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Spring 2024 Colloquium: Hannah Kim - Co-Hosted by Philosophy and EALC East Asian Languages and Civilizations

Friday, February 16, 2024 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Cohen Call Room 402

Please join us on Friday, February 16th for a joint Philosophy Department / East Asian Languages & Civilizations Department Colloquium with Professor Hannah Kim.
The event will start at 3pm in room 402 of Cohen Hall, with a reception to follow.

A Jointly Hosted Colloquium by
Penn Philosophy and East Asian Languages & Civilizations:

Professor Hannah Kim
Aspiration, Ambition, and Confucian Debates on Human Nature
Friday, February 16th • 3 PM – 5 PM 
Cohen Hall Room 402

Reception to follow in the Philosophy Lounge

Abstract: A standard introduction to classical Confucianism teaches that Mengzi thought “human nature is good” and Xunzi, that “human nature is bad”. But the exact nature of their disagreement is subject to ongoing debate, with some underplaying the disagreement (they just mean different things by “human nature”) while others take the disagreement to be about the nature of agency, moral education, or dispositions. In this talk, I’ll argue that Agnes Callard’s distinction between ambition and aspiration helps us clarify what the disagreement is about. Mengzi thought humans need to fully pursue the values they already have, while Xunzi thought humans need to aspire towards values they don’t have and aren’t predisposed to. This account has the benefit of capturing Mengzi's and Xunzi’s respective views on agency and education and providing Xunzi with a picture of moral motivation that even a selfish agent could develop. 


Bio: Hannah Kim is an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona. She received her PhD in Philosophy and PhD minor in Comparative Literature from Stanford University. She works on aesthetics, metaphysics, and Asian philosophy, with particular interests in fiction, poetry, music, time, Confucianism, and Juche.

Click here for Dr. Hannah Kim's Website

View this event listed on the EALC website