Professor William McBride: Rethinking Philosophy as a Public Discourse (3/11/13)


On the morning March 11,2013 in the Moonlight Hall of Ying Jie Exchange Center President of Fédération Internationale des Sociétés de Philosophie Professor William McBride gives a lecture on Rethinking Philosophy as a Public Discourse. Professor Tu Weiming Dean of Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Peking University hosts the lecture. Professor McBride does a deep and comprehensive analysis of the development trend of Philosophy in the world today and puts forward the idea of “philosophical community”, predicting the 21st century is going to be the century of philosophy. Audiences respond enthusiastically by raising questions, and the whole lecture ends with a grand success. This lecture is co-organized by IAHS and Department of Philosophy, and Dean of the Department Prof. Wang Bo & Vice-dean Prof. Li Silong are also present.

Prof.McBride believes in the contemporary world philosophy is increasingly becoming a public discourse, which is a phenomenon deserves our deep thought and attention. Prof.McBride leads the audience rethink philosophy from a new perspective by discussing the internal and external problems hindering the development of philosophy.

The whole lecture can be summarized by the following four questions: First, How should we perceive the new role of philosophy? Second, What can it bring to our world? Third, What difficulties will philosophy face during the process of realizing its new role? Fourth,In the context of globalization, what is the future of philosophy as a public discourse?

Prof.McBride’s rich experiences and academic accomplishments allow the audiences to get a glimpse of the temperament and wisdom of a world-renowned philosopher. He maintains that in order to let philosophy better take on the role of public discourse, it is necessary for us to form a philosophical community as any kind of prejudice or ignorance would harm or damage this sacred responsibility. Prof.McBride’s open-mindedness and care for the world deeply affect the audience. During Q & A, eager questions from the audience put the whole lecture to another climax. When questioned about Euro/US-centrism, Prof. McBride gives a detailed explanation, approving the value of oriental philosophy and sharing his experience with African philosophy. As for the connection between politics and psychology, Prof. McBride answers by referring to his research results. Sartre had a lot of discussions about social community in his later years, which has a direct inspiring effect on the establishment of a philosophical community.

Notably, during conversations with Prof.McBride, Prof. Wang Bo mentions the desire of being open-minded and letting the world have a better understanding about China, and at the same time expresses the wish and hope for Peking University to apply for hosting the 2018 World Congress of Philosophy.

“One World, One Dream” is true for both philosophers and philosophy-inclined people. What is philosophy as a public discourse? What will philosophy do after the establishment of a philosophical community?

Prof. McBride’s lecture brings us a new perspective to rethink philosophy , leaves a large space of reflection, and also leads us to have more hopes about a century of philosophy.

Professor McBride is Arthur G. Hansen Distinguished Professor at Purdue University, current president of Fédération Internationale des Sociétés de Philosophie, and chairman the 23rd World Congress of Philosophy. He also held important positions in American Philosophical Association, North American Society for Social Philosophy and Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy.His main research fields are social and political philosophy; Sartre; philosophy in Central and Eastern Europe.