Date et heure : le jeudi 2 juin de 17h à 18h30

Lieu : Kin-ku Cheng Lecture Theatre (Oxford)

Conférence en mode hybride, pour y assister via Zoom s’inscrire en suivant ce lien

Présentation en anglais:

The present talk addresses the status of Wang Bi 王弼 (226‒249)’s Commentary on the Book of Changes (Zhouyi Zhu 周易注) in the overall framework of his thought. Apart from a few exceptions, Wang Bi’s thought has been approached through his Commentary on the Laozi (Laozi Zhu 老子注). In this perspective, the two commentaries are either read as sharing the same philosophical approach and as pertaining to the same theoretical endeavour (this is notably R. Wagner’s approach), or studied apart from each other. In this latter approach, the tone of the Commentary on the Changes, which display a much lesser focus on metaphysical speculations than the Commentary on the Laozi, is interpreted as a sign that the inquiry of this work is almost exclusively turned toward human affairs and political philosophy.  This talk demonstrates that another reading is possible. To nuance the idea that Wang Bi’s view on the Changes ultimately focuses on political philosophy, it will be reminded that since the early Yi-tradition, the Changes has been conceived as an all-encompassing book, capable of comprehending the whole cosmos. The speaker will then address the issue of the relationship of Wang Bi’s two commentaries. By doing so, he intends to show how the two works might be related, although their scopes remain distinct. Finally, he will question Wang Bi’s interpretation of the two first hexagrams and stress how his reading establishes the Changes as a book concerned with what is between Heaven and Earth. 


Raphaël Van Daele graduated in philosophy and Chinese studies from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in 2015. In 2020, he obtained a PhD in comparative philosophy from the ULB and from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris with a dissertation entitled Fathoming the Origin and Expressing the Many in Neoplatonism and Dark Learning (玄學 Xuanxue): A Comparative Approach of the Question of the First Principles in Damascius and Guo Xiang 郭象.”  Focusing on metaphysics and on philosophy in Late Greek Antiquity and in Early Medieval China, Raphaël Van Daele’s research question the philosophical value of classical Chinese thought in a comparative perspective. He is now an Academic Visitor at the University of Oxford and a postdoc research fellow at the Wiener-Anspach Foundation. His research focuses on the concept of transformation in 3rd-4th century Chinese philosophy. Focusing on the reception and exegesis of the Book of Changes (Yijing易經) by Wang Bi 王弼 (226-249), this research is part of a broader project, which aims at questioning the applicability of the Western philosophical categories of “metaphysics” and “ontology” to the Dark Learning movement. 

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