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Our Goal

With this Curriculum, we hope to build an educational network connecting teachers and students of Chinese philosophy as well as philosophy departments and institutions in Chinese-speaking academia. This network is necessary for connecting Chinese philosophy in Europe and Chinese philosophy in China. For us, the conceptual starting point of this cooperation is the awareness that Chinese philosophy in Europe is necessarily different from Chinese philosophy in China. What Chinese philosophy is and can emerge in an open and multi-layered dynamic of interpretation and discussion. 

Moreover, when we speak of "Chinese philosophy", we do not only include Chinese philosophy in the historical and regional sense of philosophy developed in China (zhōngguó zhéxué/中國哲學) but also modern and contemporary Chinese philosophy, which has largely incorporated and transformed Western philosophy within the Chinese language. In Chinese-speaking academia, this broader meaning of "Chinese philosophy" is now often called hànyǔ zhéxué/漢語哲學, which can be translated as Chinese-language philosophy, Sino-grammatical philosophy (emphasizing the specificity of the Chinese written language), or simply Sino-philosophy. This second meaning of Chinese philosophy thus also refers to the historical development of Chinese characters and writing from antiquity to the present, including Chinese translations and interpretations of philosophical texts originally written in foreign languages. This double meaning of "Chinese philosophy" has far-reaching consequences for the teaching and study of Chinese philosophy in Europe.

The European reception of "Chinese philosophy" has long focused on ancient and classical Chinese texts. We are convinced that today this perspective needs to be complemented by greater attention to Chinese philosophy in the second sense because this has simply become an important condition for entering into conversations and encounters between contemporary scholars and students in China and in Europe. It is a great challenge for European scholars and students to teach and study classical Chinese philosophy. To further connect with modern and contemporary developments in Chinese philosophy is even more challenging, as we must also consider the study of its interpretations and transformations under the dynamic conditions of China’s hybrid modernization. Therefore, methods and perspectives of teaching Chinese philosophy in European classrooms need to reflect on how to connect classical and modern Chinese philosophy in innovative and convincing ways.