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David B. Wong

Susan Fox Beischer and George D. Beischer Trinity College Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Philosophy
Philosophy
Duke Box 90743, Durham, NC 27708-0743
211 W Duke Bldg, Durham, NC

Selected Presentations & Appearances


Moral Relativism and Chinese Philosophy - Sharing Philosophy · October 26, 2019 Invited Talk Chapel Hill Public Library
Constructive Skepticism in the Zhuangzi: “Doing Philosophy across Traditions: Its Hazards and Sought-After Rewards - Approaches to Classical Chinese Texts · October 5, 2019 Invited Talk University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Harmony, Soup, and Disagreement - St. Louis University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference · March 29, 2019 Keynote/Named Lecture St. Louis University, Philosophy Department, St Louis, Missouri
Soup, Harmony, and Disagreement - Semrad Lecture · October 9, 2018 Keynote/Named Lecture Creighton University, Creighton University, Omaha, NE
The Body-Politic and Soup in Ancient Chinese Thought · May 29, 2018 - May 29, 2018 Invited Talk Radboud University Nijmegen / Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Ravenstein, Netherlands
Moral Relativism and Chinese Philosophy - Sharing Philosophy · October 26, 2019 Invited Talk Chapel Hill Public Library
Constructive Skepticism in the Zhuangzi: “Doing Philosophy across Traditions: Its Hazards and Sought-After Rewards - Approaches to Classical Chinese Texts · October 5, 2019 Invited Talk University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Harmony, Soup, and Disagreement - St. Louis University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference · March 29, 2019 Keynote/Named Lecture St. Louis University, Philosophy Department, St Louis, Missouri
Soup, Harmony, and Disagreement - Semrad Lecture · October 9, 2018 Keynote/Named Lecture Creighton University, Creighton University, Omaha, NE
The Body-Politic and Soup in Ancient Chinese Thought · May 29, 2018 - May 29, 2018 Invited Talk Radboud University Nijmegen / Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Ravenstein, Netherlands
Confucian and Daoist Approaches to Political Crisis - Workshop: Political Crises and Intellectuals · May 22, 2018 - May 22, 2018 Keynote/Named Lecture Academy of Finland / University of Jyväskylä, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
Soup, Harmony, and Disagreement - Department of Philosophy Colloquium, University of British Columbia, Vancouver · March 23, 2018 Invited Talk Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Soup, Harmony, and Disagreement - 2018 Austin J. Fagothey Philosophy Conference on Values: East and West · February 10, 2018 International Meeting or Conference Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA
Why Forgiveness is so Elusive - The Natural Method—Ethics, Mind, & Self” at Duke University (In Honor of Owen Flanagan) · September 30, 2017 Lecture
The Great Good of Relationship, and Its Troubles - Workshop on the Ends of Human Life in Ancient Indian and Chinese Traditions · August 8, 2017 Invited Talk Parekh Institute of Indian Thought, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Berggruen Institute, Indian International Centre, Delhi, India

Human relationship is one of the great goods of human life, but it can conflict with other values and makes us vulnerable to sorrow and grief. Discussion of approaches to these problems in Confucianism, Daoism, the Bhagavad Gita and the Mahabharata.

"Soup, Harmony, and Disagreement" - Third Annual CR Parekh Lecture · August 4, 2017 Lecture Institute of Indian Thought, Center for the Study of Developing Societies, India International Centre, Delhi, India

A lecture on the Confucian notion of harmony and how it is applicable to our contemporary state of disharmony and incivility. Discussion of how that notion of harmony is related to King Ashoka's vision of religious pluralism in ancient India.

Interview of David Wong by Clifford Sossis on the website "What's It Like to be a Philosopher?" · June 22, 2017 Interview
Interview of David Wong by Richard Marshall: The Pluralist - 3am Magazine · June 3, 2017 Interview
Early Chinese Philosophy on Correcting One’s Mistakes in Feeling and Thinking: Compassion and Intuition - 9th Annual California Cognitive Science Conference: Mistakes The Imperfect Mind · April 29, 2017 Invited Talk Cognitive Science Student Association, UC Berkeley

"Focus" talk speaker to students, researchers and members of the general public.

Rediscovering Moral Beauty - Given at a conference "Moral Sentimentalism and Its Foundations" · March 24, 2017 Invited Talk California State University at Fullerton, Philosophy Department and Philosophy Club, Cal State Fullerton

Other speakers: Peter Railton, Michael Gil, Rachel Cohon, Victor Kumar, Joshua May, Stephen Stich

Seminar on diversifying the philosophy curriculum to philosophy faculty at Muhlenberg College - Part of being a Mellon Scholar-in-Residence at Muhlenberg College · March 17, 2017 Invited Talk Muhlenberg College/Mellon Foundation, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA

Talk and discussion about ways of diversifying the philosophy curriculum

Soup, Harmony, and Disagreement - Public lecture given as part of being Mellon Scholar-in-Residence at Muhlenberg College · March 16, 2017 Lecture Muhlenberg College/Mellon Foundation, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA

Talk on Confucian notions of ritual and harmony, and how these might be applicable to our current divisive and polarized condition.

Precis and response to commentators on Dao Best Essay "Early Confucian Philosophy and the Development of Compassion" - 2017 Eastern Meeting of the American Philosophical Association · January 5, 2017 Invited Talk American Philosophical Association, Baltimore, MD

Panel on Dao Best Essay for 2015, with precis of the essay and response to commentaries by Nancy Snow, Christian Miller, and Bongrae Seuk

Comment on David Palumbo-Liu "Where Do We Stand When We Name the Other?" · 2017 - September 8, 2017 Instructional Course, Workshop, or Symposium Center for Philosophy, Arts, Literature At Duke University, Duke University
Soup, Harmony, and Disagreement - Philosophy colloquium · October 14, 2016 Invited Talk Philosophy Department, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, CN
Interview with David B. Wong on moral relativism - Why Radio Show · October 9, 2016 Interview Public radio station PQED and Institute for Philosophy and Public Life,

Radio interview and podcast link is https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.whyradioshow.org_Why_previousepisodes_episode96.aspx&d=CwMFAg&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=YtzLfznZlfg33PJzEzsnHA&m=gpI-QZsok7M7at3Qj9c8BoUYIWTIMM04JURmY0zDyfs&s=hQ5mK8ncKhW3aJ-hpA3_2OmboFDivt5pmB91hxK2GE0&e=.

Soup, Harmony, and Disagreement - Berggruen Workshop on Harmony and Freedom · March 13, 2016 Invited Talk Berggruen Institute for Culture and Philosophy, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, CA

Contribution to a workshop on the Asian concept of harmony and the Western concept of freedom

Relativism and Ambivalence between Relationship and Autonomy - Philosophy Colloquium, University of Oklahoma · March 11, 2016 Invited Talk Philosophy Department, University of Oklahoma, Norman, University of Oklahoma, Norman
"Relativism and Ambivalence between Relationship and Autonomy" - Keynote Address at 2016 Puget Sound Undergraduate Philosophy Conference · February 13, 2016 Invited Talk University of Puget Sound, Philosophy Department, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA
"Relativism and Ambivalence between Relationship and Autonomy - Philosophy Colloquium, University of San Francisco · December 7, 2015 Invited Talk Philosophy Department, University of San Francisco, University of San Francisco, CA
Dialogue in the Work of Michael Krausz - Symposium on the Work of Michael Krausz · November 6, 2015 Invited Talk Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA
Relativism and Ambivalence between Relationship and Autonomy - Philosophy Colloquium · November 4, 2015 Invited Talk Philosophy Department, Union College, Union College, Schenectady, NY
Perspectives on Human Personhood and the Self from the Zhuangzi - Workshop on The Self and the Meaning of Life · September 18, 2015 Invited Talk Berggruen Philosophy and Culture Center and Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Feeling, Reflection, and Reasoning in the Mencius - Conference: "Modes of Reasoning: East and West" · July 10, 2015 Invited Talk University of Bonn, Germany, Bonn, Germany
Institutional Structures and Idealism of Character - Symposium on Joseph Chan's Confucian Perfectionism · May 15, 2015 Invited Talk Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Rediscovering Moral Beauty - Colloquium series University of Hong Kong Department of Politics and Public Administration · May 14, 2015 Invited Talk University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
The Authority of Moral Beauty - "Meaning in Life" Lecture Series · April 9, 2015 Invited Talk Agnes Scott College, Marietta, GA
Keynote Address: Relativism and Ambivalence between Relationship and Autonomy - 2015 Meetings of the South Carolina Philosophical Society · March 27, 2015 Invited Talk Converse College, Spartanburg, South Carolina
Seminar discussion of my article "Integrating Philosophy with Anthropology in an Approach to Morality," led by Steven Lukes and Gabi Abend - NYU Sociology Department · March 9, 2015 Invited Talk NYU,
Relativism and Ambivalence between Relationship and Autonomy - Philosophy colloquium · March 6, 2015 Invited Talk Philosophy Department, Brandeis University,
Seminar discussion of my article "Relativist Explanations of Interpersonal and Group Disagreement", February 24, 2015 - Mind and Language seminar conducted by Paul Horwich and Crispin Wright · February 24, 2015 Invited Talk Philosophy Department, New York University, New York, NY
A Case for Relativism Based on Ambivalence between Relationship and Autonomy - Conference on the Coherence of Relativism · December 14, 2014 Invited Talk University of Bonn, Germany, Bonn, Germany
Reflection and Emotion in Mencius and Xunzi - Conference: "Moral Sentimentalism and the Foundations of Morality" · November 14, 2014 Invited Talk College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA
Reflection and Emotion in Mencius and Xunzi - International Conference for the Society of Political Thought: Comparative Ancient and Medieval Political Thought · May 1, 2014 Invited Talk Yale University,

Invited Lectures

Keynote Address: On Learning What Happiness Is - Minnesota Undergraduate Philosophy Society Meetings 2014 · April 26, 2014 Invited Talk Macalester College, St. Paul, MN

Invited Lectures

On Valuing Disagreement - Philosophy Colloquia Series · April 24, 2014 Invited Talk Philosophy Department, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN

Invited Lectures

The Authority of Moral Beauty in Xunzi - Conference on Xunzi · April 11, 2014 Invited Talk Philosophy Department, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Invited Lectures ; Talk given at Rutgers at a conference on Xunzi and authority sponsored by Philosophy and Religious Studies Departments. Commentary on my talk delivered by Ruth Chang. Confucian ethics is unusual in associating beauty with ethical excellence. There is a similar theme in philosophers such as Aristotle, but the association with beauty is by far the most developed in Xunzi. I present the textual case for this as well as the philosophical and psychological case for taking this association seriously as a view on its own merits.

Moral Cultivation - Workshop convened to discuss manuscript on Neo-Confucianism by Steve Angle and Justin Tiwald · March 29, 2014 Invited Talk San Francisco State University and Wesleyan University, San Francisco, CA

Invited Lectures ; . I lead the discussion on the chapter on moral cultivation.

On Valuing Moral Disagreement - Colloquium series University of Hong Kong Department of Politics and Public Administration · January 20, 2014 Invited Talk Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto,

Invited Lectures

Keynote Address: On Learning What Happiness Is - 18th International Conference of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy · July 21, 2013 Invited Talk University of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

Invited Lectures ; David Wong ; Keynote Address

Xunzi as Moral Craftsman - International Conference on Nature and Value in Chinese and Western Philosophies · April 4, 2013 Invited Talk Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Invited Lectures ; Involved scholars in Chinese philosophy and members of the Rutgers philosophy department and others who commented on the papers in Chinese philosophy and/or Chinese-Western comparative philosophy.

Response to "Rethinking Equality" by Wang Hui, Tsinghua University - Conference on Human Rights · March 22, 2013 Invited Talk National Humanities Center, Durham, NC

Invited Lectures ; D. Wong ; at the National Humanities Center Conference on Human Rights

Xunzi as Moral Craftsman - Conference "Contemporary Philosophy in an Age of Globalization" · February 26, 2013 Lecture University of Hawaii at Manoa and University of Tokyo, Manoa, HI
Leys Lecture Keynote Address: What We Can Learn from Early Confucian Philosophy about Moral Development - 2012 Meetings of Society for Comparative and Asian Philosophy · October 12, 2012 Invited Talk Southern Illinois University, Carbondale,

Invited Lectures

Chinese Philosophy and the Development of Compassion - Philomathia Lectures on Human Values · May 1, 2012 Lecture Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Invited Lectures ; This was the inaugural lecture of a new annual lecture series. It involved two lectures for a general audience and a seminar in which scholars from different fields commented on my lectures and my responses to them. The scholars were Neil Levy, Director of Research, Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, University of Oxford/University of Melbourne; Kwong-loi Shun, Sin Wai Kin Professor of Chinese Culture, the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Edward Slingerland, Canada Research Chair in Chinese Thought and Embodied Cognition, University of British Columbia; and Richard A. shweder, William Claude Reavis Distinguished Service Professor of Human Development at the University of Chicago.

Metaphors for self-cultivation in the Analects, Mencius, and Xunzi: adornment, craft, flowing water, and sprouts - Columbia University Seminar for Comparative Philosophy · February 24, 2012 Invited Talk Columbia University,

Invited Lectures ; Commentator on my paper was Charles Goodman, Binghamton University

Integrity Philosophy with Anthropology in an Approach to Morality - Philosophy Colloquium · December 15, 2011 Invited Talk Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO

Invited Lectures

How Does Xunzi Really Disagree with Mencius? How Their Differences Might Help Us Think about Human Nature and Morality - Philosophy Colloquium · August 12, 2011 Invited Talk National University of Singapore, Singapore

Invited Lectures

The Place of Love in a Good Life - Conference in honor of Joel J. Kupperman · May 21, 2011 Invited Talk University of Connecticut at Storrs, Storrs, CT

Invited Lectures ; Presented at a conference: "Character East and West: A Conference in Honor of Joel Kupperman"

Reconsidering Mencius' and Xunzi's Conceptions of Human Nature in the Light of their Continued Relevance - APA Symposium on Chinese Philosophy, 2010 Eastern Division Meetings · December 28, 2010 Invited Talk American Philosophical Association, Boston, MA

Invited Lectures ; Discussion of Mencius' and Xunzi's conception of human nature and moral development. My argument is that these present models that are of continued relevance, I discuss them in relation to some contemporary developmental biology and psychology.

Keynote Address: What We Can Learn from Mencius on Human Nature and the Development of Ethical Virtue - 35th Annual Midwest Philosophy Colloquium · October 8, 2010 Invited Talk University of Minnesota at Morris, Morris, MN

Invited Lectures ; I discuss the implications of two different metaphors Mencius uses for the inborn beginnings of goodness in human nature: water naturally flowing downward and sprouts that grow with adequately fertile soil, water, and sun. The sprout metaphor is the more illuminating metaphor, I argue, and corresponds with recent theoretical advances that highlight the interaction of nature and nurture in development.

Are Moral Conversions Possible? - Colloquium Series · October 7, 2010 Invited Talk Institute for Advanced Study, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities,

Invited Lectures ; http://www.ias.umn.edu/media/DavidWong.php ; I discuss three apparent cases of moral conversion and relate them to moral philosophy and recent findings in psychology and neuroscience.

Mencius on Human Nature and Ethical Virtue - Conference on The Good Life and Conceptions of Life in Greek and Chinese Antiquity. · June 6, 2010 Invited Talk University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland

Invited Lectures ; I argue that in Mencius there are two different metaphors for the goodness of human nature: we become good as water flows downward; and incipient goodness as sprouts that need nurture. I argue that Mencius seems not to have been aware of the different implications of these metaphors, and that accounts for the conflicting things he says about inborn goodness. The sprout metaphor is by far the more productive and plausible metaphor, and I relate its implications to some of the latest theory on the relation between nature and nurture, including the idea that because genes and culture co-evolved, nature prepares us for nurture.

Commentary on "Perceived Objectivity of Ethical Beliefs" by Goodwin and Darley - Workshop on Metaethics · May 1, 2010 Invited Talk New York University, New York, NY

Invited Lectures ; D. Wong ; at NYU

Integrating Philosophy with Anthropology in an Approach to Morality - Symposium on approaches to the anthropology of morality · December 5, 2009 Invited Talk American Anthropological Association, Philadelphia, PA

Invited Lectures ; David Wong ; Invited as the only philosopher to participate in a symposium on approaches to the anthropology of morality. Discussant on my paper was Richard Shweder.

Complexity and Simplicity in Aristotle and Early Daoist Thought - Philosophy colloquium · October 1, 2009 Invited Talk Bryn Mawr College,

Invited Lectures ; D. Wong ; Discussion of how much Aristotle is in Rawls' Aristotelian Principle. How simplicity and complexity of activity is valued in Aristotle, the Daodejing, and the Zhuangzi.

Relativism and the Explanation of Commonality and Difference - Address to Society for Empirical Ethics · April 9, 2009 Invited Talk American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, Vancouver, B.C.

Invited Lectures ; Delivered to the Society for Empirical Ethics, Pacific APA

Veroni Lecture: How Are Moral Conversions Possible? · March 11, 2009 Lecture Kent State University,

Invited Lectures ; David B. Wong ; The Veroni Lectures are endowed to support lectures in philosophy and the humanities that appeal to a wide audience. In this talk I examine three cases of apparent moral conversion: first, a fictional drab functionary of the East German regime, featured in the recent film The Lives of Others, who ends up trying to save the people he is assigned to spy upon; second, the actual case of Oscar Schindler having saved the lives of a great many Jews during the Nazi occupation of Poland; and third, C. P. Ellis, a leader of the Ku Klux Klan who improbably worked and became friends with a militant black activist during the desegregation of the Durham, North Carolina public schools. In asking how such dramatic changes for the better are possible, I will weave reflections on these cases with theoretical and empirical work on the nature of emotion and its relation to cognitive and perceptual capacities.

Can Love Be Reasoned? - Symposium on Love · December 28, 2008 Invited Talk Eastern Division Meetings of American Philosophical Association, Philadelphia, PA

Invited Lectures ; D. Wong ; Presentation on whether love is for reasons or for no reasons. Part of panel including Harry Frankfurt, David Velleman, Michael Stocker, and Rae Langton.

Pluralism and Ambivalence - Invited talk, Eastern Division Meetings · December 28, 2008 Invited Talk American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, Philadelphia, PA

Invited Lectures ; D. Wong ; Condensation and clarification of part of my argument for relativism in Natural Moralities

Cultural Pluralism and Moral Identity - Conference on moral personality, also the "pre-conference" for the annual meeting of the Association for Moral Education · November 13, 2008 Invited Talk University of Notre Dame, Association for Moral Education, Notre Dame, IN

Invited Lectures ; D. Wong ; Lecture at a conference on moral personality which was also the "pre-conference" for the annual meeting of the Association for Moral Education.

Teaching Comparative Ethics - Workshop on Teaching Ethics · April 22, 2008 Invited Talk Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, Singapore

Invited Lectures ; D. Wong ; Gave presentation at a workshop on teaching ethics sponsored by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore and the JFK School of Government at Harvard University.

Respondent to an panel on my book Natural Moralities at Pacific APA - "Author meets Critics" Symposium · March 20, 2008 Invited Talk American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, Pasadena, CA

Invited Lectures ; The panel was on my recent book, Natural Moralities

Service to the Profession


At large member of the Board of Officers · 2015 - 2018 Event/Organization Administration American Philosophical Association,
Advisory editor for the Journal of the American Philosophical Association · April 1, 2014 Event/Organization Administration
Served as an external examiner for Masters thesis "Li: an Interpretation" by Colin Lewis, Hong Kong University · April 27, 2012 Event/Organization Administration
Visiting committee to the Philosophy Department of the National University of Singapore · September 22, 2011 Other
Visiting Committee to the Philosophy Department of the National University of Singapore · August 2011 Event/Organization Administration Singapore
At large member of the Board of Officers · 2015 - 2018 Event/Organization Administration American Philosophical Association,
Advisory editor for the Journal of the American Philosophical Association · April 1, 2014 Event/Organization Administration
Served as an external examiner for Masters thesis "Li: an Interpretation" by Colin Lewis, Hong Kong University · April 27, 2012 Event/Organization Administration
Visiting committee to the Philosophy Department of the National University of Singapore · September 22, 2011 Other
Visiting Committee to the Philosophy Department of the National University of Singapore · August 2011 Event/Organization Administration Singapore
External reader on PhD dissertation in Philosophy, University of Toronto · June 2011 Event/Organization Administration
Review submitted entries for International Encyclopedia of Ethics · 2010 Other
Adviser to program committee of Eastern Division, APA · 2010 - 2013 Other
Adviser to program committee of Eastern Division, APA · 2010 - 2013 Event/Organization Administration
Rater of graduate programs for Philosophical Gourmet · January 7, 2008 Other

Service to the Professional Community

Reviewed applications for National Humanities Center Fellowship · 2008 Other

Service to Duke


Co-Chair, Duke-Kunshan Appointments, Promotion and Tenure Committee (University) · April 2018 Committee Service

Co-Chair

DUS (University) · August 1, 2014 Committee Service
Steering committee LACC (Duke-Kunshan), (University) · 2014 Committee Service
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Philosophy Department · 2014 - 2015 Event/Organization Administration
Academic Integrity Council (University) · December 2, 2013 Committee Service
Co-Chair, Duke-Kunshan Appointments, Promotion and Tenure Committee (University) · April 2018 Committee Service

Co-Chair

DUS (University) · August 1, 2014 Committee Service
Steering committee LACC (Duke-Kunshan), (University) · 2014 Committee Service
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Philosophy Department · 2014 - 2015 Event/Organization Administration
Academic Integrity Council (University) · December 2, 2013 Committee Service
Faculty Council of Kenan Institute (University) · November 30, 2013 Committee Service
Graduate student admission committee (Department) · March 14, 2013 Committee Service
Academic Integrity Council (University) · 2013 Committee Service
Liberal Arts for Duke Kunshan University (School) · December 30, 2012 Committee Service
Liberal Arts for Duke Kunshan University (University) · 2012 Committee Service
Chair, Coordinator Philosophy Colloquium (Department) · 2011 - 2014 Committee Service
Faculty Council of Kenan Ethics Institute (School) · September 1, 2010 Committee Service
Provost's Advisory Committee onAppointment, Promotion, and Tenure (School) · September 1, 2010 Committee Service
Chair, Faculty Council of Kenan Ethics Institute (University) · 2010 - 2014 Committee Service
Provost's Advisory Committee onAppointment, Promotion, and Tenure (University) · 2010 - 2013 Committee Service
Convener . Kenan Faculty Study Group · December 30, 2009 Other

Other ; Choose readings and organize meetings for faculty discussion of ethics

Colloquium Coordinator (Department) · September 1, 2009 - May 20, 2014 Committee Service
Stillman Chair Search Committee (School) · January 7, 2008 - July 1, 2009 Committee Service
Chair, Philosophy Department · 2004 - 2007 Event/Organization Administration
Arts and Sciences Council (University) · 2003 - 2004 Committee Service