Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture | seminar

The concept of public interest (gong) in the Chinese philosophy of law and politics

Wednesday 22 September 2021
This is an online event.

The lecture offers an overview of the way the category of public interest ( gōng) was understood over the centuries by Chinese philosophers of law and politics. It is argued that preimperial China witnessed a rivarly between three competing concepts of the public interest, formulated by the Mohists, Legalists, and Confucians. It is then shown how this led to the formation of the ideas of 'public debate' (gonglun) and 'public interest' (gongyi) in medieval China. The lecture proceeds then to the discussions about the political conditions for expressing public opinion in the Ming and Qing times (Huang Zongxi, Gong Zizhen) and introduces the concept of 'public morality' proposed by Liang Qichao. The last part of the talk is focused on contemporary Chinese approaches to the liberal concept of public reason and tries to address the question of what elements of ancient and medieval interpretations of the category of gong are still present in these late modern views.

Link to the talk: https://universiteitleiden.zoom.us/j/68681943946?pwd=cHZxeFdBeERTS1BQT2pTR3dRbHpqZz09

Bio: Dawid Rogacz is Assistant Professor at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (Poland). He is the author of the monograph Chinese Philosophy of History. From Ancient Confucianism to the End of the Eighteenth Century (Bloomsbury 2020) and over a dozen peer-reviewed papers. He is currently co-editing a three-volume set Chinese Philosophy and Its Thinkers: From Ancient Times to the Present Days to be published with Bloomsbury in 2024. His research interests include Chinese philosophy, philosophy of history, and political philosophy.

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