Get access

Response to Armour's Article: “Thoughts on the Idea of a World Humanities”


  • Acknowledgments: This article was one of three presented in response to an article by Professor Leslie Armour entitled “Thoughts on the Idea of a World Humanities.” It was delivered at the symposium “Is There, Can There Be, such an Activity as World Humanities?” held at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue in Vancouver, British Columbia on January 27–28, 2012. The symposium was organized and hosted by the Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University.

PAUL CROWE, Professor, Department of Humanities and the Asia-Canada Program, Simon Fraser University. Specialties: Song and Yuan Daoism, modern Chinese religions. E-mail:


The article opens by stating the importance of the humanities and need for unapologetic advocacy on its behalf. Armour's metaphor of world humanities, as a conversation, is then taken as a point of departure for considering the example of Chinese and European “philosophy” that might join in conversation in order to expand, through mutual transformation, what we mean by “philosophy.” The concluding section argues that if we cast Chinese thought in the light of philosophy as constructed in Europe and North America, we exclude elements that could enrich and expand our pursuit of wisdom and what that entails.