Conference: Epistemology in Asian and Comparative Philosophy

(Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this event has been postponed to 2021)



Special themes:

Knowledge as Practice

Epistemology in Chinese Philosophy

What is knowledge, across different philosophical traditions? How do we acquire knowledge and how is it practised? This conference seeks to provide a venue for researchers to present papers, including work in progress, on aspects of Asian and comparative epistemology.

Keynote Speakers

Professor Chris Fraser, The University of Hong Kong.

Professor James Heisig, Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture, Nanzan University, Japan.

Professor Huang Yong, Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Conference Discussions

We invite participants to discuss questions including (and not limited to):

• What are the underlying assumptions about the nature and acquisition of knowledge in Asian philosophical traditions?

• What is the relation between having or acquiring knowledge, on the one hand, and putting knowledge into practice, on the other?

• Have matters of practice informed conceptions of knowledge, and if so, how?

• Can epistemology in the different Asian philosophical traditions be adequately characterised by distinctions drawn in contemporary epistemology between e.g. theoretical and practical knowledge, knowledge-that and knowledge-how, externalist and internalist justification, etc.?

• What lessons can we draw for contemporary debates in epistemology by investigating non-western views on knowledge?


Epistemology in Chinese philosophy will be a special focus of this conference. We particularly seek presentations on pre-Qin Chinese epistemology, but also welcome those on later periods, for example, Song-Ming Neo-Confucianism or Post-Han Dynasty Neo-Daoism.

These discussions will focus on questions of whether and how knowledge is related to skilful practice, and how the exercise of abilities or skills is informed by knowledge of relevant facts. They aim to take advantage of, but also to go beyond, the recent growth in interest in reading Chinese Philosophy from the perspective of virtue epistemology.

As epistemology in Chinese Philosophy is an ongoing research interest at UNSW, the conference organisers may consider the possibility of publishing (with an established commercial publisher) an anthology that includes some papers from this stream.