The Edwin Cheng Foundation Asian Centre for Phenomenology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and the Department of Philosophy, CUHK, in collaboration with Chung Chi College, CUHK, the Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology, Inc., USA (CARP), Hong Kong Society of Phenomenology, and the Organization of Phenomenological Organizations (OPO), are pleased to announce the Third Meeting of the Organization of Phenomenological Organizations (OPO III) to be held from 15 to 20 December 2008 at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
The III OPO Meeting is dedicated to the commemoration of the centenary of the birth of Professor TANG Chun-I (1909-1978), founding chairman and first Chair Professor of the Department of Philosophy, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Leader of the Contemporary Neo-Confucianist Movement, TANG Chun-I is one of the most important contemporary Chinese philosophers. Being one of the founders of the New Asia College, constituent college of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, TANG Chun-I is the initiator of philosophy education in Hong Kong.
Born in Yibin County, Sichuan Province in the South-West of China, TANG Chun-I came from a local intellectual family. He studied at the Sino-Russian University and Peking University before graduating from Zhongyang University (now Nanjing University) where he began his teaching career. In 1949, he moved to Hong Kong, where he co-founded New Asia College with Qian Mu and Zhang Pijie and soon emerged as a leader in Contemporary Neo-Confucianism. The later strives for the renewal of Chinese Culture in general and the Chinese humanist spirit in particular. In 1953 TANG Chun-I also co-founded the New Asia Research Institute which was one of the leading research institutes in Chinese Humanities in the world at large during the two decades to follow. In 1963, upon the incorporation of New Asia College into the newly formed Chinese University of Hong Kong, TANG Chun-I was appointed Chairman and later Chair Professor of the Department of Philosophy. He retired in 1974 but remained Head of the New Asia Research Institute until his death in 1978. TANG Chun-I has thorough knowledge of the Chinese, Indian and Western philosophical traditions. He was a prolific writer and has written extensively on traditional Chinese philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of education, philosophy of love, principles of democracy, Chinese humanistic religions and comparative studies of Chinese and Western philosophy.
TANG Chun-I's best-known works include Comparative Studies on Chinese and Western Philosophical Thought (Zhong Xi Zhexue Sixiang zhi Bijiao Yanjiu Ji, 1943), Reflections on Life Experiences (Rensheng zhi Tiyan, 2 volumes, 1944-1961), The Spiritual Value of Chinese Culture (Zhongguo Wenhua zhi Jingshen Jiazhi, 1953), Towards the Reconstruction of the Humanist Spirit (Renwen Jingshen zhi Chongjian, 1955), Cultural Consciousness and Moral Reason (Wenhua Yixi yu Daode Lixing, 2 volumes, 1958), Affirmation of the Moral Self (Daode Zhiwuo zhi Jienli, 1963), Treatise on the Origins of Chinese Philosophy (Zhongguo Zhexue Yuanlun, four volumes in six books, 1966-1975), Chinese Humanities and the World Today (Zhonghua Renwen yu Dangjin Shijie, 2 volumes, 1975) and Human Existence and Spiritual Horizons (Shengming Cunzai yu Xinling Jingjie, two volumes, 1977). His Complete Works (Tang Chun-I Quanji, Taipei, 1986-88), comprise 30 volumes, including one volume of English writings.
TANG Chun-I is not a phenomenologist in the strict sense of the term. However, he has been strongly attracted to the existentialist movement in general and to Heidegger's philosophy of existence in particular. He has written a long essay entitled "An Exposition of Heidegger's Existential Philosophy" (Eng. Trans. exists) which was the first substantial and comprehensive introduction to Heidegger's philosophy published in Chinese in the early 1960s and has remained one of the most penetrating treatments of Heidegger's thought from a Chinese perspective during a quarter of a century.
To the wider Chinese intelligentsia, TANG Chun-I's most popular works remains the essay "On the Bewilderment and Uprootedness of the Chinese Nation" (Lun Zhonghua Minzhu zhi Huaguo Piaoling) (1961) as well as the manifesto "Chinese Culture and the World" (Zhongguo Wenhua yu Xijie) (1958). Whereas the 1961 essay is a pathetic lamentation of the downfall of the entire Chinese cultural tradition as a result of the intrusion of Western culture in general and Communism in particular, the 1958 manifesto, co-signed with three other leading Chinese philosophers, is a warning against Western intellectuals' common misconception about Chinese culture and a formulation of some basic guiding principles for the correct understanding of different aspects of the Chinese spiritual life.
In terms of revival of the Chinese philosophical tradition, TANG Chun-I's most important contribution remains his monumental Treatise on the Origins of Chinese Philosophy in which he reconstructs in great details the genealogy of the Chinese conceptions of Dao (logos), Xing (human nature) and Jiao (realization of Dao). TANG's last work, Human Existence and Spiritual Horizons, is his philosophical testament in which he attempts to establish a dialogue among the Chinese, Buddhist and Western philosophical traditions by way of a quasi-hegelian dialectical system. The end result is a very promising hermeneutics of communication of unforeseen intercultural dimensions.
A selection of TANG Chun-I's articles in English translation is under preparation and will be put on this website accordingly.