been translated into five languages. You can watch his TED talk, Trying Not to Try: The Power of Spontaneity, here: https://youtu.be/GIdrptTwzQY

The James and David Orr Memorial Lectures on Culture and Religion bring to Dartmouth each year scholars and writers whose achievements are at the highest level, but whose main fields of interest are not necessarily religion. Past Orr Lecturers include historians, anthropologists, novelists, biologists, and philosophers.



For more information, contact:
Marcia Welsh
(603) 646-3738

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.