Crafting Character: East and West

Lecture with Prof. Phillip Ivanhoe
Wed, 22 February, 2023 11:00am - 12:30pm
Crafting Character graphic

This lecture compares and contrasts Chinese and Western philosophy on self-cultivation. Many early Greek and Roman philosophers and early Chinese philosophers agree that there is such a thing as human nature and that the good life for creatures like us has to be understood in terms of the possibilities and limitations our nature poses for us. These two traditions offer a plausible and appealing basic approach and scheme to ethics, which roughly is: how do we understand first nature and how can we shape or transform first nature into a second nature that enables the best kind of lives for creatures like us? This talk will focus on early Chinese works that employ such an approach. It will compare the Chinese approach to key feature of early Western virtue ethics and draw upon contemporary research in empirical and evolutionary psychology and cognitive neuroscience for support. 

This event is free and open to the GW community only. RSVP's are required to attend.

Light hors d'oeuvres will be served starting at 10:30am (ET).

Please direct any questions to [email protected].

Speaker Bio and Featured Works

Phillip Ivanhoe profile

Philip J. Ivanhoe (艾文賀) was born January 17, 1954) and was raised in New Jersey by parents who owned a variety of small businesses, including a butcher shop, where he worked until leaving for college. He attended Stanford University on a partial scholarship, where he earned a B.A. (1976) in Philosophy, and also studied the Chinese language. From 1976 to 1978, Ivanhoe stayed on at Stanford for two more years and worked at the Institute for Mathematical Studies in the Social Sciences. From 1974 to 1978, he served in the United States Marine Corps, PLC and was honorably discharged at the rank of sergeant. From 1978 to 1982, he served in the U. S. Army. He left the army at the rank of sergeant, with an honorable discharge. Ivanhoe was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, and three citations for meritorious service. He returned to Stanford to pursue his doctorate in Religious Studies (awarded 1987), also completing the requirements for a minor in Asian Languages. His featured publications are included below.

This lecture is sponsored by the following:

  • GW Center for Chinese Arts and Humanities
  • GW Department of Philosophy
  • GW Department of Religion
  • GW Mind-Brain Institute
GW Textile Museum 701 21st St NW Washington DC 20052
Room: Myer's Room

Open to students, faculty, staff, alumni.

Event Hashtags
#philosophy #religion #confucian #cognitivescience

CCAS Global Initiatives
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