HICO - Centrum voor Geschiedenis van de Filosofie en Continentale Filosofie

Department of Philosophy and moral sciences
Department of Literary Studies
Department of Languages and Cultures
Research focus 
Research Methodology 
History of philosophy
History of ideas
Continental philosophy






HICO Talk by Dr. Bohang Chen (UGent)


The China problem: a spiritual perspective


As an economic giant, China is treated by some as the only power which is potential to compete with the United States and bring the world back to a bi-polar system dominated by two super-powers. Of course, to the deep disappointment of the United States and other western powers, China’s economic rise does not seem to lead to a democratic transition (as that in South Korea and Taiwan, the Republic of China), but re-enforce a new logic of the red empire: authoritarian-totalitarian governance + quasi-market economy. As a result, the rise of China is widely viewed as posing the biggest threat towards the liberal world order. Hence the China problem. In this talk, as a student in philosophy, I address the China problem mainly from a spiritual (rather than any more common economic, social, political, etc.) perspective. I argue that eschatological communism and eschatological nationalism are only present in the Chinese spiritual world on the very surface, what is at work is a deeply rooted nihilism after the Chinese ecumenic empire was stripped of its classical high culture, or we say, spiritual substance. Then I seek to articulate a possible solution to the spiritual problem offered by some contemporary Chinese scholars, and contend that China’s further economic, social and political reforms, as the solution to the more general China problem, must be grounded or at least associated with a more “substantive” spiritual reform.


When? Friday 28th of February from 16:00 - 18:00

Where? Faculteitszaal, Campus Boekentoren



HICO aims to foster research in continental philosophy, broadly conceived, and in the history of philosophy at Ghent University. It coordinates, promotes and supervises research on the history of philosophy from antiquity to the present day. It also hosts research in contemporary continental philosophy that centres on politics, religion, art, aesthetics, culture, psychology, science, ... and that engages in a critical and interdisciplinary dialogue with the history of Western and non-Western philosophy. HICO welcomes PhD students and researchers in any area of continental philosophy and history of philosophy.




Boris Demarest

Philosophisches Seminar, Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg

Tiziano Toracca

Angela Condello

Adjunct Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Torino; Adjunct Professor, Department of Law, University of Roma

Former Members