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[Beijing Forum 2015] Panel IV-- Beauty through Each Other’s Eyes (Session 4)

NOV . 11 2015
Peking University,Nov 9, 2015: On the morning of November 8, the Panel “Beauty through Each Other’s Eyes: Retrospection and Outlook on the Exchanges and Mutual Learning Among Civilizations” of Beijing Forum 2015 continued its third day session in Meeting Room No. 2 at Yingjie Exchange Center, Peking University. The session consisted of five reflective speeches delivered by scholars from the world and a 45-minute discussion. The focus of this session is “Academic Reflection on the Exchanges and Mutual Learning Among Civilizations”.

Mr. James Robinson of Harvard University, first presented his paper, which entitled “Distorted Reflections: Cultural Exchange and Mutual-misunderstanding in the Western Appropriation and Translation of the Daodejing.” With detailed examples, he enumerated many different translations of Daodejing to show the fact that under normal conditions people from different countries would tend to interpret Daodejing in their own specific social and cultural context. As a result, mutual-misunderstanding in the Western appropriation and translation of the text occurred.

Professor Robin Wang, Professor of Philosophy from Loyola Marymount University, shared her essay “Beauty at Play: Dao and Feminist Thought.” By analyzing classical Chinese texts concerning feminist thought, Ms. Wang put forward a statement “Dao becomes female” and further explained it from a three perspectives: first, female and femininity as a cosmic force; second, femininity as a way to know Dao; third, femininity is a strategy for leading a flourishing life. Then she discussed some critiques of femininity in Daodejing as well as the problem of Daoist female consciousness.

Ms. Livia Kohn, from Boston University, demonstrated her paper “Integrity and Sufficiency: Daoist Values for a Better World.” In her speech, she first touched upon the individual uniqueness with vivid examples. Then she placed human beings in the cosmos and compared the world to a symphony where each individual played its part and combined together. At last, she elaborated the concept of “sufficiency (zhizu 知足)” as integrity.

PKU professor Cheng Lesong, gave a presentation named “The Semantic Dilemma of Terminology in the Cross-cultural Academic Discussion: A Case Study on Religious Studies in Chinese.” He argued that concept, notion and definition as the starting-point and goal for academic analysis and narration called for methodological and theoretical reflection. Besides the definition: semantic dilemma of terminology, there also existed challenges of academic narration in cross-cultural context.

Mr. Song Key-young, from Korea University, was the last scholar to present his paper, “From Modernity to Harmonity: The Crisis of Western Hegemony, the ‘Rise of the Rest’, and Civilizations in Transition.” He proposed that we were all witnesses to the decline of Modernity and the rise of Harmonity. “Harmonity,” in his definition meant “harmony with difference.” Then Prof. Song expressed his confidence in the advent of harmonity here and today.

During the session of questions and answers, the participants switched and shared their opinions on studies on cross-cultural translation and the outlook of mutual learning among human civilizations.

Reported by: Wang Qian
Edited by: Li Ruiqi