TU Weiming


Tu Weiming is Director of the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies and Professor of Philosophy at Peking University.


A leading Confucian scholar, Tu is dedicated to interpreting Confucian classics and examining traditional Chinese culture, especially Confucian philosophy, in light of the various core values of Axial and non-Axial civilizations. He has advocated for “civilizational dialogue,” created the discourse of “dialogical civilization,” and identified the Chinese civilization as having the cultural feature of “learning to be human beings” and the cultural ability to integrate, without assimilating, different influences. Tu simultaneously constructed and deconstructed the concept of “Cultural China,” which transcends geographical and political domains and provides the theoretical foundation for studying Chinese identity and cultural characteristics. He has creatively transformed the Confucian tradition and opened up vast possibilities for the “third epoch of Confucian humanism.” His course on Confucian philosophy at Peking University in 1985 is recognized as instrumental in revitalizing Confucian studies in mainland China. Tu has also taught or spoken at over a hundred renowned educational institutions around the world and given keynote presentations at numerous important academic conferences, embodying both the spirit and the practice of Confucian learning. He has developed a new approach to Confucian ethics and contributed to the discussions of epistemology and scientific rationality, from the perspective of Confucian “xin xue” (discourse on the mind.) Tu is one of the most influential and visionary thinkers in the world.


Born in Kunming and raised in Taiwan, Tu received his bachelor’s degree in Chinese philosophy from Tunghai University in 1961, and his master’s degree (1963) and doctoral degree (1968) from Harvard University. He has taught Chinese intellectual history, philosophies of China, and Confucian humanism at Tunghai University (1967-68), Princeton University (1967-71), University of California at Berkeley (1971-81), Beijing Normal University (1980), Harvard University (1981-2010), Peking University (1985), Taiwan University (1988), and École des Hautes Études in Paris (1989).


Tu is the author of Neo-Confucian Thought in Action: Wang Yangming’s Youth (1976), Centrality and Commonality: an Essay on Confucian Religiousness (1976, rev.1989), Humanity and Self-Cultivation (1979), Confucian Thought: Selfhood as Creative Transformation (1985), Way, Learning, and Politics: Essays on the Confucian Intellectual (1993), and the Global Significance of Concrete Humanity: Essays on the Confucian Discourse in Cultural China (2010). An eight-volume series of Tu’s collected works in Chinese will be published by SDX Joint Publishing Company in 2013; his entire collected works will be published by Peking University Press starting in 2013. 


Tu has been a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1988, an executive member of the Federation of International Philosophical Societies since 2008, and a tutelary member of the Institute of International Philosophy since 2010. In 2001 he was invited by the United Nations as a member of the Group of Eminent Persons to facilitate the Dialogue among Civilizations, and he gave a presentation on civilizational dialogue to the Executive Board of UNESCO in 2004. 


Tu has also served as Chair of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy at Academia Sinica, Honorary Chair of the Center for Confucian Entrepreneurs and East Asian Civilizations at Zhejiang University, Chair of the Humanities Committee and Center for Spiritual Humanism and Business Ethics at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB), Co-Chair of the International Ma Yifu Humanities Center at Zhejiang University, and Advisory Professor at Shanghai Jiaotong University. He is on the editorial boards of Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Philosophy East and West, and Dao.


His honors include the Grand Prize of International T’oegye Society (2001), the Thomas Berry Award for Ecology and Religion (2002), the Lifelong Achievement Award by the American Humanist Society (2007), the first Confucius Cultural Award (2009), and the first Brilliance of China Award (CCTV Beijing, 2013). Tu holds honorary professorships from Zhejiang, Sun Yat-sen, Suzhou, Renmin, Jinan, Foreign Languages Universities and the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences in China. He has also been awarded honorary degrees from Lehigh, Michigan State, Shandong, Tunghai, Lingnan, King’s College in London, Macau University, and Soka University.


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