Dean Sellmann publishes papers on Chinese philosophy and political theory
Two research papers written by James D. Sellmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and a professor of philosophy and Micronesian studies, were published over the summer. Both papers are focused on Chinese culture and philosophy, the subject area of Sellmann’s doctorate.
The first piece — “The People's Republic of China and the United States of America Constitutional Theory and Practice: Developing an Organic Contract,” published in the 10th issue of Russian Political Science in July — proposes a theory to open new horizons for improving political constitutional theory.
“The Chinese and American constitutional traditions could learn from each other,” he writes. “The PRC constitution is in need of a system of checks and balances. The people require a means to exercise rights of popular sovereignty. … The American constitutional tradition might be enriched by acknowledging that, at least, some rights and liberties are not inalienably given but need to be achieved...”
The paper can viewed on the Russian Political Science website.
Another piece written by Sellmann was published this past July in “Skill and Mastery: Philosophical Stories From the Zhuangzi,” a compilation of scholarly analyses of ancient Chinese narratives.
Sellmann’s essay, in Chapter 8, is on the Daoist story of Butcher Ding, who effortlessly butchers an ox — working “by spirit” with perception and understanding rather than with his eyes. His paper analyzes the story and its relevance to the contemporary human experience.
“I propose that all of the skills stories in the ‘Zhuangzi’ are offered as examples of how a person’s life can be improved by living in and acting or performing with the meditative or altered state of consciousness,” Sellmann said.
The book is edited by Karyn Lai of the University of New South Wales in Australia and Wai Wai Chiu of Lingnan University in Hong Kong and published by Rowman & Littlefield International Ltd. It is available for purchase from Rowman & Littlefield International and on Amazon.