“Gongsheng” Symposium (Organized by the Berggruen China Center and Co-organized by EAA)
Gongsheng/Kyōsei and Convivialism: Forging a Planetary Philosophy and Ethics?

On Friday, March 29th, and Saturday, March 30th, 2024, a two-day symposium titled “Gongsheng/Kyōsei and Convivialism: Forging a Planetary Philosophy and Ethics?” will be held by the Berggruen China Center and co-organized by EAA at the Komaba Campus.

This event is limited to current staff and students of the University of Tokyo. We welcome all staff and students to participate actively. To register, please log in to your ECCS Cloud Mail and complete the registration form provided on this Google Form.

Date & Time:
Day 1: March 29, 2024 (Fri.) 9:00-17:00
Day 2: March 30, 2024 (Sat.) 9:00-17:00

Venue: University of Tokyo, Komaba Campus, Bldg.18 Hall

The symposium will be held in English, Chinese, Japanese, with simultaneous interpretation provided.

List of Speakers
– Roger AMES, Humanities Chair Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Peking University
– Frank ADLOFF, Professor of Sociology, University of Hamburg
– BAIK Youngseo, Professor Emeritus, Department of History, Yonsei University
– Nicolas BERGGRUEN, Chairman and Founder, Berggruen Institute
– Alain CAILLÉ, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Paris-Ouest-Nanterre University
– Markus GABRIEL, Chair in Epistemology, Modern, and Contemporary Philosophy and Director of Center for Science and Thought, University of Bonn
– GONG Jun, Professor, Department of Philosophy, Sun Yat-sen University
– HOSHINO Futoshi, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo
– ISHII Kosei, Professor Emeritus, Komazawa University
– ISHII Tsuyoshi, Professor at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Director of East Asian Academy for New Liberal Arts, University of Tokyo
– KOBAYASHI Yasuo, Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo
– LAI Shi-San, Distinguished Professor, Department of Chinese Literature, National Sun Yat-sen University
– MAFUNE Fumitaka, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo
– Mark MCCONAGHY, Associate Professor, Department of Chinese Literature, National Sun Yat-sen University
– NAKAJIMA Takahiro, Professor and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo
– REN Xiao, Professor, Institute of International Studies, Fudan University
– SONG Bing, Senior Vice President and Director of Berggruen China Center, Berggruen Institute
– TIAN Xinyuan, Senior Program Coordinator, Berggruen Institute China Center
– ZHAN Yiwen, Lecturer, School of Philosophy, Beijing Normal University

Organized by Berggruen Research Center at Peking University
Co-organized by East Asian Academy for New Liberal Arts at the University of Tokyo (EAA)

Workshop Schedule

Day 1: Friday March 29

9:00-9:20 Opening Remarks
MAFUNE Fumitaka, Nicolas BERGGRUEN

9:20–9:30 Project Background 

9:30–10:50 Keynote Speech I: Our Kyōsei: What the Personal Works

10:50–12:30 Panel Discussion I: Exploring the Philosophical Foundations of
Gongsheng/Kyōsei and Convivialism
Moderator: ISHII Tsuyoshi
Understanding the Limits of the Symbiosis: MIYAZAWA Kenji’s Theory of Symbiosis as a Clue, ISHII Kosei
The Concept of Gongsheng in Daoist Philosophy: Examples from Laozi and Zhuangzi, GONG Jun
Overcoming Naturalism: Conviviality and Symbiosis, Frank

13:30–14:50  Keynote Speech II: Convivialism (and Symbiosis) in the Face of Struggles for Recognition

14:50–17:00 Panel Discussion II: Disasters and Revivals
Moderator: GONG Jun
Daoist Technological Critique and Gongsheng Transformation: From “Dominating Over Things by the Self” (以我宰物) to “Matching Tian with Tian” (以天合天), LAI Shi-San
Co-Becoming Humanities on the Way to Alternative
Civilization(s): Navigating the Age of the Great Transition through Knowledge Restructuring, BAIK Youngseo
The Logos for Human Co-Becoming—Toward the “Post-2050” Era, ISHII Tsuyoshi
The Parasitic: Co-Existence/Para-Existence, HOSHINO Futoshi

Day 2: Saturday March 30

09:00–10:20 Keynote Speech III: Human Co-Becoming, Anthropological Diversity, and the Age of a New Enlightenment, Markus GABRIEL

10:20–12:30 Panel Discussion III: Gongsheng/Kyōsei and Convivialism: A
Philosophy Shared by Mankind in the Planetary Era?
Moderator: TIAN Xinyuan
The Confucian Values of Relational Equity and an Achieved Diversity: From Convivialism to Conviviality,Roger T. AMES
LIANG Shuming’s Planetary Philosophy: From Capital to the Unselfish Heart, Mark MCCONAGHY
Reality in Co-Becoming: On the Metaphysics of
Interperspectivality, ZHAN Yiwen
The Gongsheng Theory of International Relations, REN Xiao

14:00–17:00 Past to Future: Reflecting and Envisioning Together
Moderator: ISHII Tsuyoshi, SONG Bing
One Singular Moment over the North-Pole Area: My Hope for Philosophia, Like a Very Far Star,  KOBAYASHI Yasuo
Further Discussion and Future Plans: All Participants

Workshop Background
Symbiosis and symbiogenesis have become topics of extensive research and debate in the fields of biology and evolutionary theory in recent decades. The notion of gongsheng or kyōsei (共⽣ in written Chinese and Japanese kanji) has not only been used in China and Japan to translate the ubiquitous biological phenomenon of “symbiosis” discussed in life sciences, but has also found broad application in social, economic, and political contexts to refer to the conception of the world as consisting of mutually embedded, co-existent and co-becoming entities.

In recent decades, gongsheng/kyōsei has emerged as a highly desirable framework of thinking in social, economic and political contexts in both China and Japan. It reflects a deep cultural and psychological construct of East Asian societies, so much so that people rarely pause and reflect on the philosophical origin and foundation of this notion.

Intrigued by this situation and aware of the potential significance of this notion in addressing planetary challenges, the Berggruen Institute China Center launched the project “Symbiosis in Life Sciences and Gongsheng in Eastern Philosophies” with the inaugural workshop “Gongsheng: Perspectives of Life Sciences and Philosophy” in August 2021. The second workshop, held in October 2021 with the theme of “The Construction of the ‘Gongsheng’ Concept and Its Implications,” explored the concept of gongsheng from various interdisciplinary perspectives, including the latest development in human symbiotic microorganisms, the biological and evolutionary basis of symbiosis, and the concept of gongsheng in East Asian philosophies. The third workshop, “Boundaries, Cohesions, and Planetary Governance,” held in September 2022, delved into the meaning of the word gongsheng in different languages and explored the planetary order of coexistence across
ethnic, species, and cultural boundaries.

As a culmination of the three workshops, a volume titled “Gongsheng Across Contexts—A Philosophy of Co-Becoming” was published with Palgrave Macmillan in January 2024. This interdisciplinary and intercultural book delves into the philosophical foundations of gongsheng/kyōsei across various classical and contemporary contexts. It explores the intriguing parallels between the biological phenomenon of symbiosis and long-held worldviews and social practices of gongsheng/kyōsei in East Asia, emphasizing the relationality and mutual embeddedness of all beings and fostering the ethos of “live and let live.” Futhermore, it discusses parallels and differences between gongsheng/kyōsei and Convivialism, a political philosophy of living-together, championed by many European intellectuals. While the philosophical foundations for gongsheng/kyōsei and convivialism may diverge, they converge in their concern for global crises and share many ethical and policy aspirations.

The current and the fourth workshop “Gongsheng/Kyōsei and Convivialism: Forging a Planetary Philosophy and Ethics?”, bringing together scholars from East Asia and Europe, will feature three keynote speeches and three panel discussions. Our aim is to tap into the intellectual resources of both the East and the West for better understanding gongsheng/kyōsei and convivialism and explore how they can collectively inspire a new
political philosophy and governance practices in the planetary era.

About the Organizers Berggruen Research Center at Peking University
The Berggruen Research Center at Peking University was established in December 2018. Located at the heart of Peking University, the Center engages with outstanding thinkers on its global platform to examine, share, and develop ideas to address planetary challenges in times of profound transformation.

Intellectual themes for research programs are focused on Frontier Science, Technology, and Philosophy; Creative Futures; and Ancient Wisdom and Planetary Governance. The Center funds a fellowship program, supports publications that feature its major research focuses, hosts activities such as lectures, workshops, and symposia and produces multi-media outreach programs.

East Asian Academy for New Liberal Arts at the University of Tokyo (EAA)
The East Asian Academy for New Liberal Arts is a joint research and education program organized collaboratively by the University of Tokyo and Peking University. The program aims to foster those who will lead the common future of Asia. As the academic basis for this aim, we intend to newly construct “East Asian studies as liberal arts.” What we regard as a new East Asian studies is not merely the area studies of East Asia. As a more collaborative and inclusive approach, we think that it must be research which emphasizes communication among the peoples of Asia, Oceania, Europe, America, and Africa. There, both Japan and China critically relativize each other, as we consider more than East Asia as a geographical sphere. This could be called “Area Studies 2.0”—a research approach to a new liberal arts that questions East Asia in the world and the world in East Asia.