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UB Confucius Institute Sponsors Lecture by President of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy

On Thursday, April 28, the University at Buffalo Confucius Institute presented a talk in its Distinguished Lecture Series by Professor Chenyang Li, professor and founding director of the Philosophy Program at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Professor Li spoke about the Confucian concept of xiao (孝), which has generally been translated into English as “filial piety.” Professor Li argued that the term should best be translated as “filial love,” because it describes and prescribes the kind of love people ought to practice directly toward their parents and, by extension, toward family members of older generations.

Virtuous people, said Li, should respect and assist their parents out of filial love. They should not need obligation to compel them to act in a filial way. Only when love is not strong enough does xiao become more like an obligation to serve parents.

Professor Li’s research interests include Chinese philosophy and comparative philosophy. Among his publication are The Confucian Philosophy of Harmony (2013), The Tao Encounters the West: Explorations in Comparative Philosophy (1999), The Sage and the Second Sex: Confucianism, Ethics, and Gender (ed. 2000), The East Asian Challenge for Democracy: Political Meritocracy in Comparative Perspective (co-ed. With Daniel A. Bell, 2013), and Moral Cultivation and Confucian Character (co-ed with Peimin Ni), and more than 100 journal articles and book chapters.

Professor Li was elected president of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy in 2015. In 2015-16, he was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. From 1999-2010, he served as professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy at Central Washington University.