Dr. May Sim, an associate professor of philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross, will present two lectures on Aristotle and Confucius this week.
The first, “What Can Confucians Learn from Aristotle? Knowledge and Happiness in Aristotle and Confucius,” will be given at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 21. The second, “What Can Aristotelians Learn from Neo-Confucianism? From Metaphysics to Environmental Ethics: Aristotle or Zhu Xi?” will be given at noon Thursday, April 22. Both lectures will be in the O'Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium. The lectures are sponsored by the Department of Philosophy.
Sim received her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. Her most recent book, Remastering Morals with Aristotle and Confucius, Cambridge University Press (2007), is a comparison of the ethical life in Aristotle and Confucius. She was president of the Southwestern Philosophical Society (2006) and is the director of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy.
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“What Can Confucians Learn from Aristotle? Knowledge and Happiness in Aristotle and Confucius”
Wednesday, April 21, 7:30 p.m., OEC auditorium
This lecture will explore the significance of knowledge for happiness (well-being) in Aristotle and Confucius. Virtue contributes to human flourishing in Aristotle and Confucius for it enables one to order well one’s life, do what is right in relation to others, while having the right emotions, appetites, desires and pleasures. Asking questions about the proper objects of knowledge, how one acquires them and if knowledge is affected by others’ recognition, Sim will argue that an Aristotelian account is superior and that, consequently, Aristotle can offer Confucians the resources for a better account of knowledge and happiness.
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“What Can Aristotelians Learn from Neo-Confucianism? From Metaphysics to Environmental Ethics: Aristotle or Zhu Xi?”
Thursday, April 22, noon, OEC auditorium
In this lecture, Sim will compare Aristotle’s more discrete approach to metaphysics and our environment (including our relation to it) with the more continuous approach to metaphysics and our surrounding world the Neo-Confucian, Zhu Xi, endorses. Her comparative analysis between these two thinkers will argue that Zhu Xi’s more continuous approach to our knowledge of first principles and our surrounding world could be a resource for a friendlier account of ecology, engendering a better relationship between human beings and the environment. This lesson about our relation to the environment is one that the Aristotelians can learn from Zhu Xi.