The project team will share syllabi from faculty who teach on the theme of cosmopolitanism or circulation and translation of knowledge, east and west.

More information will be posted here as it becomes available.

Centuries of Dialogue: Asia and the West

Far from being isolated civilizations that historically had little or no contact with one another until only recently, the cultural complexes of Europe, South and East Asia have undergone major periods of commerce, political conflict and dialogue for at least the last 2,500 years.  This lecture series will explore some of the most important philosophical engagements of Western thinkers from the eighteenth century to the twentieth centuries, such as Leibniz, Montesquieu, Schopenhauer, and Dewey with various aspects of South and East Asian thought, and their attempts to appropriate various aspects, as they understood them, of these traditions, especially their “metaphysical,” “logical,” “scientific” and “ethical” dimensions into their own worldviews and agendas.  We will also explore these very aspects of South and East Asian thought that intrigued modern to contemporary Western thinkers, such as classical Indian scholastic argumentation, Chinese yin-yang theory and ethics in their own intellectual and cultural context, and examine how Western values and projects look in their lights.  Nationally and internationally renowned scholars in related fields will be joining us throughout the term.  Following the journey of recent centuries of dialogue between these civilizations will hopefully prompt further, but better-informed and multi-perspectival reflection on the present and future of Western and Asian intellectual and global relations.

Doug Berger
University of King’s CollegeFall 2014

Historiography of Non-Western Science

Jamil Ragep and Peter Barker
University of Oklahoma, Spring 1998

Religion & Science in Intercultural Dialogue  

This course will examine two prevalent perspectives on the relationship between religion and science – as combatants generating conflicts on the political stage,  and as partners resolving conflicts in the environmental arena. It will explore these contrasting views through readings drawn from a diversity of cultures to enable us to understand how religion and science interact with each other in various cultural contexts.
Arun Bala
University of Toronto, Summer 2008

Scientific Revolutions I: The History of Science from Antiquity to the 1800s

This course surveys the history of science from its beginnings until the end of the 18the century, when the scientific revolution was well underway. Its purpose is to give students as broad a view as possible of the long slow development that lead up to the explosive changes of the last 200 years. The readings revolve around “The Dialogue of Civilizations in the Birth of Modern Science” by Arun Bala,  which argues that our standard story about the origins of science is too narrowly focused on things that happened in Europe. Taking a step back and looking at the contributions of India, China and the Middle-East, reveals that the pre-history of science is a global history, not one that only took place on a single continent. Something genuinely special did happen in Europe during the scientific revolution, Bala argues, but this should not lead us to think that the scientific method is a specifically western invention. Instead, it is the product of blending together the contributions of all of the major world civilizations.

Cory Lewis
University of Toronto, Summer 2014

Topics in Chinese Natural Philosophy

This course will examine the significance of the natural philosophy of traditional Chinese science in relation to modern science.  It will address three questions in comparative philosophy of science that generate intense debate and controversy.  Did Chinese natural philosophy hinder the development of modern science in China despite China’s long history of technological lead over Europe?  Has Chinese natural philosophy become more compatible with modern science after the discoveries of quantum physics, chaos theory, and the ecological sciences?  Can Chinese natural philosophy resolve current environmental problems by teaching us how to promote more harmonious relations with nature?

Arun Bala
University of TorontoFall 2007


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