Department News

2016 SACP Conference – Imagination

The Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy will be holding their 48th annual Conference at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii from June 2nd through June 5th, 2016. The theme of the Conference is “Imagination”

The Program can be found here: SACP Schedule 2016.Bockover18

The following students from the department will be presenting papers:

Ian Nicolay

Amit Chaturvedi

Joel LeBel

Elyse Byrnes

Josh Stoll

Kuan­‐Hung Chen

Sydney Morrow

2016 East-West Philosophers’ Conference Update

Abstracts and Program

Working abstracts and program are now available for the coming 11th East-West Philosophers’ Conference: “Place”. The conference will take place Wednesday May 24-Tuesday May 31, 2016 at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.

View Abstracts

View Program

If you have a smart phone you can download the companion app which includes the abstracts, program and more at


1.Is there a registration fee?
No, the conference is free for all invited participants and guests, and it is open to the public.

2. How do I register for the conference?
There is no pre-registration for the conference. Please visit the conference information table, located in the garden-level room where breakfast and lunch will be served each day of the conference, to pick up your conference materials.

3.May I attend the conference if I am not a presenter in the conference?
Yes, the conference is open to the public. However, the conference materials and meals are for presenters only.

4. Are meals provided?
Breakfast and lunch are provided for all presenters on each of the conference days at no charge. Pupus, light fare, and beverages are provided at the opening reception and the evening reception at Waikiki Aquarium for presenters and their guests. Dinner is provided at the closing reception for presenters and their guests. Participants are responsible for their evening meals on the remaining days.

5. May I attend the conference receptions if I am not a presenter in the conference?
Only conference presenters and their spouses and families may attend the receptions, which will be held on May 24, 27, and 31.

6. What accommodations are available for conference presenters?
Anyone presenting in the conference may request housing from the East West Center (, as well as anyone who is an alumnus of the University of Hawaii at Manoa or the East West Center. However, only accommodations for plenary panelists and keynote speakers will be paid for by the conference. All concurrent session presenters are responsible for their own accommodations.

There are many reasonably-priced hotels in Waikiki, which is a short bus or taxi ride from the University of Hawaii campus.

7. Where can I park?
Parking is not provided. Visitors may park in designated visitor parking around the university campus. A map of visitor parking locations can be found here:
Rates are included on the map

8. Where is there food available on campus for guests?
There are various restaurants located on campus during select weekday hours. Please visit for options and hours of operations.


Housing Information

To help you in your preparations for attending the Conference, we are including here a list of accommodation suggestions. The conference will take place on the campus of the East West Center at the Imin Conference Center, located adjacent to the University of Hawaiˋi Mānoa Campus.  While staying on campus is convenient, the accommodations are limited and do not include air conditioning. The climate in Hawaiˋi in late May is generally quite pleasant, but some people will prefer the relative quiet and climate control afforded by accommodations off campus.

The East-West Center has a limited number of rooms available in the graduate student dormitories Hale Manoa and Hale Kuahine. These are conveniently located a 2 minute walk from the Conference center, but offer very simple accommodations with shared cooking facilities and shared bathrooms. Hale Kuahine is female only. Reservations can be requested from January 15, 2016 at

Other options are as follows:

(a) Waikiki is the tourist epicenter in Honolulu and is readily accessible to the University by bus or car (roughly 15-20 minutes in most cases). If you plan on renting a car, do take into account the parking costs at the hotel and on campus. In Waikiki:

– Aqua Hotels and Pacific Beach Hotel are good mid-priced accommodations.

– Most other hotel options are going to be $155+ per night and a search on Expedia or will be your best bet.

(b) Home-shares like and are ideal for groups of three or more and can save quite a bit. You must make a user profile in order to reserve the listing.

(c) The Manoa Valley Inn is a unique, historic bed and breakfast near the western edge of the campus, a pleasant 5 minute walk to the Conference Center.

(d) University Hostel is very near the University and reasonably clean. (There are also many hostels in the Waikiki area, but be sure to read the reviews before you book.)

For More Information About the East-West Philosophers’ Conference Click Here


Karuna Joshi-Peters Awarded Ph.D.

The Philosophy Department wishes to congratulate Karuna Joshi-Peters on the successfully defense of her dissertation entitled “Knowing Trust: Towards an Ecology of Trust” on April 11th 2016.

Her Committee Consisted of: Dr. Ron Bontekoe (Co-Chair), Dr. Vrinda Dalmiya (Co-Chair), Dr. Arindam Chakrabarti, Dr. Ken Kipnis, and Dr. Elaine Heiby  (Outside Member – Psychology)

Karuna dissertation

Dissertation Abstract:

Trust is most usefully viewed as a relationship of trusting with cognitive, emotive and conative aspects. This requires an epistemology of trust to be responsive to all three aspects. Outlined in this dissertation is a theory of “plain trust” that is present in all manner of trustings and without which no trust can even exist. Trust is an interpersonal matter; other people matter. In order to explore human interpersonal trustings, information, ideas and metaphors from many academic disciplines are braided together in an analysis of “knowing trust”. Trust was active in cooperation among hominids who communicated gesturally employing emotional cues prior to the emergence of language and abstract thought. This indicates a knowing of trust without words and the priority of emotion in trusting. Tacit knowing has a similar structure. We know more than we can tell. Knowing trust centrally involves a knowledge of feelings. Trust begins with the instinctive bond between a child and a caregiver growing into a deep trusting when cultivated with a balance between vigilance and empathy, between rules and permissiveness. Friendship between mature people also exhibits a similar trajectory. Emphasizing the priority of emotional knowing does not decrease the role of rational thinking in human trust, but underlines the radical (root) role of emotion in trusting. Structural and functional studies of the developing and developed brain support this claim. Clear linguistic communication between trustor and trustee is critical in any relationship, but so is non-verbal communication. Vigilance towards the autobiographical self must balance scrutiny showered on acts and intentions of the other. Empathy towards the other must actively balance natural empathy towards one’s own autobiographical self. Trust is most valued as it endures within a human relationship, gathering “trustvalue” as it endures. Using the metaphor of physical balance and sustainable ecology, it is suggested that a lasting trust is most possible when a sense of shared responsibility is present. The creative tension between self-interest and altruism, between vigilance and empathy, enables the relationship of trust to procced in a hermeneutic manner over time, tracking the health of the trusting and the wealth of the trust value.

Dr. Joshi-Peters was also featured in a University of Hawaii news article (link below)

Keith Whittingslow Memorial Graduate Essay Prize

The Keith Whittingslow Essay Prize is awarded annually to the author of the essay deemed, by the University of Hawaii Philosophy Department’s graduate admissions committee, to excel in creativity, philosophical rigor, and the synthesis of ideas from a variety of sources. Students in the Departments Master’s and Ph.D. programs were asked to submit recent papers for consideration. The winning author is awarded $2000 and is given the chance to present the their work at a department colloquium.

Keith Whittingslow was a lifelong scholar and author. Keith’s academic passions were philosophy, poetry, and interdisciplinary consciousness. He was a prolific author in poetry and prose, including his book “The Fine Structure of Constant: Philosophical Explorations via A Poetic of Consciousness. Until his passing in 2015, Keith was a good friend of the University of Hawaii Philosophy Department and in the early 2000’s was a regular participant in a wide variety of graduate seminars. The essay prize is made possible by his wife, Pat in memory of Keith’s dedication to the disciple of Philosophy.

This year, the winning paper was submitted by Sydney Morrow titled “Ordinary Absence: Ought a Metaphysical Ontology Include Nothing?”.

Abstract: This Paper is an exploration of ‘nothing’ that draws from several sources, including analytic ontology, classical Chinese Daoism, philosophy of mathematics, and existential philosophy. Once ‘nothing’ is situated within a metaphysical ontology, it begins to proliferate into different kinds, presentations, or potentials, and it even appears on the set of ethical decision-making. All puns are non-vacuously intended.

The Runner’s up prize was awarded to Jonathan McKinney for his paper titled “Apoha and Affordances”

2016 Keith Whittingslow Essay Prize: Essay Prize Winner – Sydney Morrow (R) Pat Whittingslow (C) Runner Jonathan McKinney – Runner Up (L) Graduate Chair – Ron Bontekoe



Whittingslow Essay Prize Colloquium


Additional Course Spring 2016: Phil 318 – Philosophy of Law

Announcing the Offering

Of an Additional Philosophy Course

For Spring 2016

PHIL 318


phil 318

How do judges determine what statutes, precedents, and the Constitution itself actually mean?
How should disagreements be settled in a democracy about which principles are to be written into law?
In the course of examining these two issues, we will be discussing a considerable amount of important American legal history.
To Register Click Here
Seven from Department attend ASACP Conference in Melbourne

Five graduate students (affectionately, Hawaii 5-0) and two professors attended the Australasian Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy Conference at Monash University, Caulfield Campus, in Melbourne, Australia, from July 8-12, 2015. Their presentations were as follows:

Elyse Byrnes “Love Thyself: The Metaphysics of Love in Arendt and Nishida”

Arindam Chakrabarti “Is There a World Out There? God/ No One Knows”

Vrinda Dalmiya “A Bird-Mother’s Grief and Feminist Sources of the Self”

Sydney Morrow “Metaphysical Personhood in Ancient Chinese Philosophy and Karl Jaspers”

Ian Nicolay “Knowing By Imagining”

Joshua Stoll “Ratnakīrti and Casper Hare on Solipsism”

Benjamin Zenk “Disagreement and Haribhadra’s Defense of Non-Absolutism”

This international conference provided the opportunity for students to network among scholars in the field and to celebrate all things Australian, philosophical and otherwise.

2016 East-West Philosophers’ Conference – CFP

The 11th East-West Philosophers’ Conference: “Place”

Wednesday May 25-Tuesday May 31, 2016

Call for Proposals

Humanity takes up space. In this, humanity is no different from other species. Humanity also purposefully transforms space, but is not unique in doing so. Other species also reshape the spaces they occupy to serve their purposes: birds create nests, bees create hives and beavers create dams. What seems to be uniquely human is the disposition to qualitatively transform spaces into places that are charged with distinctive kinds of significance.

Contemporary philosophical uses of the word “place” cover considerable conceptual ground, centered on a distinction between ‘space’ and ‘place’ that was formalized by geographer-philosopher Yi-fu Tuan, who suggested that “place incorporates the experiences and aspirations of a people” over the course of their moral and aesthetic engagement with sites and locations. Building on this distinction, we might say that spaces are openings for different kinds of presence—physical, emotional, cognitive, dramatic, spiritual, and so on. Places emerge through fusions of different ways of being present over time—a meaning-infusing layering of relationships and experiences that imbue a locale with its distinctively collaborative significance. Place implies sustainably appreciated and enhanced relational quality.

For many indigenous peoples, the relation to “place” has traditionally been so intimate that to be forced off the land is to be forced out of themselves, cut off from part of what makes them who they are. But contemporary urban residents develop similar senses of the dynamic and recursive relationship between who they are and where they are, and among even those who are most globally mobile, recognition persists of the significance of a ‘house’ being transformed into a ‘home.’ Humanity is a place-making species.

Yet the place-making propensities of humanity seem from the outset to have been inseparable from questions about our place in the world—the place of ‘humanity,’ of ‘my people,’ and of ‘me’ personally. One result of these questions has been the crafting of complexly imagined cosmologies and narratives of “promised lands” and “paradises” beyond the horizon of present experience. Another result, however, have been concerns growing out of the recognition that our places in the world are not equal and that being present together in some common social, economic, or political space does not necessarily endow us with equivalent opportunities for participation and contribution. At times, these concerns about equity and justice have led to the crafting of “non-places”—utopias—as means to establishing trajectories of hope that might lift us out of opportunity- and dignity-denying places.

For the 11th East-West Philosophers’ Conference, we are inviting panel and paper proposals related to the theme of “Place.” Of special interest are panels and papers that explore how places emerge through the sustained, shared practices of mutually-responsive and mutually-vulnerable actors. Subthemes might include: the place of the personal, including issues of identity-construction and privacy; place and culture, including considerations of how cultures shape and are shaped by relationships with natural and built environments; places of pilgrimage, including places charged with political or cultural, as well as, religious significance; places of memory; places of mediation, including social and mass media; place and the political, including places of justice and places of both conflict and peace; trading places, including the places of entrepreneurship and concerns about the place of equity in economics; and the place of philosophy, addressing issues about the real and ideal roles of philosophy in contemporary society.

About the East-West Philosopher’s Conference:

For more than three-quarters of a century, the East-West Philosophers’ Conference series has hosted a dialogue among some of the world’s most prominent philosophers of their time. The dialogue began in 1939 when three University of Hawai‘i visionaries—Professors Charles A. Moore, Wing-tsit Chan, and Gregg Sinclair—initiated the first East-West Philosophers’ Conference in Honolulu. Its aim was to explore the significance of Eastern ways of thinking as a complement to Western thought, and to distill a possible synthesis of the ideas and ideals that are aspired to in these unique traditions. Comparative philosophy has evolved from this earliest idea to pursue a mutual respect and accommodation among the world’s cultures, with conferences continuing to be held in 1949, 1959, 1964, 1969, 1989, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2011. Each of these conferences focused on a theme chosen as a vital issue of its time.

This conference series has been successful in fostering dialogue among philosophical traditions, and was instrumental in the establishment of the East-West Center on the campus of the University of Hawai‘i in 1960. Philosophy East & West, now one of the leading journals on comparative studies, was founded in 1951 as a forum that continues this same dialogue. Conference volumes from papers presented at these conferences have been published by the University of Hawai’i Press to share with and promote further discussion on its theme within the world academic community.

Sponsoring Institutions:

The EAST-WEST CENTER promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1960, the Center serves as a resource for information and analysis on critical issues of common concern, bringing people together to exchange views, build expertise, and develop policy options.

The UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI’I is a Research I institution founded in 1907 that has identified Asia and the Pacific as one of its selected area of excellence, with many of the centers in its School of Pacific and Asian Studies ranked as National Resource Centers. The University of Hawai’i Press is one of the leading international publishers of scholarly monographs and journals on Asian cultures.

A short abstract can be sent to the organizing committee by email attachment to: The deadline for abstracts is November 1, 2015. We anticipate that this forthcoming conference like the previous ten will be an historical event. We look forward to welcoming you to the Islands.

Roger T. Ames and Peter D. Hershock, Co-Directors