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April 13, 2022

Cosmopolitanism: An Invitation for Confucian-Catholic Dialogue

An event of the China Forum for Civilizational Dialogue, a partnership between Georgetown University and La Civiltà Cattolica

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The concept of cosmopolitanism, championed by philosophers East and West, ancient as well as modern, is newly relevant in a world deeply divided along national, ideological, ethnic, and other lines. The China Forum for Civilizational Dialogue convened a panel of experts to address three key questions: What, if any, sense of cosmopolitanism finds resonance and support in both Chinese and Western cultures, and in particular the Jesuit tradition? Is such a conception thick and substantial, for example involving claims about universal human rights? Or is it thin and open-ended—centered on the importance of local practice and belief and a principled commitment to pluralism? How might different conceptions of cosmopolitanism contribute to dialogue and encounter in a divided world?

Introductions

Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J., is the editor in chief of the Jesuits' biweekly review, La Civiltà Cattolica. Since entering the Society of Jesus in 1988, he has worked in a variety of capacities, including joining the review's community in 1998.

Thomas Banchoff is vice president for global engagement, professor in the Department of Government and the Walsh School of Foreign Service, and director of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University. His scholarship centers on ethical and religious issues in world politics.

Participants

Antoni Ucerler

M. Antoni J. Ucerler S.J.

M. Antoni J. Ucerler, S.J., is director and provost's fellow at the Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History at Boston College. His main research and teaching interests include topics in Japanese samurai history, the era of European maritime empires and expansion into Asia (fifteenth to eighteenth centuries), and the history of Christianity in Japan and China.

Sun Xiangchen

Sun Xiangchen

Sun Xiangchen is a professor and dean in the School of Philosophy at Fudan University, Shanghai. His fields of study include early modern philosophy, enlightenment philosophy, political philosophy, Jewish-Christian philosophy, phenomenology, and comparative philosophy.

May Sim

May Sim

May Sim is a professor and director of the Asian Studies Program at the College of the Holy Cross. Her focus is in ancient philosophy (Plato and Aristotle), Asian philosophy (Confucianism and Daoism), ethics, metaphysics, and human rights.

Philip J. Ivanhoe

Philip J. Ivanhoe

Philip J. Ivanhoe (moderator) is a professor and department chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Georgetown University. He is an historian of Chinese thought, particularly Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism.