Fall 2019 Colloquium Series - 1 October

October 01, 2019

Kai-chiu Ng, The Chinese University of Hong Kong :: Reassessing Zhu Xi’s Gewu  格物: Its Nature, Aim, and Philosophical Implications
Tuesday, October 1 2019

Abstract: This talk criticizes my previous interpretation of ZHU Xi’s 朱熹 (a 12th-century Chinese Confucian philosopher) theory of gewu 格物 (literally “to reach things”, a practice Zhu emphasizes for self-cultivation) for its two unexamined interrelated assumptions. Along with this criticism comes my new understanding of his gewu – getting a handle on things (mainly through embodied cognition) – and li 理 – the meanings of things. Based on the clarification of these two crucial notions, I will then analyze the philosophical implications of the reinterpreted theory of gewu, so as to pave the way for further discussions, especially for my second monograph on ZHU Xi that aims at theoretically developing his philosophy. This twofold analysis will discuss the conception of good life implied by Zhu’s theory, as well as its view on the relationship between humans and things.

About the speaker: Ng, Kai-chiu 吳啟超 is a senior lecturer of the Department of Philosophy at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. His main research interest lies in Confucianism, especially ZHU Xi’s philosophy. He is the author of ZHU Xi’s Theory of Self-Cultivation of Probing Principle (in Chinese, 2017) and the main editor of Dao Companion to ZHU Xi’s Philosophy (co-edited with Yong Huang, forthcoming in 2019).

This is a joint colloquium held with the Department of Humanities in Halpern 114.


Talks are held at the Burnaby Campus in room WMC 3510 from 3:30 - 5:00 p.m., unless otherwise indicated. They are free and open to the public.

Current Colloquium Series

Details of Past Colloquium Talks



Study Philosophy at SFU

SFU Events