Club Lunch: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Dao: Ancient Chinese Thought in Modern American Life

Speaker: Professor Sam Crane
Head, Political Science Department, Williams College

THURSDAY, JANUARY 23, 2014
12:45PM – LUNCH
1:15PM – ADDRESS
1st FLOOR

Topic:  Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Dao: Ancient Chinese Thought in Modern American Life

How would Confucius react to same sex marriage in the United States? Can Zhuangzi contribute to the debate on abortion? Of course the ancient philosophers are not here to instruct us, but we can use key concepts from the venerable thinkers to develop uniquely Confucian and Daoist understandings of a variety of contemporary social and ethical issues. Or so argues Sam Crane, author of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Dao: Ancient Chinese Thought in Modern American Life. He will talk about how and why ancient strands of Confucianism and Daoism can be relevant to Americans today.

Sam Crane currently teaches Chinese politics and ancient Chinese philosophy at Williams College in the U.S. He completed his Ph.D. in political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1986 and has taught at Georgetown University and The Hopkins-Nanjing Center. His 2002 book, Aidan's Way, drew on Daoism to reflect upon the life of his profoundly disabled son. Since then, Crane has read more widely in classical Chinese thought to produce his most recent book on life and liberty, which takes concepts from pre-Qin Confucian and Daoist texts and applies them to contemporary American social and ethical issues.

MP3 sound file

1) Video excerpt

2) Full version

© 2014 The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong. All rights reserved.

Date: 
Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 12:45