Dolphin Stories

Monday, August 01, 2011

Professor William Day Explores Confucian Thought

2:37 PM :: 2677 Views

Dr. William Day prepares to strike the bell at 1700-year-old Longhua Temple in Shanghai

Cross-cultural dialogue can take many forms. Following intellectual threads across the history and traditions of human thought, Associate Professor William Day of the Philosophy Department models an openness to new intellectual terrain for Le Moyne students and colleagues alike. Day’s doctoral studies at Columbia University focused on the 20th century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and expanded to include work on Ralph Waldo Emerson, film and jazz during his year as an Exchange Scholar at Harvard under the guidance of Stanley Cavell. What united these disparate topics for Day was his interest in the kind of self-reflective knowledge they each feature or demand. 

In the past year that idea has led Day to explore fascinating new connections with Confucian thought. Day was selected to present a paper this summer at East China Normal University’s International Symposium on Chinese Philosophy and Analytic Philosophy in Shanghai. Day spoke on Wang Yangming, a 16th century Neo-Confucian philosopher who advocated the paradoxical but (Wang felt) morally urgent doctrine of “the unity of knowledge and action.” Day credits a 2007 tour of China with several Le Moyne colleagues, funded through a Title VI Grant awarded to Le Moyne to "globalize" the Core, with planting the seed for his new research interest. As Day noted: “I wouldn’t have found my way to Confucianism if it wasn’t for Le Moyne.” Now spending his summer studying the Chinese language, Day has a fresh wealth of experiences to share in the classroom this fall.


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