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Lecture: Envisioning of Third Axial Age with Some Remarks on he er bu tong 和而不同

Lecture: Envisioning of Third Axial Age with Some Remarks on he er bu tong 和而不同

The Department of Asian Studies would like to invite all interested parties to participate in a lecture on “Cultural Difference, Modernity and the Envisioning of a Third Axial Age. Some Remarks on he er bu tong 和而不同” presented by Professor Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer, sinologist and Director of the China Center Tübingen at the Eberhard Karl University of Tübingen.

October 14, 2022
12:00
SWPS University in Warsaw (on-site event)

The idea of three Axial Ages

The term "Axial Age" was coined in 1949 by Karl Jaspers to describe the changes in religious and philosophical thought that occurred simultaneously and independently in China, India, the Middle East, and Greece around 800–200 BCE. The philosopher argued that the spiritual foundations of humanity were laid during this period.

Various modern scholars suggest that there have, in fact, been three Axial Ages in human history, and each had its own distinctive character. The first is known as "moral." The second, which is said to have begun around 1750, is named “material.” In Western historiography, this period is also known as "Sattelzeit" (saddle time), a concept coined by a German historian, Reinhart Koselleck. This "material" Axial Age is characterized by new technologies, which in combination with access to certain types of fuel, ushered in astonishing and historically unparalleled advances in population growth, economic development, human wealth, and life expectancy. However, it also created global economic inequality on a scale previously unknown in human history. Furthermore, it did so at the price of cannibalization of the environment.

The third Axial Age, which is said to be taking place nowadays, is defined as "mental" due to the extraordinary breakthroughs in information, communications, artificial intelligence, robotics, and other technologies that are currently transforming everyday life.

Professor Schmidt-Glintzer will illustrate how Chinese intellectual tradition could contribute to activating the moral and intellectual sensibilities cultivated in the first Axial Age — because this is what humanity may need to cope with the costs generated by the extraordinary productivity gains of the second Axial Age.

The lecture will be held in English.

Lecturer

Helwig Schmidt Glintzer
Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer
Prof.

Is a sinologist and Director of the China Center Tübingen at the Eberhard Karl University of Tübingen in Germany. From 1981 to 1993, he served as Chair for East Asian Culture and Languages at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU). From 1993 to 2015, he was a Professor of East Asian Literature and Culture at the University of Goettingen and Director of the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel. His current research interests include the history of China and the image of China in Europe, China in the 20th century, and Buddhism as a transnational phenomenon. He also explores developmental inequalities and different roads to modernity.

Host

The Department of Asian Studies at SWPS University (formerly the Center for East Asian Civilization) offers a three-year undergraduate study program Asian Studies: China and East Asia. Apart from teaching, department academics and collaborators are engaged in research and popularization of culture, history, societies, and business practices of China, Korea, Japan and other countries of the region.

Partner

Confucius Institute in Kraków

Contact

Marek Tylkowski
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Date and Location

October 14, 2022 12:00

SWPS University in Warsaw, Chodakowska 19/31, room S201

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