ASU Center for Evolution & Medicine – Mind-Body Dualism in Ancient China

It is commonly claimed that mind-body dualism is entirely foreign to China—or “the East” more generally. This talk will draw on a wide variety of evidence to debunk this Orientalist myth of holism, including archeological findings, traditional close reading of texts, novel large-scale textual analysis techniques, and work in contemporary evolutionary anthropology and cognitive science. It will conclude by considering how early Chinese views of mind-body relations do, in fact, differ from some modern Western conceptions, and how they might help us get a better grasp on issues such as education or mental health.

Slingerland received a B.A. from Stanford in Asian Languages (Chinese), an M.A. from UC Berkeley in East Asian Languages (classical Chinese), and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Stanford University.

His research specialties and teaching interests include Warring States (5th-3rd c. B.C.E.) Chinese thought, religious studies (comparative religion, cognitive science and evolution of religion), cognitive linguistics (blending and conceptual metaphor theory), ethics (virtue ethics, moral psychology), evolutionary psychology, the relationship between the humanities and the natural sciences, and the classical Chinese language.

This seminar is a special collaboration with the Institute for Humanities Research and the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict.

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