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Lecture Series on Global Philosophies: Talk by Ori Sela

Oct 27, 2011

"How did Philosophy become Chinese?" was the central question of a lecture by Dr. Ori Sela (Tel Aviv University) on 20 October 2011 at the Karl Jaspers Centre. The talk opened the lecture series “Global Philosophies? Reflections and Challenges between Asia and Europe” organised by Prof. Birgit Kellner (Chair of Buddhist Studies).

In his talk "How did Philosophy become Chinese?", Dr. Sela discussed the continuous transformations the category "philosophy" had undergone in the early-modern and modern West so as to understand which "philosophy" arrived in Asia and what kind of baggage it carried. He further explored how philosophy acquired a prominent place in the West, then in Japan, and later in China. He explained the reasons for philosophy’s ascendancy in Japan and China, particularly from 1870 until 1930, and the historical circumstances that induced scholars to use this category in describing the Chinese and Japanese past. Lastly, he considered the historiographical consequences of philosophy’s grand entrance to Asia. (CV, Abstract)

Dr. Ori Sela is Lecturer of the East Asian Studies Department at Tel Aviv University, Israel. Having completed his PhD at Princeton University, he is specialized in the topic "Knowledge, Identity, and Reception History in China" between 1750 and 1930. His PhD was supervised by Prof. Benjamin A. Elman.

The lecture was part of the Cluster’s lecture series "Global Philosophies? Reflections and Challenges between Asia and Europe" organised by Prof. Birgit Kellner, Chair of Buddhist Studies. The list of speakers includes Dr. Ori Sela (Tel Aviv University), Prof. Jens Halfwassen (Heidelberg University), Prof. John Taber (University of New Mexico), Prof. Akeel Bilgrami (Columbia University), Prof. Parul Dave Mukherji (Jawaharlal Nehru University) and Prof. Edward Slingerland (University of British Columbia). All lectures take place from 6 to 8 pm in room 212 of the Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies, Voßstraße 2, Building 4400, Heidelberg.

Visit the lecture series’ website for further information


  • Lecture by Ori Sela

  • Ori Sela

  • Key visual created by Franziska Koch