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NTU hosts prestigious international conference on the role of Chinese philosophy in a multi-cultural world​​

Published on: 04-Jul-2017


Chinese philosophy is among the oldest schools of thought. But as many of the world’s philosophical traditions interact at an increasing rate, it needs to stay relevant in a rapidly digitised, inter-connected and multi-cultural world.

To help address the key issues facing Chinese philosophy, the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) School of Humanities, the International Society for Chinese Philosophy (ISCP) and the Confucius Institute at NTU will jointly organise the 20th ISCP conference from 4 to 7 July 2017.

Titled “Chinese Philosophy in a Multicultural World”, this year’s conference seeks to explore the position of Chinese philosophy, its contemporary challenges, and how it can more effectively contribute to a more harmonious world.

The four-day conference will be held at the NTU School of Humanities auditorium. It will see 250 presentations and lectures in either English or Mandarin from scholars from 125 institutions across 20 countries, making this edition of the conference the largest in ISCP’s history.

It is the first time that the conference is taking place in South-east Asia, with past editions held in countries such as the United States, China, France and Australia.

The conference will feature internationally renowned experts, such as Vincent Shen, Professor, Lee Chair in Chinese Thought and Culture, University of Toronto; Carine Defoort, Professor of Sinology, University of Leuven; and Robert Neville, Professor of Philosophy, Religion and Theology, Boston University.

Professor Alan Chan, Dean of NTU’s College of the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, said, “Chinese philosophy is important not only because it affords a better understanding of Chinese culture, but also because it can make a significant contribution to global development. The ethical core of Chinese philosophy is especially relevant to a world beset with pressing challenges and potentially debilitating uncertainty.”

“The Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences play an important role at NTU in both education and research.  Working closely with colleagues in Business, Engineering, Medicine and Science, we seek to prepare our students for a world that will have to contend with serious disruptions.

“While future-ready graduates must be nimble and positive in embracing change, they must also have a strong anchor in ethical commitment, cross-cultural sensitivity and mutual respect, and independence of mind – or what the ancient Chinese philosophers refer to as Ren (humanity), Yi (justice and righteousness), Li (propriety), and Zhi (wisdom and discernment).”

Professor Li Chenyang, head of Philosophy at NTU’s School of Humanities, believes the theme would resonate in multi-racial Singapore and hopes the conference will provide insights that would bridge Chinese philosophy and other schools of thought and cultures.

He said, “In the 21st century, cultures that originated on different continents are in close contact and people from various philosophical and religious traditions interact on multiple levels.

“How can Chinese philosophy position and present itself in this multicultural and intercultural world? How can Chinese philosophy interact and communicate more effectively with other traditions? How does Chinese philosophy contribute to the making of a more harmonious and prosperous world? These are some of the questions which the conference seeks to explore.”


NTU a rising star in Chinese philosophy and the humanities

Professor Li, who is also the current President of the ISCP, said the International Conference on Chinese Philosophy is the most influential conference on Chinese philosophy in the world.

He said, “The fact that Singapore is hosting the conference speaks volumes about the importance and relevance that the country has to the international community of Chinese philosophers.”

The Philosophy programme at NTU was launched in 2011. In addition to conventional training in classical philosophy, its distinctive interdisciplinary curriculum allows students to major in a second subject in the humanities or social sciences. It also features courses on innovation and subjects such as the Philosophy of Science and the Philosophy of Technology.

The 20th ISCP International Conference on Chinese Philosophy is supported by the Centre for Liberal Arts and Social Sciences of NTU, the Nanyang Confucian Association, Pei Hwa Foundation and the Modern Confucianism Foundation.



Media contact:
Tan Yo-Hinn (Mr)
Assistant Director
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Tel: +65 6790 4889
M: +65 9695 6018


About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It also has a medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.
NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI). 
Ranked 11th in the world, NTU has also been ranked the world’s top young university for the last three years running. The University’s main campus has been named one of the Top 15 Most Beautiful in the World. NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.
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