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Starting with the argument that the idea of traditional Chinese regime being despotic was rooted in the ignorance and the arrogance of the West towards China. Prof Bai shows that this concept was spread to China via Japan. He will then discuss how Montesquieu first introduced and developed this idea, and why it was deeply problematic. Finally, he will show that because of the inadequacy of this understanding and the actions taken by the Chinese on the basis of this understanding, China has indeed become despotic since the collapse of the traditional Chinese regime, which, ironically, does corroborate Montesquieu’s understanding of the nature of despotism.

Dr. BAI Tongdong is the Dongfang Chair Professor at the School of Philosophy at Fudan University (Shanghai). He holds a bachelor degree in nuclear physics, a master degree in the philosophy of science from Peking University and obtained his doctoral degree in philosophy from Boston University. His research interests include Chinese philosophy and political philosophy, especially the comparative and contemporary relevance of traditional Chinese political philosophy.

Admission: € 5 / € 3
After the lecture we invite to small reception.
Registrations welcome: 069-79823296,