ANU-University of Hawaii Manoa Joint Philosophy Workshop
The ANU School of Philosophy collaborated with the Philosophy Department at the University of Hawai’i Manoa (UHM) to hold a Joint Philosophy Workshop at UHM in Honolulu, Hawai’i, held from 10 to 13 April 2023. Five ANU faculty and three graduate students travelled to Honolulu to showcase rigorous approaches to global philosophy in a two-day workshop and one day cultural event coordinated by ANU Philosophy Faculty, Bronwyn Finnigan, together with UHM Philosophy Faculty Masato Ishida, Sean Smith, and George Tsai.
The workshop integrated early career research, collaborations between graduate students and faculty, and work in progress by senior professors creating a stimulating event that was marked by both high philosophical engagement and friendly warmth. UHM has a global reputation for excellence in comparative east-west philosophy. Many of the topics in the workshop either adopted this philosophical approach or engaged philosophical issues from a global perspective. Topics included the moral psychologies of trustworthiness, forgiveness, and gratitude, from Western and Confucian perspectives; the nature of Dharmakirtian inference; Xunxi’s conception of the human condition; a Buddhist version of Pascal’s wager; the distinction between pain and suffering, some problems with the concept of ying yang, and how to measure national well-being in a multicultural society, amongst many others.
UHM were exceptional hosts: The group was officially welcomed by Dean Arnade of the UH College of Arts, Language and Letters, and attended a friendly opening reception that was organised by members of the UHM graduate community who took excellent care of the ANU graduate students, making everyone feel extremely welcome, and put a great deal of effort into scheduling and planning. The event had great spirit. There was a sense of generosity and good spirit in the discussions, but also rigor and clear objections.
The graduate student contributions were a standout; their presentations and engagement in the Q&A were of high quality and a real asset to the event. Masato Ishida from UHM later described the event as an amazing success that showed great potential for future collaboration. “It's easy to say it went so well,” he added, “much harder to achieve this level of intense - and fun - exchange and collegiality, both academically and as friends.”